From Transylvania to Minnetonka, Student Brings Dracula to Life

Minnetonka junior Eric Sargent found a role he can really sink his teeth into.

Halloween is over, but a vampire still lurks in Minnetonka. 

Dracula will debut . Eric Sargent plays the lovestruck vampire.

“Dracula is an iconic figure,” said the junior. “I am trying to play Dracula in a very different way. Dracula is dark and twisted, but also has a very human core. I try to see and act as he would if he were a real person with a past, present and future.” 

“Eric’s portrayal of Dracula will be unforgettable by everyone that sees him,” said Minnetonka Theatre director Kent Knutson. “He has matured and developed into a fantastic actor.”

Reading Bram Stoker’s novel helped Sargent get into the character and appreciate the production.   

“I have been pleasantly surprised at how many of the lines and song lyrics are taken directly from the novel,” he said. “That gives the musical an authentic feel.” 

A new skill that Sargent had to learn was how to “fly” across the stage. The theater hired professionals to train the actors and technical crew on the flight rigging operation and safety. 

“The first couple days of learning to fly were challenging and exhausting, but the effect it creates on stage is powerful,” Sargent said. “Flying is an absolute blast!”

Sargent describes the production as romantic and passionate. His favorite line is from a song Dracula sings to the girl he loves: "The world will not turn until you turn to me."

“It is a powerful way of expressing how someone feels,” he said. “For Dracula, love is the one thing he has when he has lost everything else.”

Sargent loves acting but admits it can be difficult. “In acting, it is easy to just ‘do’ something, but to ‘feel’ that something and get the audience to feel it too is challenging.”

Sargent said he hasn’t experienced stage fright, but the rush of adrenaline from being on stage can cause an actor to lose focus. “Deep breathing and focusing my mind is what I do to leave the real world behind, to give the audience and the show all of my attention,” he said.

Sargent was bitten by the acting bug as a freshman after landing a role in the fall show. He learned a lot from performing with former Minnetonka Theatre students Ryan McCartan and Nate Irvin. “They blew my mind as actors, singers and people,” he said. “They were very encouraging to me.”

Sargent also credits his director for helping him get into character on stage. “Mr. Knutson is very motivating and has great vision for what he wants out of individual actors and the overall cast,” said Sargent.

When he’s not in school or at rehearsals, you can find Sargent performing with the Minnetonka concert choir, chamber singers and the men’s quartet. He also takes voice lessons.

Sargent likes to spend free time with friends or listening to music. “I always have my iPod playing,” he said. His favorite musicians are the Beatles.

His advice for kids who want to go into acting? “See as much live theater as you can,” he said. Sargent encourages young people to audition even if they doubt they’ll get a part. “The younger you start, the more experiences you’ll get. In acting, experience goes a long way.”

Dracula runs Nov. 4-19. For performance times and ticket information, go to www.minnetonkatheatre.com.




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