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Frankenstein
Mary Wollestonecraft Shelley, adapted by Jack Neary

I had always wanted to adapt Mary Shelley's novel utilizing my recollections of the many and varied screen re-creations of her work, with an eye towards honoring the point she was trying to make, while retaining the entertainment value of the story.  Given the expectations of theatre audience members weaned on horror flicks, this was a bit of a challenge.

The story follows Shelley's rather closely, with obvious side-trips to keep the plot dancing and the characters evolving.  Victor Frankenstein's doomed experiment wreaks physical havoc on the populace and emotional havoc on his family and friends.  Victor's creature is the sum of his parts, as it were--a tortured soul, a mangled human contrivance--and as he wends his way to his stunning demise, the audience somehow manages to empathize with his plight, though the horror of his actions is never minimized.  Like the character in the novel, the Creature develops a vocabulary, and tries desperately to assimilate.  When he fails, he demands companionship, threatening Frankenstein and his family if he is not accommodated.  The result of this threat leads to a spectacular, memorable conclusion.

"It says something about this story's appeal, and writer/director Jack Neary's genius, that we can know so much about what will happen and yet sit mesmerized, waiting for the horror to widen in the darkness.  Neary does more than adapt the story Mary Shelley wrote as a precocious if morbid teenager in 1818.  He re-imagines its settings and language, teasing out its conundrums of spirituality and existence.  Neary keeps it interesting, and keeps the horror horrid, by lightening the play's many quick scenes (there are 40-odd short ones, movie-style) with humor, gallows and otherwise."Larry Parnass, Daily Hampshire Gazette


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