Words by: Mandy Moe Pwint Tu
This July, Murdoch Theatre Company, Second Chance Theatre, and From the Hip Productions are collaborating to bring three of the best classic gothic stories to the stage. Dracula, The Mummy Rises, and Frankenstein, the latter two plays being original work, will be performed at the Nexus Theatre at Murdoch University over the span of three weeks. At the helm of this ambitious project are three of the leading names in Perth independent theatre: Tim Brain, John King, and Scott McArdle.
These shows will utilise the talents and expertise of more than fifty Murdoch University students and alumni, with a cast of more than thirty people and a crew of more than forty. They will exhibit a hundred and eighty-five pages of new work, display more than seventy different costumes, and strive to realize a project two years in the making. Now, eight weeks to go before Dracula hits the stage, let’s take a look at what The Gothics has on offer.
Director: John King, with Toni Vernon as Lucy Seward and Jason Dohle as Van Helsing
Show dates: July 7-9, 2016
Hamilton Deane’s script, written in the 1920s, will be brought to life by director John King, whose fascination with vampires led to his choosing of one of the greatest tales of horror ever written. In an effort to discover whether or not horror on stage is still viable when most of the audience has been desensitised by horror on film, King strives to maintain the gothic feel of the original Dracula, with an aim to scare and unnerve the audience.
The Mummy Rises
Director: Tim Brain, with Christie Strauss as Claire Waldren and Andrew David as Alfie Bray
Show dates: July 14-16, 2016
True to its original story, The Mummy Rises takes place in Egypt, but new characters have been added, and those who already exist in this particular universe are better fleshed out. For instance, Christie Strauss describes her character as a feminist ahead of her time; she explains that Claire is a damsel who can hold her own. Brain also emphasizes that in the show, a monster is a monster, but hints that the main villain is not necessarily the Mummy. One of two original works in this trilogy, The Mummy Rises will balance hilarity and horror in equal measure.
Director: Scott McArdle, with Aaron Jay as Victor Frankenstein and Izzy Mcdonald as Caroline
Show dates: July 21-23, 2016
Scott McArdle recounts the woeful tale of his high school years, when he refused to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, much to the chagrin of his teacher. He did eventually read the book and fell in love with it. However, Frankenstein as a third of The Gothics, is very much McArdle’s own take on the classic, with Aaron Jay calling it “a personal story” of a young man growing up, adding that it feels very real.
So, check your calendars, and get ready to experience what promises to be one of the most incredible onstage portrayals of gothic horror you have ever seen. Tickets go on sale on Friday the 13th.