Lookingglass's Tale Of This Monster Brings Out Its Amazing Storytelling Abilities!
Since the Genesis biblical creation of man, mankind has been obsessed with reduplicating God's ability to create from the earth. The story of Prometheus who labored diligently over the creation of man from a lump of clay. Prometheus shaped man after the image of the gods and allowed him to walk upright so that he might look towards the heavens.
This same fascination was the inspiration behind the novel written by English author Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Written in 1818 and revised in 1831, this tale of mystery and terror is considered as being the early example of science fiction.
Lookingglass Theatre brings to the stage this fantastic and well produced and directed adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Born out of bad weather in Switzerland and a horror story contact between romantic renegades, Shelley from her birth to her death, experienced tragedy. Her mother dies days after she was born, she was removed from her father as a teenager and lost several children and died from a brain tumor. During her tragic life, she penned the famous novel Frankenstein; a monster creature by a man that has inspired numerous American horror films.
Living in Scotland, Shelley begins writing fictional tales which helped her imagination of life, love, and loneliness. In the summer of 1816, called "The Year Without A Summer," due to the eruption of Mount Tambora volcanic ash that blocked the skies, Shelley travels to stay with friends, which is where we begin the tale of Frankenstein.
Lord Byron, Dr. John Polidori, Mary's stepsister Claire along with Mary and her not-yet, free-love husband Percy comes together for a stormy night during the years of the Temperance Movement, to drink and compete to see who could tell the most exciting and scariest ghost story. They gather in a villa and Mary, now has to come up with her own story that will enchant the group with horror; but Percy and Lord Byron, doesn't believe she has it in her young, adolescent mind to conceive of such a tale. Mary, hesitant to allow them to see her haunting creativity, decides to take on their challenge and begins to weave a tale of horror, mystery, and destruction.
Director David Catlin brilliantly narrates the dreadful consequences that arise after a scientist has artificially created a human being, which is Lookingglass first modern creation myth and their first science fiction. This story of Frankenstein had the audience transfixed on every word and scurrying back from the intermission; eager to see more.
Cordelia Dewdney was outstanding as Mary Shelley, and we loved that Katharine Hepburn style and grace pose Dewdney displayed. Her extravaganza storytelling brought this classic novel to life and made a night of horror and mystery, a Lookingglass night to remember. Keith D Gallagher as Lord Byron was note-worthy; however, his performance as Frankenstein was by far the highlight of the play. He made the horrid beast likable at the same time and believable as a monster seeking to acknowledge, angered over his abandonment while looking for love and redemption.
Rounding out the cast was Walter Briggs as Percy Bysshe, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel as Claire Clairmont and Debo Balogun as Dr. John Polidori. Briggs was impressive as Percy the mad-scientist seeking to create life and feeling dammed after thinking he created an abomination. Cadel as Claire Clairmont and Balogun as the doctor, both played several other characters and was equally was stimulating in their roles.
In the end, Mary's was the most hauntingly story and grew into the classic novel people around this world still loved today; Frankenstein. The life of Mary Shelley, which dealt with the loss of five children, the death of her mother, father and husband should remind us how we can still rise above tragedy and find stories of love within our loneliness. Director Catlin, says it best, "I'm fascinated by how the human heart survives desolation and misery," however it's this remarkable human trait that has brought us one of the world's greatest gift; the mind of imagination.
Let's Play Highly Recommends, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at Lookingglass Theatre.
Lookingglass Theatre Presents
Written and Directed by David Catlin
From the Book by Mary Shelley
Now – August 4, 2019
Filed under: ChicagoNow