Sometimes rehearsals are just plain funny. This is particularly true when they involve seductive bloodsucking and 19th century medical devices. Ben Kolis, who plays Dracula in our production, had been in his first blocking rehearsal for less than an hour when I found myself carefully composing the visual image of one of his many neck bites. Managing sightlines while navigating a blood transfusion tube, a corseted victim, and a slippery rehearsal skirt, is a lot to ask of any actor. Then to make it look, shall we say, exquisitely seductive—well, no one should attempt that on his first day at work.
Ben was a good sport, carefully holding his victim close (and safe from sliding off the end of the improvised rehearsal room bed), trying to keep her neck angled just right for the full “Dracula” effect.
It was then that it struck me how terribly odd the whole scene was. A roomful of people who barely knew each other, intensely focused on the mechanics of a neck bite that would draw imaginary blood while transporting the victim to the edges of desire.
“No, I think the neck needs to turn out 30 degrees.”
“Can you make sure we can see your teeth? Oh, and be careful with your hand placement. That’s right, over the flat part of the corset.”
“I just aspirated saliva. These fangs make me drool.”
“No, I don’t mind if you touch my back. You’re going to be licking my neck in two seconds.”
Theater Grad School all those years ago never taught this course.
A little bit about Mark: Mark Hauck is very excited to be joining the fun at Lyric Arts. He has directed or designed over 100 productions including work at Public Theater of Minnesota, Workhouse Theatre, Park Square, Mixed Blood, Eye of the Storm, and Theatre Latte Da. Mark was a co-founder of Great River Shakespeare Festival. This spring he will be guest directing at the U of MN/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program.