From the costumes and makeup to light and sound to the acting and directing, Nosferatu breaks new ground for UVU theater. By way of constant experimentation and evolution, the experience will make for a unique evening at the theater.
The story of Nosferatu is based on Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula. Because the Stoker family refused to release rights to the book, the filmmakers deviated from Stoker’s plot and changed names. The filmmakers then made and dispersed several copies of the film all over the world.
When the Stokers sued for copyright infringement, the movie company went bankrupt. The court ordered all copies of the film to be destroyed, but it was already in worldwide circulation. Today Nosferatu is in public domain; the film is on YouTube and GoogleVideo in its entirety.
Nosferatu influenced the vampire legend by introducing daylight as a weakness.
Anna-Marie Johnson was allowed creative license with some of the costumes but had to make the main characters match the film – at least, for the most part. For example, Count Orlok’s black coat in the beginning of the production is her design while the green coat matches the film. Some of the costumes were available from the department while other pieces, such as Hutter’s boots, were special-ordered. In the final days of the production, some costumes underwent last-minute modifications.
One of the little details of Nosferatu, the make-up and cosmetics were the work of Mandy Lions. Supervisor Melissa Chung recalled that in the beginning, they tried using oil-based makeup during screen tests by applying one kind to one side of the actors’ face and a different kind to the other. They finally settled on cake makeup, a powder base that was used in the first films with sound.
The Light Cues
Mike James coordinated the lighting for the show. One of his great feats was during a last-minute fiasco: Two nights before the show’s opening, all the lighting cues were accidentally erased. It had taken roughly a week and a half of rehearsing to flesh out the cues. In three hours, Mike redid the all cues from memory.
Much of the production’s music came from mixing pieces of Igor Stravinsky, Michael Nyman, Arvo Part, and pieces of scores from the films The Red Violin and The Fountain – as well as others.
Tom Fernlund, Jason Sullivan and Heather Murdock (Count Orlok, Hutter and Ellen respectively) all found Nosferatu an invigorating challenge and a fantastic experience. One aspect of the production Heather learned to adjust to was slowing down and making every movement purposeful. Jason learned how to mimic the actor in the film while still giving the performance his own style.
Tom put a lot of physical work into his performance to make the count’s portrayal help the flow of the entire production. He did his best to allow the character’s presence to suspend the audience’s disbelief and give gravity to the storytelling aspects of Nosferatu.
The creative genius behind it all is Christopher Clark. His decision to do a mixed media theater production was a brave and bold one: Having considered the recent insurgence in the theater world of utilizing mixed media, Christopher wanted to bring it to Utah Valley. He described it as a logistical nightmare, but ultimately a rewarding experience for him, the cast and crew, and the audience.
The integration of a stage presentation with a cinematic one creates a rich inclusive experience for the audience; the viewers become participants rather than simply spectators. The experience makes the event more about the storytelling than just the story, and the mixed media method invites the audience to have a part in that storytelling, which is why each viewer will have a different experience with the production.