Over the past week, DSU Theatre Club has put on three showings of a modern take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. As stated by Emily Pieper, the director and writer of the classic tale’s new version, “We set out to make something different.” Needless to say, it was very different: the show consisted of limited dialogue, a moderately relevant but fully awkward choir, and a secondary story about Prometheus taking fire from the gods.
From an artistic standpoint, the show lacked character details and development overall. For the duration of the show (and even still now), I don’t know if Viktor Frankenstein was a student, teacher, or just some guy. On one hand, he was at a university working on a project; his sister was also a part of the university, and he interacted with students regularly. On the other hand, however, he had a “wife” or at least serious relationship with a woman he got into arguments with; they lived together and at one point they were arguing about bills. Because of the limited dialogue there was little to no development, and characters showed up as quickly as they disappeared. The chorus, though performing some very good pieces, I can only assume were told to stand there and awkwardly look off into space. Whether or not it was intended, it was very uncomfortable.
The play also portrayed a number of themes that I’m still fuzzy on. The relevance of the story about Prometheus stealing fire from the gods is still lost on me. The mob of students using pictures and social media to drive another student to suicide is about the negative impact of social media, and the story about Frankenstein’s monster shows how punishment ensues when one tries to mess with natural order. That being said, the latter theme isn’t fully present in the few scenes that Viktor and his creation interact. Smashing all of these conflicting themes together makes clearly understanding them difficult, if not impossible.
From an audience standpoint, the play was kind of entertaining: a drone flew from above to give Prometheus his “flame,” and the slight correlations between the show and life in college were interesting. The set, on the grand stairs of The Beacom Building, was refreshing and made for interesting transitions. However, the show seriously lacked the focus and the feel of an actual play, which lead to viewers’ confusion and distaste.