In this stage adaptation of Frankenstein, authors Mark Baron, Jeffrey Jackson, and Gary P. Cohen have sought to create a work that was uniquely faithful to Shelley’s original novel while offering a bold, new experience for modern theater audiences. To do so, they have broken with many of the conventions of musical theater to re-imagine the classic allegory as a “memory play” in which time and space are fluid, and in which people and places come instantly alive in the mind of the story’s protagonist, Victor Frankenstein--and vanish just as quickly. The result is a thrilling “mindscape” that brings the timeless myth of Frankenstein to life as never before.
1793. North of the Arctic Circle, a sailing vessel comes upon a man adrift on a floe of ice, “a wretch... near death.” His name is Victor Frankenstein, and he proceeds to tell the ship’s captain, Robert Walton, the horrifying tale of his twisted life.
Victor is the scion of a prominent family of Geneva, Switzerland, where he enjoyed a childhood of wealth and privilege. As a young boy, he exhibits a brilliant mind and a gift for the natural sciences, and his parents, Alphonse and Caroline, dote on him adoringly. Their family soon swells to include Elizabeth--an orphaned waif whom Victor's parents adopt as their ward--and later William, Victor’s much-younger brother. Victor’s brother in spirit is Henry Clerval, his childhood friend, and he, Victor, and Elizabeth forge deep bonds of friendship from their earliest days.
Victor’s thirst for knowledge leads him on a quest to master the secrets of life and death. A tragic event galvanizes his mission: His beloved mother perishes of scarlet fever--but not before uttering her fondest wish: that Victor and Elizabeth one day be married.
When grown, Victor seeks to further his study of the sciences at the University at Ingolstadt, Germany, but vows to one day return to Elizabeth to fulfill the promise of a life together.
At the University, Victor’s ideas for unlocking the mysteries of life are met with scorn and ridicule by his professors, so he continues his quest in secrecy. He endeavors to create life where there was none--to reanimate the dead. At the public hanging of a criminal he finds the primary vessel of his grand experiment. He claims the body of the condemned man and sets to work.
For many months, Victor toils in a clandestine laboratory to create what he hopes will be the perfect human--a giant, fashioned from the body of the executed criminal and other limbs and organs purloined from gallows and graveyards. One November night, he harnesses the awesome force of an electrical storm to breathe life into his creation.
But when his creature comes to life, it is not as the perfect human he envisioned, but as a hideous beast.
Thus unfurls the timeless, cautionary tale of Victor Frankenstein, whose noble dreams of grandeur unleash instead a litany of terror and tragedy. Before it is done, everything in his privileged world will be torn asunder, as Victor and his creature are pit against one another in an epic and deadly war of wills that will lead them across the continent and ultimately to the ends of the earth.
A story of life, love, Promethean dreams and Faustian horror, Frankenstein explores the full gamut of human experience like no other novel ever written. Forget all you have seen in the movies--this is not a Hollywood scarefest populated by lumbering ghouls and wild-eyed maniacs. This is Mary Shelley’s original, brilliant, romantic terror
--a dark vision of what lies at the depths of the human soul and what happens when its full power is unleashed.