The Capitol Theatre ushered in the Halloween spirit with the play “Frankenstein,” which was performed by the Chambersburg Community Theatre.
This drama adaptation of Mary Shelley’s book was psychological and deep, while also showing familiar characters in a new light.
The play “Frankenstein” is nearly a sequel of the aftermath of Victor’s creation of the monster.
The beginning of the play was hopeful, as Victor and his wife Elizabeth celebrated their wedding night. However, Victor later confessed that a creature threatened the special night. As the play progressed, Victor faced the consequences of his experiment and the urgent demands of the creature.
The set design of “Frankenstein” was unique because the study was the constant scenery as the play progressed. The laboratory door in particular was the focal point of the set as it loomed in the background and served as a reminder of what Victor did on the other side.
Instead of shifting the scenery, the characters revealed the outside action through dialogue or with the help of lighting and sound. An example of this is when Victor was working in the lab, buzzing sounds and pulsing white lights conveyed the use of machinery.
Dialogue was also a driving factor for the play, by allowing the audience to concentrate on the thoughts of the characters and adding a deeper, psychological layer. Victor’s character was a clear demonstrator of the significance of dialogue.
Victor confided in his friend Henry about the creation of the monster, and through his confession the audience recognized his inner turmoil — trying to live with the fact that he has created a living, breathing being and he is responsible for anything that transpires as a result.
The dialogue revealed that the creature was capable of speaking and could understand the world around him. Instead of the stereotypical image of Frankenstein with green skin and communicating only through moans and groans, in this play he could think, talk, and even walk normally.
“The creature is fully articulate,” Director Mathew Henning said. “He understands who he is and where he comes from.”
Because the audience understood that Frankenstein was capable of fear and love, when he demanded Victor to create a wife for him, they were able to sympathize with his wish for companionship.
Cyd Tokar was the mind behind the play’s costume and makeup, which together created believable and relatable characters. Victor and Henry’s late 19th Century suits and Frau Frankenstein and Elizabeth’s flowing dresses appropriately reflected the era of the 1800s.
Of course, in any “Frankenstein” production, the look of the creature catches the interest of the audience’s the most. The creature’s dramatic entrance through the double doors of the study immediately pulled the focus to his face.
Tokar’s makeup technique for the creature was phenomenal. Since Victor revealed to the audience that he used body parts from various dead people to put his monster together, Tokar used shading so that each section of the creature’s face had a different flesh tone.
A long, black row of stitches ran down the creature’s face and neck to show he was stitched together piece by piece. The creature’s clothing was tattered and his pants were ripped to give him the appearance of tromping through the wilderness and being on the run.
Director of the play, Matthew Henning’s choice of actors could not have created a more talented group. The deep voice along and slow but deliberate movements of Brent Blair who played the creature, worked together to create an intriguing version of the Frankenstein monster. His inflections of fear and anger make his character relatable and the audience may have even found themselves feeling sorry for the creature.
This production was unique because each actor was a volunteer. A love for theatre inspired the actors to put in hours of hard work, which gave the play a whole new level of charm.