2022-23 season

2022-23 season

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rick Mickley Feels the Burn as Dracula

Jen Beitzel as Lucy is no match for Rick Mickley as Dracula
Rick Mickley is no stranger to pain. As a former athlete, he has had two knee surgeries, a hip replacement, a screwed together shoulder, a triple hernia, ankylosing spondylitis (a painful spinal condition) and various broken bones.  And yet as a track coach at West Bloomfield High School, he has to demonstrate proper technique to his student athletes and overcome his own pain and physical limitations to help them imagine what is possible.

By playing through the pain, Rick has tapped into a source of strength that will serve him well in the title role of Dracula.  As Rick explains, “I have to show my students how to put the shot, throw the discus, and pass the baton. And to teach them that while they are standing still, life is going on and will pass them by, so enjoy each hard-working, sweat-pouring, funny, happy moment, even every minute experience, because life is pressure, and a ‘Dracula’ could come at any second and take it all away. I'm grasping Dracula and encouraging all my athletes to come, because it's about me overcoming my physical obstacles to make it the most enjoyable experience for the audience that I can.”

Rick is no stranger to the Farmington Players stage, having most recently played the admirable Sheriff Heck Tate in To Kill A Mockingbird. But this time he seems to relish playing the bad guy – and being the one inflicting pain – saying, “Dracula is about power and control and good versus evil. Life is about striving to do your best to overcome obstacles and to not let the bad guy get in your way or get you down. Very few people want to be controlled and told what to do. Dracula is like ‘Big Brother’ and is always watching you and knowing what you're doing at all times.”  Plus, there’s the whole immortality thing that’s appealing: “This guy is immortal and he has haunted and preyed upon millions of people for centuries. The challenge is going to be making Dracula my own, after he has been played by some of the greatest actors of all time. Vampires are still huge, and Dracula is the greatest of them all!” 

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.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

David Galido Finds His Focal Point: Fear of Loss

David Galido explores the depths of Dr. John Seward
David Galido has travelled all over the world as a logistics officer in the United States Air Force, but the journeys that he finds most intriguing are those inside the human mind.  In the Farmington Players production of Dracula, David plays Dr. John Seward, the head of a lunatic asylum, suitor to Miss Lucy Westenra, and former pupil of Professor Van Helsing.  David astutely analyzes his own character as follows: “Seward is dealing with loss almost from the moment we meet him, and that loss only grows greater as the story unfolds.  It is also fun to examine the question: what kind of a man is it that chooses to work with madmen as his life's ambition.  Seward is playing pretty close to edge of his own humanity as we see in his interactions with Renfield, his pet project in the asylum.  And as the supernatural events of the play continue to grow more fantastical around him, Seward often loses his grip on the mask of control he shows the world.  Playing Seward gives me the chance to explore some intense emotions – anguish, bitterness, depression, rage, jealousy, fear.”

David also likes how Dracula explores the juxtaposition of good and bad within each character: “Even our ‘heroes’ have these secrets within them that they're holding back from each other.  Most of the characters have to deal with some kind of battle between their ‘good’ self – prim and proper behavior, being upstanding citizens with high values and faith in God and what is right – versus their ‘bad’ self – animalistic, desirous, a hunger for power, life, sex, whatever form that might take.”  The very thought that “a creature is out there, draining your life from you, taking your personhood and transforming you into something else – something, I don’t want to say ‘demonic’, but purely animalistic, is a scary thought.  And if you are turned, then you will be the instrument of your loved ones downfall as well.  It’s a fascinating world to play in.”

Even if you are not struggling with your own inner demons, David thinks that there are some universal truths that will resonate with all audience members:  “All of the characters in Dracula are afraid of losing something – their lives, their sanity, their loved ones, their power, their souls, their chance at immortality.  I think that's the theme I relate most strongly to in this play – that of loss – the fear of losing those that you love the most.  I, like most people, have had to deal with the loss of family, friends, other loved ones.  Hopefully, I can channel my personal experiences into my performance.”

Originally from Novi, David majored in Theatre at Albion College, and theater-related pursuits have taken him to Denmark, NYC, Ohio, and Los Angeles.

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.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jennifer Beitzel Fears No Evil … and That's Scary!

Jennifer Beitzel plays good-girl-gone-bad, Lucy Westenra
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.