The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Vampires, rodents, Shakespeare oh my!

    Junior Dan Plaza said he does not usually attend plays, but he was impressed with and enjoyed National Players’ performance of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”

    The mystery and melodrama of the classic story took the stage in Zorn Arena Wednesday night when National Players performed as part of The Artists Series.

    Along with “Dracula,” National Players is also putting on a production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” tonight.

    Around since 1949, National Players, based in Olney, Ma., holds auditions all over the country each year, general manager Bill Gillett said.

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    Composed of 12 members, most of whom are one to three years out of college, the group will entertain audiences with two very different performances.

    UW-Eau Claire’s Arts and Events Coordinator Jennifer Brockpahler said she is very excited to get the chance to work with National Players and is happy the Artists Series is able to present two titles rather than one.

    Gillett said “Dracula” was a lot of fun to perform. “It’s such an age old story that everyone knows,” he said.

    “Hopefully what we’ve done is create a thrill ride,” he said.

    He said it is almost funny at times, but at the same time the age-old evil of Dracula is present.

    Plaza said he was not expecting all of the humor but was impressed with it. Also, he said most of the characters had accents and thought they did nice jobs with them.

    Freshman Danielle Cottor said while she was not scared by the performance, the play did present a creepy atmosphere. The aspect she was most impressed with was the scenery.

    “It was pretty creative that we could see through the (bookshelves) once in a while and see Dracula behind it,” Cottor said.
    Plaza agreed, adding that the transparent bookshelves added to the suspense.

    “The Taming of the Shrew,” one of Shakespeare’s slap-stick comedies, will be performed in a more modernized way.

    Set in the late 1950s, the era helps the play communicate better to modern audiences but at the same time keep the silliness, Gillett said.

    They haven’t changed the Shakespearian language but just the period and costumes to show Shakespeare can be done in any setting and still be appropriate, Brockpahler said.

    One thing Gillett said is different about the group is the fact they are a self-contained company, meaning the actors and actresses load in the sets, costumes and sound equipment themselves, without the help of a crew.

    “This is really the truest nature of a Shakespearian company,” Gillett said, “and they’re all very talented.”

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    Vampires, rodents, Shakespeare oh my!