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TOP brings the scary sounds of Dracula to life

Alex R. / Oakville Players
Alex R. / Oakville Players

The Oakville Players new show this weekend is going to suck - but in Dracula's case, it couldn't get any better.

Local amateur theatre group the Oakville Players (TOP) has been recording radio play podcast episodes, telling the classic horror vampire story Dracula over the last six weeks. Now, after releasing the episodes digitally, the company is performing the show live this weekend in Oakville.

Based on Bram Stoker's 1897 novel of the same name, the vampire Count Dracula is arguably one of the most famous Halloween characters in popular culture, but for this project, TOP wanted to honour the original story as much as possible.

To do that, that called for the efforts of TOP member Robin Sadavoy, adaptor and director of the show.

"I want people to get excited about Dracula because surprisingly few people know the original story," says Sadavoy in an exclusive interview with Oakville News.

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"This radio play and now stage version is based on the original text that began this famous vampire story - not like the licensed version in movies. This is as close to the original as you’re going to get."

Sadavoy began with TOP in 2013 working on their production of Shaw's Pygmalion.

Since then she's worked on many of the one-act shows they've produced and spent three years as vice president until 2018.

She's adapted some works for the group's radio plays in the past, but this is her first time directing a show.

"I came up with the idea because I wanted to a new radio play, and I was thinking of shows in the public domain. Last year I signed up for a newsletter called “Dracula Daily”, telling the story by the actual dates in the novel sent to people at home on the real-time calendar days."

"That’s when I realized this story would lend itself so well to radio, because all the characters speak in monologues. That's when I knew this is something I wanted to make."

TOP president Alex Ragozzino first teased the show back in the summer with Oakville News, excited about this unique set up of radio play, podcast and stage show.

"We wanted to do a radio play because it’s manageable in cost and time," said Ragozzino, "and we landed on Dracula because of the popular Halloween season. The format evolved because of the size of the story." 

Both Ragozzino and Sadavoy acknowledged part of this project's appeal was the influence of former TOP member Jim Curley. He directed several radio plays with TOP over the last 20 years, until he passed away in August 2022.

"Without Jim Curley we wouldn’t still be doing this," says Sadavoy. "Without his passion and experience, we couldn’t do this. We miss him, but Jim would be so happy we’re doing this now. He was a vivacious man, and we miss spending time with him. He'd love this."

The best part of Dracula's enduring appeal? "This is what started the vampire craze. The cast is terrific, and this show is great way to experience an old form of radio media in the modern day."

Dracula runs from now to Sunday, Oct. 29 at Studio Pavas. Tickets are available online here.


Tyler Collins

About the Author: Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is the editor for Oakville News. Originally from Campbellton, New Brunswick, he's lived in Oakville more than 20 years. Tyler is a proud Sheridan College graduate of both Journalism and Performing Arts.
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