For director Ian Case, tackling Theatre Inconnu’s production of Frankenstein is essentially an extension of the work he’s done for years at Craigdarroch Castle.
Through his Giggling Iguana Productions, audiences keen on experiencing live gothic and horror literature-based theatre around Halloween had a chance to do so, trooping through the castle in Rockland.
Theatre Inconnu’s version of Frankenstein, written by David Elendune, offers Case a chance to work on the one story that eluded him during the Craigdarroch years.
The popularity and interest in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, both among storytellers and audiences, is unmistakable.
”It’s actually the singularly most adapted piece of literature in the English language, between television, film, plays, comic books,” says Case. “It’s 20 per cent above Dracula.”
With so many renditions of the original story, it can be hard to keep track of the ways it’s been told. Case calls this version a “loyal adaptation.”
“Everybody thinks they’ve read the story,” he says, noting that most adaptations try to find a balance between the doctor and his creation, or focus on the monster.
“The big difference is that this version really concentrates on the story of Victor Frankenstein … what motivates him to do the things that he does. It really ties back to Shelley herself, her history and why she was so interested in this story.”
The author had lost a child before she began formulating the novel, and in the story, Victor loses his mother in the birth of his brother. He becomes obsessed about conquering death and experiments in a gruesome way along those lines.
Where the first half of the play is about Frankenstein’s hubris, the second is about the consequences of that hubris.
Where the opening act sets the stage by developing the main three characters, “it’s all action in the second half,” Case says. “The monster comes out of hiding, has the awful impact that is well known, and it’s a roller coaster toward the end.”
Productions of this story can be very effects-heavy, as they attempt to portray the birth of the monster in a high-voltage ressurrection scene and the carnage that follows down the road.
Audiences of this show, with its modest production budget, will be asked to play along and use their imagination, perhaps drawing on knowledge of the original story.
“It’s about the mind’s eye,” Case says. “The nice thing about live theatre is there is that collaboration between the cast and the audience.”
Brian Quakenbush stars as Victor, with Ken Yvorchuk in the role of his father Wilhelm Frankenstein, Ursula Szkolak as Victor’s fiancée Elizabeth, Tenyjah McKenna as Clerval, Michelle Mitchell as Justine and Evan Roberts playing the Creature.
Theatre Inconnu’s Frankenstein opens with a preview performance Sept. 25, followed by subsequent shows between Sept. 26 and Oct. 13. The theatre at 1923 Fernwood Rd. holds around 60 people, so reservations are highly encouraged. To book your tickets, call 250-360-0234 or visit theatreinconnu.com, or go to ticketrocket.co and search for Frankenstein.