It’s a story that is as old as history: a story that has been told numerous times.
But not like this. From Nov. 14 to 17, Daniel Patterson, professor of theatre and dance, will introduce his take on the infamous play, “Dracula.”
However, Patterson’s adaptation will steer away from the cliché that is associated with this production and introduce the character of Dracula in a more modern way.
To help Patterson bring his vision to life, he has enlisted the help of Graphic Design Professor Melissa DiPalma and her Graphic Design II class.
[singlepic id=1211 w=320 h=240 float=right]
The students enrolled in this class will not only be designing two poster concepts, one of which will be selected as the final poster design, but the students will also be designing an ad for a newspaper, the cover of the program, and a program teaser, according to Patterson.
And for these designs, Patterson has a specific vision in mind.
“I really wanted to avoid cliché, all the usual stuff—I even was trying for a while to avoid using the cape because it is such a cliché in ‘Dracula,’ but we discovered we needed the cape in ‘Dracula,’” Patterson said.
In order to do this, Patterson warned the graphic design students to steer away from using images that incorporated fangs, marks on the neck, and bats.
Instead, Patterson wanted to focus more on Dracula’s true character, blood and all.
For junior Matt Moses, blood was the primary inspiration for the concept of his poster design.
In order to capture the realism aspect of blood in his design, Moses said he experimented with various mixtures of fake blood in order to get the perfect mix. It took six different mixtures in order for Moses to find a concoction he could incorporate in his design.
For Moses, this project was more than about experimenting with different elements to create the perfect design; it was about gaining the experience of working with a client.
“It’s cool to have someone tell you what they want and make that,” he said.
“We have the professor come and talk about the play and their production of the play and this is a chance for the director to explain who the key characters are and what they seem to think are some of the symbols and icons that they associate with the play,” DiPalma said.
This is the fourth time that DiPalma’s Graphic Design II class has worked with the theatre department, and it’s a collaborative relationship that allows students to gain experience dealing with a client outside of the classroom.
“It’s a great relationship for us because at this level for the graphic design students, it’s a chance for them to work with the idea of a client and that’s very valuable to them and it’s a good time in their academic experience to do it,” DiPalma said.
“Graphic design is about what’s put out in the public and that people’s interpretations of things are different and how people perceive messages can be different than what they think, so it broadens their view beyond what we are always doing together in the classroom,” DiPalma continued.
And that’s what Patterson wants his version of Dracula to do—to go beyond people’s perception of what Dracula’s story is.
“In all the advertisements so far, we have indicated that there will be blood so what I told them was after having done some research on the show, it’s more of a deeper show than I thought it was. The characters are deeper, you care about them more, and even Dracula is more human. In a sense he is more human, he is searching for a mate: he is searching for love,” Patterson said.
This is what Patterson said he hopes the graphic design students capture; not the Dracula cliché, but the real Dracula.
Patterson, along with the Assistant Director of Dracula, Chris Kelly, and the Administrative Assistant of Arts and Humanities, Nancy Aubrey, will pick the final poster concept that they will use for the performance.
However, Patterson said that all of the final concepts will be on display in the lobby of the Redfern Arts Center, which will provide the students with a chance for the public to view their work.
Sam Norton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.