POLAND — The Poland Central School District Drama Club will bring two of fiction’s most enduring characters to life this weekend with performances featuring Dracula and Sherlock Holmes.
The double-header will start off with the one-act play, “Seven Brides for Dracula,” starring senior Ross Agen as Dracula.
“The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes,” starring senior Taylor Cockey as Sherlock Holmes will follow as the headliner.
Poland Drama Club advisor Mike Gagnon, a middle school and high school English teacher at Poland, said he and the students are excited to be working with stories about Dracula and Sherlock Holmes.
“They’re characters who have been given more film adaptations than probably any character,” Gagnon said. “They’re really great entertainers.”
The two-show performance will first take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, at Poland Central School and then again at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. Tickets are $5. To obtain tickets, see a member of the drama club, check in at the Poland High School Office, call Gagnon at 826-0346 or get the tickets at the door.
‘A chance’ to perform
The Poland Drama Club includes students in grades 6-12. Students in the club go to Syracuse Stage every year to experience live theatre. While putting together their own plays, they gain a family-like feeling and learn about hard work, Gagnon said.
“I think there’s a sense of teamwork; a sense of camaraderie,” he said.
Gagnon compared putting on a play to practicing a sport and then putting what you practiced into action in the actual game. The biggest difference is that sports teams have games throughout the season, whereas the drama club is always working toward one weekend — resulting in a great sense of satisfaction when the performances take place, he said.
This year, there was a high level of interest from students, he said.
“More kids auditioned than probably in the 11 years I’ve been doing it, and more strong younger kids than in the past,” he said. “We added in the Dracula one to give more kids a chance to be on stage.”
Sixth-grader Bailey Dunn, 11, is one of those younger students in the drama club. Bailey moved to the Poland Central School District last year. When she heard about the club, she was excited about joining it this year.
She plays a cook and maid named Miss Cobb in Sherlock Holmes and looks forward to being in more plays as she gets older.
“It’s fun,” she said. “I get to be a cook. I get to bring out cookies.”
Putting on a show
Senior David Lampasona, 17, plays Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes. He has been involved in the drama club since eighth grade.
Page 2 of 2 - “It’s a great way to make friends – being able to be on a team and perform for people,” he said.
Lampasona said he never really gets very nervous about performing. If anything, he gets a little nervous during early practices when he doesn’t know the lines as well, but by the time performance night comes along, he has no worries.
“It just helps to be calm,” he said.
Poland eighth-grader Griffin Shenkel, 13, plays complicated character Tom Smith in the Sherlock Holmes play.
Griffin said it’s fun to play the character because he gets to use an accent, gets to sneak up on Watson in “the chloroform scene” and has an act where he is running away.
He also enjoys the whole experience of being in the drama club.
“It’s just fun — just meeting new people; pretending you’re someone else,” he said.
Sierra Hawkins, 15, a tenth-grader, said she enjoys playing her character, Queen Victoria.
“I like how I get to boss people around,” she said. “And I get to say, ‘Off with your head.”
Sierra joined drama club for the first time this year after a friend got her interested in it.
“I like how I can be someone different and make someone laugh in the audience when I do something funny,” she said. “I like entertaining.”