After a stunning premier at the Sydney Opera House, Mary Shelley’s classic tale Frankenstein lurches into the Gasworks Theatre for a chilling run of performances.
Most have read Shelley's gothic novel about Victor Frankenstein and his grotesque creation but here we are promised a re-imagining of Shelley’s classic tale from the mind of playwright Nick Dear. Director Mark Kilmurry read the play and thought Dear had done a wonderful job at translating the novel to the stage. Kilmurry's aim is to do the play justice.
So, forced to survive in the real world, a man-made creature soon loses his child-like innocence and transforms into an adult being … an adult with bitterness, lust, vengeance – and deadly reasoning. The Creature is cast out by his creator, the young doctor Frankenstein, and unleashed upon the world. He is shunned for his grotesque appearance and spurned by society wherever he goes. When a blind man takes Frankenstein’s monstrous creation under his wing and educates him, the Creature begins to question his existence and to yearn for a future without loneliness. His search for a lifelong partner brings him back to his maker, with vengeance foremost in his mind.
Dear's version is described as spine-tingling but so it was for those London readers of 1818, when Shelley's work was first published. Shelley was nineteen when she first started working on the project and the novel was published two years later. Would the story have existed were it not for a long cold winter's escape with Percy Shelley to the villa o Lord Byron is a question that cannot be answered but it was over that period that, promoted by Lord Byron, the three friends set about writing their own supernatural tales.
Dear's script is described as:.. 'transfixing audiences with a compelling juxtaposition of beauty and grotesque, horror and magnificence, lust and vengeance.' But it also challenges the actors, admits Kilmurry, adding it is a very physical piece. "I worked on the external elements a lot. The music by Elean Kats Chernin was wonderful to include but of course, music, a marvellous cello player and actors and a physical script is always a question of balance. So the challenge was keeping all these strengths in sync with each other during rehearsals."
It is Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre that brings this play to life and Kilmurry is its co-artistic director. Kilmurry's joy comes from making theatre with wonderful actors, designers and serving a well written play. The significance the play has for him can be found within the experience. "It is very pleasant to be involved with a success and for the Ensemble Theatre to be the company that has made it work."
Kilmurry's hope is that audiences enjoy a cracking good thriller, have a few frights as well as think about what it takes to be a human. "We present the play as clear and as entertaining as we can," he says. "The audience hopefully will take something that means something to them."
Frankenstein is just one of six quality independent pieces playing at Gasworks during Moving Parts 2013.
Frankenstein at Gasworks Arts Park:
Dates: 28 to 29 May 2013