On a dark and stormy night, not too far from now, a tale of darkness and blood will engulf the Tohill Theatre.
Emerging from the shadows comes Rowan Theatre Department’s “Dracula,” a stage adaptation of Bram Stoker’s famous novel.
However, one man casts a darker shadow than the rest of his fellow castmates.
Enter Robert Mora, the man behind Count Dracula.
“I really started in the 10th grade when I did a show called “Bad Seed,” Mora said, noting the humor in how grim of a subject he began with in the realm of theater.
“It’s kind of funny, the first show I did was about this demonic little girl who takes over while her dad was away at war,” he said.
This early introduction to the stranger realms of theater have influenced his roles today.
Some other influences for his portrayal of Dracula include Stoker’s novel, as well as other film and theater adaptations.
“I really go back to the book a lot and go back to the script. I think of this Dracula as being a very animalistic creature,” he said, discussing some of the traits he has adopted into his performance.
“Rob has definitely made the rehearsal space comfortable and collaborative,” said Kelly Appelmann, a senior musical theater major who plays one of Dracula’s vampire brides in the show.
“He’s our team captain, to an extent, he sets the mood for the show. Rob wanted to make Dracula from that first rehearsal an image of all of us, it wasn’t just his Dracula. It’s a layered and dynamic Dracula that we all had a say in,” Appelmann said.
“Dracula,” both in the character itself and the play, has a dynamic role throughout the show. According to Mora, Dracula has the ‘Count’ persona that he introduces himself with, but also the ‘Monster,’ who is the animosity of the vampire incarnate.
“Dracula’s way in is through his charm, but when he wants to feast ‘The Monster’ takes over. The Monster is Dracula and Dracula is the Monster,” Mora said, expressing the duality between Dracula’s character.
The duality of man and monster is something that isn’t explored just by Dracula, according to Mora.
Nina, played by senior musical theater major Zulfiya Asquino, is the newest recruit to Dracula’s vampire brides whose character also creates a power dynamic between herself and the Count.
“The blood is like a drug,” Asquino said, given her character’s recent adoption into the vampire brides. “It turns you into a rabid animal and you can’t control it. As a vampire you’re human – but you’re not. There’s certainly a parallel to me becoming my own monster and Dracula’s own too.”
“I’m really looking forward to showing an audience and seeing how they take it. It’s not about what you put up or what you say, it’s about the moments in between,” Mora said, hoping to let the audience have their own interpretation not just of his acting, but of “Dracula” as a whole.
Through both work and commitment, Mora has added a dynamic that amplifies throughout the production, according to “Dracula’s” Assistant Director Tom Fusco.
“Rob has embraced our philosophy that anything worth doing demands hard work. He has also joined in our team spirit,” said Fusco in regard to Mora’s work ethic throughout the production process. “We do not believe in actors and designers and technicians, we are all artists working for a common cause.”
At the end of the day, Mora has put a lot of work into his performance, which will become a dominating force in his eyes come “Dracula’s” premiere Oct. 20 in Tohill Theatre.
“This Dracula is not something that can be taken lightly, you know that Dracula is the bad guy and he wants to win and he is going to,” Mora said.
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