British playwright Nick Dear adapted the novel into a play for the National Theatre of London in 2011, it was a huge success. Nick for the first time took the story and gave it a twist by making the monster the focal point and seeing life through his eyes.
This production by the Ensemble Theatre is truly amazing. Two hours of tense, humourous and thought provoking theatre. Nick's interpretation really highlights how humans focus more on what people look like and less on what people are actually like. Only a blind person accepts the monster as he is.
The stage is set, very dark and very simple. A lone cellist plays a haunting tune and then there before our eyes the monster is born. We see him exploring light, dark, sound, his own body and taking his very first steps. He can't speak so the whole scene takes place through mime and dancelike movements. He is very childlike though he is has a adult size body, learning everything just as a child would. Some of this learning brings joy like seeing snow for the first time, but some brings sadness. He soon learns that society will not accept him and chase him from the streets to the wilderness. It is here that he meeting De Lacey, an educated man who teaches him to speak, read and write. The monster realises what it is to be human and fears that he will always be an outcast. His fear is realised when De Lacey's son and wife see him and drive him out. The monster then goes to the stories that he has learned and turns to revenge by killing them. He seeks out his creator Victor Frankenstein and to draw him out he kills his younger brother, William. Victor is mortified by what he has created, but agrees to give him what he wants, a mate. Victor starts to work on her, but at the last minute realises he can't release another monster on the world and kills it. The monster seeks his revenue once more by killing his wife. Victor and the monster then spend the rest of their days locked together, forever moving North.
Mark Kilmurry, the director, had the difficult task of moving things on and off stage seamlessly, without loosing momentum. The route he chose was to use the actors. They all took part in moving props, creating sound affects and even producing the weather! It was a very polished production. The only negative I have is that Lee Jones's portrayal of the monster was so good, the other actors had a hard job to match it. I do feel there were times that Nick had not given the dialogue for the other characters as much thought as he had for the Monsters, so it made it even harder for the actors. Saying that I think the balance Nick gave the play with some great humour was good. Lee Jone's performance really made this production for me, if I could give him an Oscar I would.
Frankenstein is playing at the Sydney Opera House until 17 April for tickets click here