In Photos: Menlo Drama Performs ‘Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors’

Junior+Claire+Lenden+and+senior+Langley+Ward+step+out+of+their+plexiglass+boxes+at+the+end+of+the+show.+Staff+photo%3A+Sadie+Stinson.

Junior Claire Lenden and senior Langley Ward step out of their plexiglass boxes at the end of the show. Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.

Penelope Stinson and Sadie Stinson

The Menlo Drama department put on Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors” on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31; however, because of the pandemic, this production included many differences from previous shows. The cast remained socially distanced and separated by plexiglass cubes throughout the play, and only cast members’ families could attend the show in person. Other community members were able to view the production through a live broadcast.

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Senior Langley Ward and junior Claire Lenden perform a scene together onstage during the first performance of “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors.” Ward played the part of Jonathan Harker, a real estate agent, and Lenden played the part of Lucy Westfeldt, Harker’s fiancé and the female protagonist of the show. Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.

Freshman Charlie Hammond reaches out to Lenden as his character, Dracula, declares his love for Lenden’s character, Lucy Westfeldt. While “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors” was Hammond’s first drama production in the Upper School, he starred in multiple shows during his time at Menlo Middle School. Photo courtesy of Reena Kagan.

Sophomore Sophie Leupold acts out the frustration of her character, Mina Westfeldt, when she is overshadowed and ignored by her older sister, Lucy. Leupold has performed in two other Menlo Upper School drama productions: “Cabaret” and “Pippin,” both during the 2019-2020 school year. Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.

Senior Mack Ford, junior Tucker Gold, Ward and Lenden all gasp in shock as their characters finally find Count Dracula, played by Hammond, whom they have been searching for during the final few scenes of the play. Although cast members were not required to wear masks while they spoke, they still had to follow social distancing protocols and stay six feet apart at all times. Photo courtesy of Reena Kagan.

Senior Annabelle Marenghi plays her character, Kitty, a kleptomaniac maid and compulsive liar, during a dinner party scene. “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors” is typically a radio play and mainly focuses on the sound elements of the show such as character voices and sound effects. Due to the fact that the play was more sound oriented, actors were also allowed to use their scripts onstage and weren’t required to memorize their lines. Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.

Gold and Leupold laugh animatedly during a dinner party scene while Hammond acts out an unimpressed Dracula. “I was really grateful for the experience, especially considering that so few people can do theater right now,” Hammond said. Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.

As Ward’s character, Jonathan, exclaims loudly, Ford acts out her character’s disbelief. “My experience doing Dracula was definitely different from what a typical production is, but I really enjoyed seeing everyone in person; just hearing everyone’s voices made the experience all the better,” Ward said. Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.

Sophomore Maya Debnath acts out her character of a gravedigger during a scene set in a cemetery. Besides portraying her featured part, the gravedigger, Debnath and four other actors were also foley artists for the show. The foley artists used different objects and techniques to create unique sounds for the radio play. Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.

Cast members stand behind their plexiglass cubes backstage. The plexiglass cubes were designed by the set team as another safety measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The cubes had one side of plexiglass and another side of wood and cast members would rotate them between sides to show themselves to the audience. Photo courtesy of Reena Kagan.

Senior Allie Lev and junior Kate Richardson hold up applause signs during a scene. In the show, Richardson and Lev played “Vixens,” characters who moved the show from act to act and performed humorous “commercials” during the breaks.  Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.

Lenden and Ward step out of their plexiglass cubes in the final scene of the play. “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors” was performed on two nights: Oct. 30th and Oct. 31st. The show had a socially distanced and limited audience on both nights consisting of only family members of the cast. Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.

After the curtain call, Richardson announces the charity the cast chose to donate to as part of their Menlo Gives Back program. The drama department and cast members pick an organization for each of their productions to promote donations for, and for this production, they chose the Boys and Girls Club of San Mateo. Staff photo: Sadie Stinson.