WAKE FOREST — Frankenstein plays tonight (Thursday), tomorrow, (Friday) and Saturday at 7 p.m. at Wake Forest High School. It lasts approximately 90 minutes with a 20 minute intermission. Price is $10 for general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens.
When we think of Frankenstein, most of us think of the green monster with bolts attached to his neck created by Boris Karloff in the 1931 movie, or Gene Wilder’s spoof of the horror story in Young Frankenstein. The real story is quite different.
Frankenstein was created by Mary Shelley, wife of classic poet Percy Shelley as part of a storytelling contest. She published it as a novel in 1818, and it caught the public’s interest immediately due to it’s timely topics: Is our society moving too fast? Has technology gone too far? On another level, what is our responsibility for what we create? Who is the real monster?
Through flashbacks, writer Thomas Olsen takes the audience back through Frankenstein’s struggles to defeat death through scientific means and his struggle to accept responsibility for the life he creates.
Olsen was commissioned by the Minneapolis Children’s Theater to create a version of Frankenstein that would make the novel accessible to younger readers, ages 11–15 and was ultimately filmed as a television special for PBS in 1985.
Wake Forest High School was approved to perform this educational work as part of their Matinee Series. Director Marie Jones and student directors Alexis Tetreault, Aly Ryan and Natasha Toledo, seeing an opportunity to take a creative approach in hopes of appealing to a broader audience, decided to stage the play in steampunk style. Steampunk, as it applies to theater is about set, props, and costumes, as well as story. It grew out of a desire to connect with the industrial age as the precursor to the age of technology.
Students involved in the production also hope to focus attention on the very relevant issue of bullying inherent in this story, by asking the question of “who is the real monster in the story?”
Jones cautions that the story does contain simulated acts of violence and is not recommended for children under age 11.
Student actors involved include Isaiah Napier, who plays adult Victor Frankenstein, Lydia Mitchell, who plays young Victor Frankenstein, and Houston Jones, who plays the older adult Victor Frankenstein as well as Frankenstein’s father, Alphonse. The creature is acted by Cyrus Mitchell and Rhone Oldham.
This production is rated PG for simulated violence and mature themes.