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Radio production of Dracula to be released for Halloween
Pullman Civic Theatre performs socially distant Dracula, releases it on YouTube; broadcast over radio on frightfully festive holiday this Oct. 31
October 29, 2020
Lock your doors to keep the heat in and Dracula out. This Halloween he’ll be prowling the Palouse and sneaking in, through your speakers that is, as Pullman Civic Theatre’s play creeps across the airwaves.
The theater teamed with Inland Northwest Broadcasting to release a radio special of Orson Welles’s 1938 “Dracula” for this traditionally horror-filled holiday.
The show will broadcast at 7 p.m. Oct. 31 on stations 102.5 KRAO-FM, 1450 KCLX-AM, 1400 KRPL-AM and 105.1 KVTY-FM. Starting Nov. 1 it will be available to listeners in its entirety on the Pullman Civic Theatre YouTube page.
The show is divided into three parts. The first two were released earlier this month, said PCT Artistic Director Kristin Lincoln.
The first part follows the arrival and imprisonment of Jonathan Harker at Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, and Dracula’s departure for England. The second part revolves around Lucy Westenra, a victim of Dracula who later becomes a vampire herself, and is where Van Helsing enters as a character. The story ends with the hunt of Dracula, who is chased from England back to his castle in Transylvania. Lincoln said the story naturally divides itself into three parts, so the broadcast flows well.
The show is appropriate for all ages to listen, said Travis Gray, PCT actor who played Dracula. It’s close to Bram Stoker’s original novel and does not display profanity or explicit content.
Since the theater had to shut its doors in March, they’ve been trying different ways to continue performing, said Mike Long, PCT producer and “Dracula” director.
They’ve dubbed the program “Virtual PCT” and are mainly producing original plays, Lincoln said.
“[PCT has] rallied, I think, really well. Rather than just disappear and not do anything, they’re doing these ‘Virtual PCT’ — these online — productions,” Gray said. “That way we can still be very much in the public’s [mind], so that they know we’re still here. And hopefully once we get on the other side of COVID, we can open our doors and they’ll still know that we’re here.”
PCT has performed radio dramas in the past, including this same “Dracula,” Lincoln said. So the decision to perform and release it for Halloween was not a whole new experience.
The difference between this year’s production and the last time it was performed, in 2007, is back then it was performed live on stage, Long said. PCT has a history of performing radio plays in person, allowing viewers to feel like they are part of a live audience in the ‘30s or ‘40s.
In order to keep the cast and themselves safe, she and Long had to get creative with the production methods for this year’s “Dracula,” Lincoln said.
Rehearsals were held over Zoom, Gray said. The actors were then brought into the Gladish Community and Cultural Center’s Little Theater one by one to record their parts.
Lincoln said she then stitched together all of the lines, adding in sound effects and music she found online.
“It’s harder than doing regular theater. … You’ve got to be able to capture the audience with just your words, with just your intonation,” Long said. “They can’t actually see anything unless you paint it with your words.”
Lincoln said the decision to “go dark,” the theater term for turning the lights off and closing the doors, was best for public safety but has led to an increased need for donations to keep PCT viable. The positions are all voluntary so PCT’s overhead is low, she said. However, they still have to pay for storage facilities, insurance, utilities and other bills.
These costs were usually covered with ticket, ad and concession sales, Long said.
Those who want to can donate through PCT’s website, or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 162 Pullman, WA 99163, Lincoln said.
“I think we’re going to be okay,” Lincoln said. “We’re the oldest community theater on the Palouse, we’re not going anywhere.”