Most of us know the Frankenstein monster from the dozens of movies made about the creature.
The jagged stitches, neck bolts, grunts and groans have become part and parcel of the Frankenstein legend.
The new Ensemble Stage radio stage production of “Frankenstein” goes back to the source, the 1818 Mary Shelley novel, which was originally titled “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.”
“The script is from an old radio play that’s very close to the novel,” said Derek Gagnier, the actor who plays scientist Victor Frankenstein. “It’s a great role at a time where I feel I’m still learning as an actor. It comes at a perfect time for everything, not just because it’s Halloween. We’ve done ‘Dracula,’ and we’ve done ‘War of the Worlds,’ but this is just kicking my butt because of what happens in an hour in this play to Victor and the creature is so huge emotionally.”
Ensemble Stage will present the staged radio play, "Frankenstein,” at the Blowing Rock School auditorium (Sunset Drive entrance) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. Tickets are $14 for adults and $8 for students (ages 25 or younger). For more information, call (828) 414-1844, or visit www.ensemblestage.com.
The cast of “Frankenstein” includes Derek Gagnier as Victor Frankenstein, Ian Lawrence as Henry/Boyd, Ray Mize as Professor Waldman, Lauren Hayworth as Baroness Frankenstein, Sarah Duttlinger as Justine Moritz, Natasha Braswell as Elizabeth Frankenstein, Chandler Walpole as The Creature and Sarah Scheurer as Wilhelmina Frankenstein.
The show is directed by Gary Lee Smith, and Mize serves as the announcer.
During the production, the audience will have the opportunity to see how an old-fashioned radio play is pulled off, complete with loads of special sound effects.
The heart of the drama, however, is the complex relationship between Victor Frankenstein and his creature.
“Chandler and I have been pretty much on the same page, which has been cool, too,” Gagnier said. “I found this weird graphic novel where Batman does Frankenstein, and I thought I’d give it to Chandler, and he said, ‘I already have it.’”
Added Walpole, “The monster was created to be intelligent, and when he’s first created, he’s not intelligent. He has that groaning and grunting. That’s when Victor Frankenstein tries to kill him. But the creature survives, and he wanders the wilderness.
“This blind man teaches him to speak and to read out of the Bible. That’s where a bunch of weird morality comes from, because the creature has this sort of warped sense of religion, seeing Victor both as his father and his god, and his father and his god has rejected him. That’s why he becomes so vengeful and goes around murdering people who are related to this holy figure who has rejected him. In the novel, he is called Adam.”
“It’s really a morality play,” Gagnier said. “As a parent, you don’t stop loving your kid. But for Victor to do what he does, which is reject him and try to kill him, is really amazing. This creature, they try to make him beautiful, but somehow in the process of creation, he turns out hideous. It’s like their best intentions gone completely awry.”
For more information, or to order tickets, call Ensemble Stage at (828) 414-1844, or visit www.ensemblestage.com.