for Middle and High School Shows
Teacher Guidance from Tom Width, Artistic Director:
We are pleased to offer deeply-discounted performances of select mainstage productions to our Youth Theatre audiences. Because we present these performances in their complete, unedited form, we want to make sure that teachers and/or parents are fully-informed regarding content. Whether it’s a matter of language, plot situations, sexual/romantic content, or age-appropriateness, we want to be upfront about what the students will be seeing and hearing. Both of the 2018-2019 mainstage productions that are also being offered in the Youth season are based upon great classics of literature: Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac.
Count Dracula by Ted Tiller
There have been many adaptations of Stoker’s novel about the blood-sucking count, but Mr. Tiller’s version actually lightens things up a bit and relies upon many wonderful special effects to create its thrills and chills. There will be swirling mists, flying bats, surprise appearances, and disappearances, as well as secret passageways and a very dramatic demise for the title character. Many of these events may inspire screams from your students, but that’s all part of the fun! Words such as “damn,” “hell,” “lover,” and “bosom” (referring to a man’s chest) are used. There are situations in which the mesmerized Mina tries to seduce her fiancé while dressed in a filmy nightgown before she is interrupted by a dash of holy water; and, after the climax of the play, our hero and heroine share a kiss. There are also several gunshots (aimed at “bats”) and there is a reference to the Bible as a book that Count Dracula has “yet to read.” As a whole, the play is fairly tame in both language and content, but very exciting in stagecraft and performance.
Cyrano de Bergerac adapted by Emily Frankel
Rostand’s original play about the long-nosed swordsman with a romantic soul is famous for being written in verse (in French, 1897), and one of its English translations, written by American Brian Hooker in 1923, is also, amazingly, in verse! Each of these versions has a cast of more than 50 and many elaborate settings. Emily Frankel, wife of two-time Tony Award-winning actor John Cullum, wrote this adaptation in 1983 as a star vehicle for her husband. She wrote it in prose, making it more accessible to today’s audiences, and pared-down the cast size to make it much more practical for smaller theaters (like us) to produce. The language of the play is still very florid and poetic, and the storyline is true to the original. There are several references/phrases that are meant to be bawdy, such as: “You may be cock of the walk…but you’ll end up capon a la Bergerac.” “Does (my nose) remind you of a beak? An owl’s beak or a woodpecker’s pecker. Which one, beak or pecker or pecker or beak?” “A noble count…hired a man to wed her so the count could bed her.” “Hell” and “damn” or “damnation” are peppered through the script. Cyrano’s skillful swordplay is in counterpoint to the wit, panache, and poetry of his soul.
If you need additional information after reading these advisories, please feel free to email our Artistic Director, Tom Width HERE or call him at (804) 748-5203, ext. 120.
We hope to see your students at the Mill!