Frankenstein: Reflecting on Acting, Directing, the Set, and Costumes in Relation to Theme and Premise

In this essay, you will analyze the directing choices, acting, scenic design, and costume design along with the directors premise used in Frankenstein.  You should incorporate the concepts introduced in the Set and Costumes units.  How does the directorial choice of casting Frankenstein's monster as a woman change the meaning?  This is in a thrust theatre, how does the scenic design create the world of a play where the characters flowing scenic changes as we view the world from each main characters point of view.  What did the costumes tell you about each character or group of characters?  Your essay should have a thesis statement that articulates the theme of the play and how these elements support that theme.  

Directors Notes From our Production of Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has haunted readers for just over two‐hundred years, has seen countless adaptations, and yet still somehow resonates with audiences today. When I first began my work on Quinn Mattfeld’s lyric adaptation of this classic tale, I started with the question, “What about this story keeps me up at night?” Being that we are now inundated with gruesome imagery in film and tv, the idea of seeing an undead creature wreak havoc on its creator may not pack the punch it did in the days before The Walking Dead. For my part, I realized that as unsettling as the concept of a reanimated corpse actually is, that isn’t the point of this story, and I don’t imagine it ever was. What kept me up with this was the blind ambition of the titular character ‐ working with no thought to the consequences of his actions ‐ the dangerous and unforgiving obsession embedded in the feud between creator and creation, and finally the trauma inflicted upon the “person” from whom the Creature was made. Our society is taking an important hard look at trauma ‐ how we deal with it, how we treat it, and how we care for those who have experienced it; this show does not hold back or attempt to minimize the impact of the wrongs experienced at the hands of others. At one point, the Creature expresses to us that life is pain ‐ what she might well have asked is “why was I created only to be subjected to loss, injury, and pain beyond measure?” My hope with this production is that we have peeled back the curtain to peer at the fears and desires that lurk in the shadows of our souls.  -Ryan Patrick Welsh

Before you see the show:

Think about the differences between live theatre and film or television. Do you tend to binge watch one-hour television shows? Think about what you expect to see.  

When you arrive at the theater take time to look through the program you were given.  Make a mental note of the characters in the show.  Read the Directors Notes and the Dramaturg Notes.

Take a look at the Set onstage.  What do you see that peeks your curiosity?  What does the Set tell us about the play you are about to see?  

While watching the show:

Think about how the acting illuminates the objectives and emotions of the characters. You may wish to bring a notebook and pen to take notes on specific details.  (Please do not take notes on your phone or tablet, as the light will be distracting for other audience members.)  Use your program to help you remember characters' names.

Think about how the costumes help you understand the characters?  Do they support the theme of the play?  Do they tell you something about the development of the plot? 

After the show:

Write a cogent essay in which you make an argument about the theme and/or premise of Frankenstein, and how the directing, acting, the set and costumes support that theme. 

Be sure to write a clear thesis statement expressing an active theme/mood/premise.  You can use your introductory paragraph to express how the story was familiar or unfamiliar to you.  Use specific evidence from the show to support your ideas. Be sure to link your evidence to your overall thesis; the best way to do this is to write a strong topic sentence for each paragraph.

    • Posted: 23 days ago
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    • Budget: $18
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