What it's about.
Based on Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, a scientist’s ambition gets the best of him when his obsession for creating life becomes a terrifying reality. His lack of love and kindness to his ‘creature’ results in the spiral of his own demise and death to many of his closest family members.
In high school, I sparknoted my way through Frankenstein. To be honest, the small text and elaborate detailing of every little thing bored the living daylights out of me. Don’t get me wrong, the plot of Frankenstein is a one to be admired, and the Creator vs. Creation theme intertwined throughout is intense, but thick books used to give me anxiety. So, when I saw that Frankenstein was being brought to life as a musical, I nearly jumped for joy at the opportunity to see it.
I strolled down the ever crowded MacDougal Street in Greenwich and cleared my mind of all preconceived notions I had about the novel. I decided to enter clear-headed in order to fully enjoy what was to come. I waited in the narrow lobby of The Players Theatre and noticed there were a couple of children around the ages of five, seven, and nine awaiting as well. Last time I checked, Frankenstein is really scary, but I wasn't about to question the mother's parenting skills.
My mind, again, was at ease.
Once I was in my seat, the lights flickered off, and a cello and xylophone set the ominous tone making my skin crawl. The curtains parted and revealed a massive amount of fog, brightly lit red. About 10 cast members backs faced the audience, and all I could think was “Oh My God, I bet those kids are terrified right now” as I kind of shook in my own boots. The first song’s singing replicated chilling whispers and shrieks mixed with the cast reaching and staring at you with the intent to kill. I was already unnerved, and I couldn’t even imagine what those kids were thinking at this point.
The musical moved forward following Dr. Frankenstein's abundance of horrible decisions including staying quiet while his wife's maid was unjustly hung. Yes, they did show a hanging onstage. Did it look fake? No. It did not. It looked damn real. She may have only hung there for about 5 seconds before the lights were cut, but it was enough to make me jump and look away. And that was only the beginning of the disturbing images! This all caused me to worry about those kids as if I was their mother.
Maybe I’m just a wimp, but when it comes to hanging, splattering blood, and harsh choking, if it were up to me, those kids would be at home watching Veggie Tales.
The story took a turn when his creation unfolded his own plight, full of fear, lack of acceptance, and a desire to love. This pulled my heart strings a bit, and yes I did shed a few tears - but to no avail, the underlying mood of terror remained. I was entranced by his world, and soon even forgot about the children in the audience.
I saw that the ‘monster’ was gentle at heart, and all he wanted was to be loved, unlike how Dr. Frankenstein viewed him. This made me reflect on my own journey searching for that special kind of love that everyone in my life seems to find so easily.
I have never been lucky enough to be successful with that plight, usually ending up with people who never really understand me in the first place. But instead of this ‘monster’ who chose to attack all of his creator’s loved ones, I chose to love and take care of myself, which I think is the most powerful love in the world. Unfortunately, people come and go, they disappoint and hurt you, but you’ll always have your own back.
Maybe, if the monster looked within himself, and saw all the beauty there, he wouldn’t have ended up being a vengeance-ridden cold-blooded murder. Who knows? All up for interpretation, I guess.
The curtains closed after Dr. Frankenstein and his creation died, when all of a sudden the three kids popped up and the seven year old exclaims to his mother, “That was awesome!” only to be followed by the other two kids who wouldn’t stop talking about the blood splattering all over the white sheet. I guess, I was the only one who was terrified in the audience. The kids seemed to adore the scary aspect, which personally I think is bad-ass.
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