NMJC Professor Writes and Produces Dracule

October 4 – Hobbs, NM. If you thought you knew the legend of Dracula, think again.

On October 12-15, the New Mexico Junior College Theatre Department will present the world premier production of John Rice’s Dracule, the newest—and most haunting—version of the dark, Gothic tale of the undead made famous by Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic.

According to Rice, Professor of Theatre at NMJC who both wrote and produced the play, the story of Dracula was based on a real-life Romanian prince who became known as “Vlad the Impaler,” a title acquired through the habit of impaling enemies on wooden stakes.

During his reign, Rice explains, Vlad the Impaler killed thousands of people he believed to be enemies, traitors, would-be traitors, or even jobless beggars. During his lifetime, Prince Vlad acquired yet another name: “Dracule,” or “son of the dragon,” as it translates from the old Romanian dialect. It later evolved to “Dracula.”

Contrary to Stoker’s Dracula, Rice explains, the real Prince Vlad did not actually live in Transylvania, but rather in Wallachia, which was almost 150 miles to the south on the frontier between the Ottoman Empire and Romania. Prince Vlad, surprisingly, was a Christian Crusader who fought against the non-Christian Turks, and it was his kingdom that served as a first line of defense. Oddly enough, despite his horrendous brutalities, when the real-life Dracule died in battle in 1476, his people honored him as an icon of heroism; to this day, he remains a national hero in Romanian history.

According to Rice, Dracule is a fresh and different take on Stoker’s Dracula, which spawned countless spinoffs in books, plays, and film, ranging from Bela Lugosi’s 1927 play version to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 film. “This version, especially the ending, is not nearly as comforting and may even leave the unsuspecting somewhat uneasy,” he said.

The fall production of John Rice’s Dracule will be presented at 8 p.m. on the evenings of October 12, 13, and 14. A Sunday afternoon matinee at 2 p.m. will be presented on October 15. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. For more information or to make reservations, call 392-4510.

New Mexico Junior College, 5317 Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, NM 88240
Phone: 575.392.4510, 1.800.657.6260

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