Frankenstein (2011 play)

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Frankenstein
Frankenstein Boyle Poster.png
Written by Nick Dear (adaptation)
Mary Shelley (novel)
Date premiered Royal National Theatre
Place premiered London, England
Original language English
Genre Drama

Frankenstein is a stage adaptation by Nick Dear of the novel of the same name.

Its world premiere was at the Royal National Theatre on 5 February 2011, where it officially opened on 22 February. This production is directed by Danny Boyle[1] with a cast including Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, with the two lead actors alternating the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. Frankenstein ended its run on 2 May 2011.[2]

Live filming[edit]

On 17 March and 19 March 2011, the production was broadcast to cinemas around the world as a part of the National Theatre Live programme.[3]

The National Theatre's production of Frankenstein returned to cinema screens worldwide for a limited season in June, July and December 2012,[4] as well as for encore screenings in October and November 2013. A third encore screening was announced, beginning October 25, 2014.[5]

Plot[edit]

Victor Frankenstein creates a creature from human corpses, hoping to advance humanity. Once the Creature is "born", however, Victor is appalled by his creation and flees in terror. The Creature wanders through the streets of Ingolstadt, lost and confused. Meanwhile, Gretel, a prostitute, is being assaulted in an alleyway and calls for help. The Creature frightens off her attacker, but Gretel recoils from her savior, and a mob of villagers chase the Creature away. The next morning, the Creature sees the dawn for the first time and finds Victor's journal. He is then attacked by two beggars when he tries to take their food.

The Creature hides in an old cottage that is inhabited by a married couple, Felix and Agatha, and Felix's elderly, blind father, De Lacey. The Creature comes to care for them and brings them in food in secret. De Lacey finds and befriends the Creature and teaches him to speak, read and write. The Creature reads Victor's journal and learns about his creator. De Lacey also teaches the Creature about love, and the Creature dreams of having a female partner, created by Victor. One day, Felix and Agatha come home and find the Creature; much as the Creature had feared, they are repulsed by him and drive him out. Enraged, the Creature sets fire to the cottage, killing the entire family. He swears revenge on Victor for bringing him into a world that hates him.

By a lake, Elizabeth Lavenza, Victor’s fiancée, is playing hide and seek with William, Victor’s younger brother, and her maids. They all leave William blindfolded while they go off to hide. The Creature tries to befriend William, and tells him he is looking for a man called Frankenstein. William says that’s his surname and Victor is his brother. William sees the Creature’s face and tries to run, but the Creature catches him and carries him off. That night Victor and his father, Monsieur Frankenstein, find William's dead body, with pages from Victor's journal. Victor realizes that the Creature killed his brother, and resolves to destroy him.

Victor tracks the Creature to the Alps and confronts him. The Creature asks Victor to create a female mate for him, promising in return to leave humanity alone; the Creature also threatens to destroy Victor's life if he refuses. Left with little choice and intrigued by the challenge, Victor agrees. He moves to Scotland and, in a matter of months, creates a "bride" for the Creature. When the Creature comes to claim her, however, Victor refuses to give her to him, aghast at the possibility of their creating a race of monsters. He destroys the female, and the Creature swears revenge.

On Victor's wedding night, he confesses to Elizabeth what he has done, and promises that he will put an end to the situation that night. He leaves the room intent on destroying the Creature, but the Creature appears in their bridal suite and rapes and murders Elizabeth. Victor discovers what the Creature has done but can’t bring himself to shoot him, and the Creature escapes. Victor attempts to bring Elizabeth back to life, but his father stops him.

Victor pursues the Creature to the Arctic Circle, where he collapses, frostbitten and exhausted. The Creature happens upon Victor and, thinking he has died, begs his forgiveness. He gives Victor seal meat and pours wine into his mouth to revive him, and tells his creator he loves him. He then begs Victor to put them both out of their misery. They go off across the ice together, with the Creature leading and Victor, dragging his sled, following into the fog.

Cast[edit]

  • Benedict Cumberbatch – Victor Frankenstein/The Creature
  • Jonny Lee Miller – The Creature/Victor Frankenstein
  • Ella Smith – Gretel, a prostitute
  • John Killoran – Gustav, a beggar
  • Steven Elliott – Klaus, a beggar
  • Karl Johnson – De Lacey, a blind scholar
  • Daniel Millar – Felix, his son
  • Lizzie Winkler – Agatha, wife of Felix
  • Andreea Padurariu – The Female Creature
  • Haydon Downing/William Nye/Jared Richard – William Frankenstein, Victor's younger brother
  • George Harris – M Frankenstein, Victor's father
  • Naomie Harris – Elizabeth Lavenza, Victor's fiancee
  • Daniel Ings – Servant 1
  • Martin Chamberlain – Servant 2
  • Ella Smith – Clarice, a maid
  • John Stahl – Ewan, a Scottish crofter
  • Mark Armstrong – Rab, his nephew
  • Josie Daxter – Ensemble

Awards[edit]

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller shared both the Olivier Award and London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor for their respective performances. The Critics' Circle Theatre Awards' Best Performance by an Actor in a Play was given to Cumberbatch. The play also won the Olivier Award for Best Lighting.

Soundtrack[edit]

Frankenstein: Music from the Play
Frankensteinsoundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by Underworld
Released 17 March 2011
Genre Soundtrack
Length 60:30
Label underworldlive.com
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
The Independent 3/5 stars[6]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[7]

Electronica duo Underworld provided the score for the play. They had previously worked on the score for Boyle's film Sunshine.[8] Underworld released the soundtrack for Frankenstein in both digital and CD form through their website on 17 March 2011.[9]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Overture" – 17:11
  2. "Incubator" – 1:47
  3. "Industrial Revolution" – 3:51
  4. "Dawn of Eden" – 3:28
  5. "Beggars Attack and Creature Alone" – 0:58
  6. "De Lacey Cottage Guitar" – 0:44
  7. "Not a King (Snow)" – 1:55
  8. "Faery Folk and Nightingale" – 2:28
  9. "Female Creature Dream" – 3:45
  10. "Creature Banished and Cottagers Burn" – 2:47
  11. "Hide and Seek, Body in a Boat" – 1:43
  12. "The Alps" – 1:43
  13. "Frankenstein House" – 0:42
  14. "Sea Shanty and Croft" – 4:07
  15. "Bride Creature.Walk" – 1:10
  16. "Bride Creature.Death" – 1:17
  17. "Wedding Song and Bedroom" – 2:34
  18. "Arctic Wastes" – 6:18
  19. "Come Scientist Destroy" – 2:08

References[edit]

External links[edit]