It’s that time of the year for spooky ghosts, haunted houses and things that go bump in the night.
And of course, don’t forget the singing vampires.
OK, so perhaps the latest production from the Georgia Mountain Players isn’t necessarily scary — think more Carol Burnett than Bram Stoker — but it’s no trick that this musical is a Halloween treat.
"When we considered it we said this had to be our Halloween show," said Dianne Martin, a member of the Georgia Mountain Players who is directing the show. "This was a laugh-out-loud read. This was a good read right form the beginning."
Rather than telling the tale of a blood-thirsty vampire and his travails through the Romanian countryside looking for victims, this is a story of a vampire who just can’t seem to get his act together. There is no blood — instead, Dracula (Michael Martin) and his fiendish friends, including his bug-eating sidekick Renfield (Chris Overstreet) and boy-crazy friend Bubu Padoop (Jene Robocker).
The tale takes place in an insane asylum (which would allow more than one character to declare, "I belong in an institution"), and all the music is original to the production.
And, of course, no whimsical tale of Dracula would be complete without spontaneous chorus lines, where whole the cast jumps into random song-and-dance routines.
"It’s one of the funniest plays I’ve ever sene in my life," said Michael Martin, who takes on a Transylvanian accent for the lead role. The story is inspired by the traditional story of Dracula, he said, but with a "dysfunctional" twist.
"It’s not serious at all — the whole thing is totally absurd."
Dianne said another facet of the performance brings the audience into the action, with actors speaking directly to the audience amid all the absurdity.
"The play lends itself to just all types of dramatic interpretation," she said. "It’s very overly dramatic and that gives us all sorts of license."
Many contemporary references are tucked into dialogue set in the 1800s, Dianne added. There are jokes that go back and forth among cast members that would never be heard of in Dracula’s time — and that just adds to the hilarity.
For example, when the wannabe-Dracula slayer Van Helsing is looking for wood to construct a stake, he decides the best set is the wood of an ash tree. Why?
"Well, baseball fans say it’s the best thing for bats," he says.
As far as Michael Martin is concerned, he said the more absurd the characters are, the funnier it will be.
"It’s just so funny; there’s no horror in it at all," he said. "It’s not scary, just good clean family fun."