This weekend will be your last chance to see El Paso Playhouse’s production of “Frankenstein.” The adaptation the Playhouse is taking on is by Victor Gialanella.
“His adaptation captures more of the essence that Mary Shelley was trying to portray through her story,” the play’s director Samantha Franco said. She started directing for the Playhouse last year with “It’s a Wonderful Life.” “[‘Frankenstein’ is] more about the struggle between what the scientist is trying to achieve and what he should achieve. It’s a struggle about humanity, and whether we should aspire to be like a God.”
Author Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is set in the 19th century and tells the story of scientist Dr. Victor von Frankenstein. As a young man eager to prove his talents to the world, the doctor uses electricity to create a sapient man from corpses. A hideous abomination, “The Creature” is abandoned by both society and his creator. This abandonment turns him into a murderer hell bent on revenge against Victor.
“[Victor and The Creature] are dichotomous,” said William Pettit, who plays Frankenstein’s creation. “One is perceived as the monster and one actually is a monster. Who’s to blame? The bomb maker or the bomb? [Frankenstein] created this being without any thought to the impact or feelings of the creature or what the impact could be to the community around him and his family. He just wanted to create to create, to satisfy his curiosity.”
“Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” was first published anonymously in 1818. Shelley’s name appeared on the second edition, published 1823. The first stage adaptation, written by Richard Brinsley Peake, was performed that year. Edison Studios released the first film adaptation in 1910. The classic 1931 Universal Pictures adaptation made The Creature into a Hollywood monster. The 1994 movie “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” is considered to be the most faithful adaptation.
“[Playing The Creature] is different than what I thought it was going to be,” Pettit said. “I thought I’d just be playing a creature that goes, ‘grrr,’ and stumbles around the stage, but it’s really a story about relationships. The relationship with The Creature and his creator. The relationship between Frankenstein and his fiancée.”