When I was 17, I had the opportunity to play Mina Murray in our high school production of “Dracula”. I loved being onstage. I always played such sweet, funny, eccentric characters. Oh, Mina was sweet to start but then she gets bitten by Dracula and she changes. She becomes seductive. Tough for me to pull off now let alone at 17. That aside, Mina became a vampire so Mina needed fangs. No funny little plastic ones for me. I got to go to the dentist and have them made. It was awesome. Well, getting them made was gross but the fangs themselves were so cool. Are cool. I still have them.
There were a couple of problems with the show, though. My sexy, black, loose-fitting vampire dress was tied in knots over both shoulders and had a tendency to slip a bit. One night, when Mina “fainted”, both sides slipped. I was to be lifted to a standing position by the leading men…which meant, unless they helped me, that dress was going to slide right to my waist..in front of all the people in my Catholic high school auditorium. I was panicked. The leading man, who happened to be my best guy friend since elementary school, was in his glory. While other lines were being said, I was frantically whispering that he had to help me. Being a boy, hence evil, he just kept grinning at me as he rubbed my wrists and patted my flaming cheeks. My heart was pounding and I had quickly moved from begging him to threatening him. His response? “Be nice to me or I let the dress fall.” I am still here and not hidden in a closet of shame so you must have guessed that he came through for me at the last minute…and never let me forget that I owed him!
The other problem I had was an extremely ticklish neck. Each time Dracula draped me over his arm, swirled his cape around me, and bit my neck, I would giggle. It’s hard to create a dark, mysterious mood when the leading lady is giggling as “blood” runs down her neck. One night, the director had enough. When the giggles started, he walked on stage and slapped my face. Not hard. Just enough to get my attention. He told me to think about that when I was getting my neck bit…and I didn’t laugh again, as you might imagine.
I thought about all this backstage drama as I watched Barnabas come to the realization that his eternal life, the curse put on him by Angelique, came with the added disadvantage of being a vampire. When Barnabas awakens for the first time and discovers he is in the mausoleum with Angelique poised to kill him with a wooden stake, he does what any vampire would do. He strangles her. Not what I expected, but I went with it. I wondered if Angelique giggled during rehearsals, but then he wasn’t biting her neck. I wonder now about the others who actually get bitten later.
If they had a problem, I hope the director tried talking them through it first.
Not true. What I really hope is that they slugged him back. Think about that…