He’s a vampire, a nun, a newspaper man, but mostly he is a highly gifted and athletic actor, starring in Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker. Zachary Andrews plays the parts of 10 characters in the Jim Helsinger adaption of the Bram Stoker novel, Dracula.
Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker opened on Friday night at the Coterie Theater in Crown Center. Directed by resident artist Jeff Church the play takes the audience from Castle Dracula to London, through the journal writings of Jonathan Harker.
Andrews’s uses carefully placed hanging rings, a wooden rail and overhead bars to bring his characters to life. Using the rings for support he moves across the thin rail in front of the audience, from one end of the set to the other. His gymnastic ability becomes apparent as he crawls along and through the overhead bars. It is amazing to watch him as he switches to the character of Dracula while hanging upside down from the bars.
If you have ever listened to a book on tape, Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker, is similar to that type of experience. Listening to a book on tape the reader changes dialect or tone for each character in the book and who knows how many takes it took to get it right. Andrews has only one chance, his show unlike the villainous character Dracula, is live.
Laughter comes from the audience the first time Andrews switches to the voice of Texan Quincy Morris, an unexpected change from the foreign accents of the other characters. He does a marvelous job of switching from each character with exact timing and perfect dialect and tone. It would be difficult for most performers to switch from two or three characters let alone 10 and with no props or only a piece of cloth to help depict which part he is portraying.
The set design by Jordan Janota is simple, yet perfect for the setting in this small theater. The suspense is aided by the impeccably timed lighting that was designed by Art Kent. Each member of the creative team enhances the performance, whether it be the sound designer or dialect coach.
What better time to see Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker, than the scariest month of all, as the show continues at the Coterie Theatre through October 27. The play won’t make you scream from fright, but is filled with ample drama, suspense and humor to entertain the entire family.