By Claire DeMarco
Trapped during a storm, Mary Shelley (Stacia Paglieri playing multiple roles), her husband and friends take refuge in a Swiss mansion. Perhaps due to boredom or the raging storm outside, those inhabitants think it would be fun to each write a “scary” story. Mary’s imagination triggers during that fateful night, she conceives the idea of one human creating life (not in the traditional way).
Writing a story so creative with such an unusual theme in the early 19th century is not novel. But considering the time frame, it is unusual and rather refreshing that this piece of science fiction was written by a woman.
Note: Mary, Mary. Quite contrary!
The theme of Frankenstein has gone through many variations, from a serious, frightening movie with a monster stitched, sewn together and bolted in some places to a dark comedy interpretation.
Lawrence C. Connolly’s adaptation takes the original basis of the book and incorporates the author, Mary Shelley and her cohorts into the play, interspersing Mary’s comments to her sister, Claire Claremont (Maddie Kocur playing multiple roles) as the play progresses. At different stages of the production, Mary and Claire engage in conversation on how Mary’s story develops from conception to play solution.
The parallel story line of “Frankenstein” involves following Victor Frankenstein (Isaac Miller playing multiple roles) as he creates the creature (Everett Lowe) with the sole purpose of constructing another life that defies death. Once created, Victor doesn’t know what to do with what he has created.
Fleeing from Victor the creature resides with Monsieur Delacey (David Nackman playing multiple roles) and learns to read and write. His obvious intelligence makes him more of a threat.
The creature has a mind of his own, acts irrationally, commits crimes for no apparent reason. He is smart enough that he allows others to take the blame for those crimes.
Realizing what he has created, Victor’s main purpose is to stop the creature. Obsessed with finding him, he trails him across the country and beyond.
As pursuit continues, one questions whether it’s Victor or the creature that is the actual villain?
Lowe is outstanding as the creature. He is not one-dimensional but clever, cunning, cruel and confused.
Miller as Victor displays a range of emotions from a stable, normal human wanting to create a perfect human to an almost crazed individual as he pursues the creature.
Kocur as Justine Moritz is effective as the pitiful woman convicted of a crime she didn’t commit.
Paglieri as Mary is confident and exciting as she continues to develop the play. She easily conveys Mary’s independent nature.
Nackman does a wonderful job as the only person who provides the balance and support that the creature needs.
Excellent lighting by Lighting Designer Hope Debellius with effective sound by Sound Designer Mark Whitehead.
“Frankenstein” was adapted by Lawrence C. Connolly and is based on the novel by Mary Shelley.
“Frankenstein” is a production of Prime Stage Theatre Co, performed at the New Hazlett. It runs from November 4 – November 13. For more information, click here.