By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Rachael Anderson played a vampire in Montgomery High School’s production of “Dracula” last fall, with fangs in her mouth and fake red bloodstains on a tattered white dress.
It was a “creepy, crawly” role as a bride of the dreaded Transylvanian count, said Anderson, 16, a junior who’s been involved in drama for three years and wants to pursue it in college.
But it was also a trifle bit like real life for Anderson, a diabetic who must prick her finger with a lancet to produce a drop of blood four or five times a day to check her blood sugar level.
Diagnosed with diabetes at age 10, she wears an insulin pump to deliver the sugar-lowering hormone that her body will not produce. Sometimes, she needs to inject insulin with a syringe.
Once or twice a week, her blood sugar level plummets, a condition called hypoglycemia. “I get shaky, confused. I feel sick to my stomach,” she said.
Relief comes from an immediate consumption of carbohydrates.
Those episodes are annoying, Anderson said, especially when they strike during a class, drama or choir practice. But Anderson dismisses diabetes as “an inconvenience,” not a barrier to a busy teen life.
In addition to drama and choir, she’s taking chemistry, math and U.S. history, doing two to three hours of homework a night, maintaining a 3.6 academic average and striving to get her learner’s permit to drive.
She’s currently learning a four-minute monologue from a play called “Dying Light,” spoken to the audience by Jenny, a 19-year-old girl who’s dying of brain cancer and falling in love with a guy.
Her Montgomery drama classmates are “my second family,” said Anderson, who started acting at Slater Middle School. Describing herself as “a little outgoing,” Anderson said performing on stage is a chance to be “really outgoing in front of a lot of people.”
In Montgomery’s spring comedy production of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” she is cast as a fairy and as Egeus, who is trying to get his daughter to marry the man of his choice.
Anderson and her mother, Glennda, completed the Giant Race, a 10-kilometer run along San Francisco’s Embarcadero ending at AT&T Park in September. She had to stop for about 10 minutes to boost her blood sugar level, but they finished together in just under two hours.
“I was surprised that I did it,” Rachael said.
“I was proud of her,” her mother said.
The setting was appropriate, as mother and daughter are Giants fans who attend about a dozen games a year without any of the men in the family.
Rachael remembers that her first game at the bayside ballpark was the last for slugger Barry Bonds on Sept. 26, 2007.
“I still have a Bonds jersey,” Anderson said.
Next up for her is a visit to Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore., her first choice for college, owing to its theater department.
She’ll pursue either acting or costuming, leaning toward the latter because, she said, there are “more jobs” in costuming.
Birthplace: Santa Rosa
Lives with: Parents, Glennda and Robert; brother, Justin; Belgian Malinois dog, Fiona
What’s in her iPod: Eclectic mix of 1980s rock, indie, alternative, jazz and classical music
Favorite hobby: Drama
Dream job: Live theater actor or costumer
Favorite TV show: ‘Firefly,’ a 2002 Fox series
Favorite food: Tofu
Quote: ‘There’s something about being on stage. It’s just great. You get to be so many different people.’
You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.