Frankenstein The Beauty and Horror of a Silent Gothic Creation

Court Theatre continues the 64th Season with
The World Premiere of Frankenstein
Manual Cinema adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley
Concept by Drew Dir, Devised by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, and Julia VanArsdale Miller
Original music by Kyle Vegter and Ben Kauffman
November 1 – December 2, 2018

Leah Casey (Caroline Frankenstein) Photo by Michael Brosilow

The classic tale of ‘Frankenstein’ is noted as the first science fiction novel of Gothic horror written by Mary Shelley in 1818. The story is told of a “mad scientist” by the name of Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss student of natural science who decides to create an artificial man from pieces of corpses. The creature is brought to life, and it seeks affection; however, the monster inspires hatred in everyone that meets him, causing the beast to be lonely and miserable and eventually turns on its maker.
Frankenstein is the exploration of a tale that was written centuries ago that still captivates the mind today. It is a compelling story again about a creature who is trying to live outside of society.
This historic storytelling is cleverly brought together combining many different fragments with each piece detailing this gothic horror coming to life with live musicians performing on stage with live actors and shadow puppetry; which include over 500 puppets to create what looks like you’re watching an animated film right before your eyes.
Court Theatre was among several theaters in Chicago that featured plays celebrating the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein as a novel. Court’s brilliance with this play is bringing in Manual Cinema, and its cinematography of silent film creativity combined with an ensemble of musicians.
Their camerawork, artwork, moviemaking, superb setup and actors were terrific and precise in their overall performance. We truly enjoyed the puppeteer segments and how Manual Cinema allows you to visually see the process in motion and instantly witness the outcome through overhead projections and sudden lighting and movements.
Court Theatre fresh perspective to this tragic romance and a parable sewed into one towering body through the innovative and unique form of live cinema is a historically and futuristically mind-blowing event.
This adaptation of Frankenstein is more than the ‘Monster’s creation; it also stages parts of an extraordinary woman Mary Shelley’s life; the woman who invented a literary genre (science fiction). The layers of Frankenstein delves into so many different categories that still resonate with so many today; such as abandonment, obsession, loss, unfounded hatred of those different from the norm, motherhood, and technical inventions.
This version is an out of the box approach to a classic story; which may catch the usual theatergoers by surprise; however, we feel that it will entertain and delight all Frankensteinian enthusiasts.
Brenda and Rick McCain

Let’s Play ‘Recommend’ that you check it out at Court Theatre!
The puppeteers include:
Sarah Fornace (Victor Frankenstein/ Mary Shelley)
Julia VanArsdale Miller ( The Creature/ Elizabeth Frankenstein/ Fanny Imlay)
Leah Casey (Caroline Frankenstein/ Percy Shelley/ Vocals)
Sara Sawicki(Alphonse Frankenstein/ William Godwin)
Myra Su (Ensemble)

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