Based on the film by F.W. Murnau
Adapted for the stage by William A. Reilly and Lisaun Whittingham
I was fortunate enough to see Crown City’s “Nosferatu” last year, and I have to say I am just as enthralled with the production this time around.
William A. Reilly and Lisaun Whittingham have adapted the classic 1922 black and white silent film to the stage featuring the music of Lizst, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Grieg, Beethoven and Stravinsky, and it plays perfectly on the very cinematic Crown City stage.
They keep loyal to the film’s original setting in remote villages in Germany and Transylvania, and the play is staged like a ballet, with dance and music propelling the story. There is some narration, but the dialogue is told entirely through the use of subtitles, as if we were actually watching the original film.
The lack of spoken dialogue is a very clever way of enticing the audience further into the play, making us take part in the physicality of it, creating a subtle and enchanting role for the audience, as we tell ourselves the story we watch unfolding on the stage before us.
The imagery, wardrobe and makeup also play an important part in sustaining the illusion, the greys and blacks and sepias of the cast’s makeup create an almost two dimensional world that still somehow manages to jump out at us from the stage in unexpected moments, keeping us mesmerized and spellbound.
There is a lot going on…the music, the dancing, the wardrobe, the effects, the makeup…but we are never overwhelmed, never inundated. I think this has a lot to do with the two leads Alina Bolshakova and Michael Marchak and how beautifully and gracefully they develop their relationship. They are both gifted dancers and wonderful actors and they play their roles with a poise and a gentleness that I found quite captivating and very compelling.
Everyone is brilliant in fact and the supporting cast of villagers who dance and creep their way through the play are performed with deft and depth by one and all.
In this production Count Orlok is played by the wonderful Michelle Holmes in a clever twist on the classic role. A lady count, how very modern!
This is the right time of year for this sad and scary tale, but remember, Nosferatu is just as much about the love between Ellen and Thomas as it is a story of vampires and ghouls.
This spirited and fascinating production of Nosferatu is well worth your pennies, but hurry and get your tickets, the run is from September 8 - October 30!
Nosferatu is playing at Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 91602
Friday & Saturday, 8PM and Sunday at 7PM
Alina Bolshakova - Ellen Hutter
Michael Marchak - Thomas Hutter
Michelle Holmes - Count Orlok
BEHIND THE SCENES:
Director - Bill Reilly
Choreographer - Lisaun Whittingham
Costume Design - Tanya Apuya
Lighting Design - Zad Potter
Sound Design - Joe Shea
Projection Video - Daniel Donado, Chris Thume
Production Manager - Zad Potter
House Manager - Michael Pammit
House Tech - Zad Potter
Producers - Crown City Theatre Company
Artistic Directors for Crown City - Gary Lamb and Bill Reilly