Jennifer Beitzel knows more than you might think about the struggle between good and evil. Not that she’s a “bad girl”, but it’s a bit unnerving to learn that her biggest challenge in playing Lucy Westenra in Dracula “is not so much playing vampire Lucy, as it is playing human Lucy. You'd think it would be easier playing a human, but because - in my own experience - I feel I'm quite a bit more worldly than Lucy, it is a constant challenge to reel myself back to a very naive, almost child-like state of mind.”
Jennifer is a newcomer to the Farmington Players, but she’s about to make a big entrance as Mina’s friend Lucy. As Jennifer describes her character, Lucy is “transformed from a young woman with her whole life ahead of her to a bloodthirsty vampire. What I like most about playing Lucy is the dramatic transformation that takes place within her. She is on the losing side of a battle between innocence and malevolence, and being able to play both ends of the spectrum is very exciting!”
Jennifer was drawn to this production because it is more closely based on Bram Stoker's original novel, which she has loved since she was a teenager. She also prefers Tod Browning's 1931 film version of Dracula to the newer campier portrayals. Jennifer thinks audiences will be drawn to this particular version of Dracula because “it pushes the envelope with the audience's - and at times, the actors' - comfort level. There are scenes that, even in these first few rehearsals, are a bit unnerving. It's these lingering, silent moments - when the viewers aren't sure what's going to happen next - that will make your skin crawl and send shivers down your spine. Also, lots of chivalry and blood, which is always fun!”
In drawing on her own experience while studying for her role, Jennifer can “definitely relate to the battle between salvation and damnation on a more earthly level. I have been witness to some of those closest to me struggling with addiction or personal demons. Because I'm playing Lucy, I have to put myself in their shoes and look at the struggle from a different point of view. Lucy has to experience the fear of the unknown and then being pushed headfirst into it. It's both intriguing and terrifying at the same time!”
Prior to her Barn debut, Jennifer worked with Spotlight Players in Canton as choreographer for Hairspray, Barnum, and My Fair Lady. She is also director of the Luna Dancers in Royal Oak. Her onstage roles at Schoolcraft College include Romeo & Juliet, Marat/Sade, and Shakespeare in Hollywood. She works on her own local non-profit arts center for disadvantaged youth called the Metropolitan Center for the Arts, Inc.
The Farmington Players' production of Dracula is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers. The show runs October 11 through November 2. Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.