West T. Hill doing another readers theater for Halloween

October 26, 2004|JENNIFER BRUMMETT

West T. Hill Community Theatre's experiment with readers theater went over so well last year that another such production is on tap for Halloween weekend.

Director and lighting technician Darell Rickmers says last year's crowds liked "Frankenstein Slept Here," and the actors who performed jumped at the chance to do readers theater again this year.

"The board is excited about the production, and this year we have new actors (as well)," Rickmers says. "The show isn't rehearsed. We read lines and there is minimal blocking."

Rickmers emphasized the importance of audiences to readers theater productions, noting they affect what the actors do as well as "firing up" the performers.


Readers theater is the reading of a script with dramatic emphasis, rather than memorizing lines and acting them. The readers, in most circumstances, usually are chosen at random from an audience, and sit in chairs onstage, reading from the script.

"Seven Wives for Dracula" is this year's readers theater offering, and Rickmers says it is set in a sanitarium with a number of kooky residents, most of whom are female. They include Lucy, Dr. Seward's daughter; the Poison sisters; Miss Halfnelson; Miss Hearse the Nurse and Lily the maid. Also in the picture is Countess Dracula and the "wonderful wolf-creature," Rickmers adds.

The sanitarium is located across the stream from Count Dracula's castle, and the count himself visits through the intervention of the bug-eating Renfield, Rickmers explains. Eventually, he consumes the blood of the women and forces Jonathan, Dr. Seward and Van Helsing to hunt him down and drive a stake through his heart.

"The women are no longer in a trance," Rickmers notes. "But then, we find out Dracula was not killed."

The director declines to say who really gets killed, as he doesn't want to give away the outcome of the show, which is geared toward young and old alike. A play originally had been set for Halloween and the following weekends, but when that show didn't work out, Rickmers jumped at the chance to present readers theater again.

"We wanted something for families at Halloween," Rickmers says. "Families can come out and wear their costumes. There will be refreshments. It's a comedy, and there's nothing in it to offend anybody."

He is anticipating larger audiences for "Seven Wives for Dracula," given the success of "Frankenstein Slept Here" last year. "It's a wonderful night of hilarity and entertainment," Rickmers notes.

If you go:

"Seven Wives for Dracula" is being performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at West T. Hill Community Theatre. Admission is free. Wear costumes. Refreshments served. Information: (859) 236-8607.

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