2018 S T U D Y G U I D E B Y J A M I L A R E D D Y
A Study Guide to Aquila Theatre’s Production of
FRANKwritten bEy Mary SNhelley STEIN
Written two centuries ago in 1818 by Mary Shelley, FRANKENSTEIN: The Modern Prometheus is the first I N T H I S S T U D Y G U I D E true science fiction novel. Years ahead of its time, the story has since become the inspiration for countless film and stage adaptations. Frankenstein is a living, breathing, SUMMARY gruesome outcome of scientific discovery. The piece raises an important universal question about the nature of innovation- just because it can be done, should it be WHO'S WHO IN done?' FRANKENSTEIN
Victor Frankenstein is a Swiss scientist with a mission to create an artificial human. Without considering the THE FIRST SCENE consequences of such progress, he succeeds with terrifying results. After wandering the world alone, the monster eventually comes for Frankenstein’s family. SAY WHAT?: Horrific events unfold until the doctor tentatively agrees to create a mate for the creature. Ultimately, the doctor VOCABULARY refuses in an effort to spare humanity but bears the terrible and personal penalties of his decision. Two hundred years later, Frankenstein still poses a myriad of FRANKENSTEIN ON critical ethical questions. Aquila Theatre’s production of FILM this timeless classic is bold and thrilling – while paying homage to the original, frightening writing of Mary Shelley. THINK ABOUT IT! DISCUSSION Q'S. S U M M A R Y
Robert Walton writes a series of letters to his sister Margaret Saville and tells the story of how his polar expedition becomes trapped in ice and how one day he sees a 'gigantic figure' in the distance. The next day, he takes on board a mysterious stranger, Victor Frankenstein. Victor takes over the narration and tells Walton a complex tale about his life history and how he comes to be alone so near to the North Pole.
As a child, Victor Frankenstein's life in Switzerland is safe and secure with loving parents (Alphonse and Caroline) and two younger brothers (Ernest and William). Victor's charitable mother also gives a home to a young orphan girl, Elizabeth Lavenza, and Victor grows particularly fond of her. Victor shows an inquisitive nature and is particularly fascinated by anything scientific. Victor’s mother falls ill and passes away. It is her dying wish that Victor and Elizabeth will one day marry.
Victor attends the University of Ingolstadt in Germany where he becomes fascinated by the creation of life. For two years he pursues his ambition to create a man and bring him to life. During this time he neglects his family and friends and makes himself ill. Victor hopes to create a perfect being but in reality, the huge creature he produces is made up from pieces of various corpses he has taken from graveyards and mortuaries. Eventually, Victor succeeds in bringing this creation to life but when he realizes how monstrous it actually is, he abandons it, thinking it will die a natural death from neglect.
Victor is by now very unwell but is nursed back to health by his closest friend, Henry Clerval. Together the two go traveling to Italy. Just as they are about to return to Victor's home, they receive the news that the youngest Frankenstein, Victor's infant brother William, has been tragically killed. The blame has fallen on Justine Moritz, a trusted servant of the Frankenstein family, but Victor sees his creature near the scene of the crime lit up by lightning flashes. He realizes the truth about William's death but also knows that nobody will believe his fantastic story. The innocent Justine is tried and executed, so she and William become the first to fall victim to Victor's ambition. S U M M A R Y
A guilty Victor goes alone into the Swiss mountains where, eventually, he meets up with the Monster. He is surprised to find that not only has the thing he made survived, but that it also has the power of language. The Monster tells a long story about how he has secretly lived in an outbuilding next to the De Lacey family following their lessons as they teach a foreign visitor their language and also learning about other subjects such as history, geography, religion and culture. He repays the family by secretly doing many of their household chores. Rashly, he reveals himself to the family but they are so horrified by his appearance that the Monster goes on the run again. He finds similar treatment from everyone he meets and becomes lonely and isolated. The Monster asks Victor to accept that he is responsible for his loneliness and misery and to make him a female companion to be his partner through life. Victor agrees in a desperate attempt to save the rest of his family from the Monster's revenge.
Without telling him why, Victor journeys to Britain with Henry as his companion. The two separate and Victor goes to the remote Orkney Islands to carry out his promise of creating a companion for the Monster. Although he begins the work, he suddenly realises the consequences of his actions and destroys his creation. The Monster, who has been following Victor all along, is furious. He promises that on the night Victor marries he will return. Out of fury and revenge, the Monster murders Henry.
A distraught Victor returns to Switzerland and Elizabeth. They are married and set out for their honeymoon. Remembering the Monster's threat, Victor assumes that this is the night that the Monster will kill him but instead the Monster murders Elizabeth. When Victor's father hears what has happened he dies broken-hearted. Victor has a mental breakdown. When he recovers he tells a magistrate what has happened but no action is taken.
Victor accepts that he must deal with the problem himself and sets out in pursuit of the Monster. He chases it right across Europe and eventually finds himself in the Arctic, where Walton discovered him on the ice. Walton once again continues the narration in the letters to his sister. He tells her how Victor eventually dies from a combination of exhaustion and exposure to the cold and how he finds the Monster in Victor's cabin full of sorrow for the death and destruction he has caused. Telling Walton of the misery it has suffered, the Monster leaps back onto the ice and disappears into the Arctic night, apparently intent on killing itself.
Source: https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/guides/z8w7mp3/revision/3 CAST OF CHARACTERS
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN: The oldest son in the Frankenstein family, the eventual husband of Elizabeth Lavenza, and the novel's protagonist and narrator of most of the story.
THE MONSTER: The creature that Victor Frankenstein creates (though the name "Frankenstein"
James Donovan as Victor Frankenstein in Aquila Theatre's Frankenstein (2018). has become associated with the Photo by Richard Termine. monster, the monster is, in fact, nameless).
ROBERT WALTON: An explorer who rescues Victor, listens to his story, and writes it down on paper in letters to his sister, Margaret Saville.
ELIZABETH LAVENZA: Victor's sister by adoption, and later his Rob Madeley as The Monster in Aquila Theatre's Frankenstein (2018). Photo by Richard Termine. wife.
DE LACY: A blind old man who lives in exile with his children Felix and Agatha.
HENRY CLERVAL: Victor's dear friend from childhood.
Eleanor McLoughlin (Justine Moritz), Lily Donovan (Elizabeth Lavenza) and James Donovan (Victor Frankenstein) in Aquila Theatre's Frankenstein (2018). Photo by Richard Termine. R INO S ALPHONSE FRANKENSTEIN: Victor's M CTER ARA father. A devoted husband and parent, CH and a well-respected public magistrate.
AGATHA: De Lacey's daughter. JUSTINE MORITZ: A young woman who the Frankensteins adopt at the SAFIE: The young Turkish "Arabian" age of 12. whose beauty captivates Felix.
WILLIAM FRANKENSTEIN: Victor's MARGARET SEVILLE: Robert youngest brother, beloved by Walton's sister and the recipient of his everyone. letters, which frame the novel.
ERNEST FRANKENSTEIN: Victor's M. WALDMAN: Victor's chemistry younger brother by six years. professor at Ingolstadt. He supports
Victor's pursuit of "natural CAROLINE BEAUFORT: Beaufort's philosophy," especially chemistry, and daughter, Victor's mother, and becomes a mentor to Victor. Alphonse Frankenstein's wife.
M. KREMPE: Victor's professor of BEAUFORT: Caroline's father and a natural philosophy at Ingolstadt. close friend to Alphonse Frankenstein.
MR. KIRWIN: An Irish magistrate. FELIX: The son of De Lacey and brother of Agatha.
THE FIRST SCENE
Eleanor McLoughlin (Mary Godwin), James Donvoan (Percy Shelley), Elliot Ross (Lord Byron), Jack Klaff (John Polidori) and Lily Donovan (Claire Clairemont) in Aquila Theatre's Frankenstein (2018). Photo by Richard Termine.
The first scene of Aquila Theatre's production of Frankenstein was written to show the day and the people that inspired Mary Shelley to write the story of Victor Frankenstein and his creature.
In 1815, Mary Shelley - then Mary Godwin - took a trip to Lake Geneva, Switzerland, with poets Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley (her future husband) and the physician John Polidori. Mary and the group read from a book of ghost stories, sparking Lord Byron to challenge them to write stories of their own. Mary based her story on a dream she'd had earlier that year, and decided to make it into a novel. She named it Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Lord Byron Percy Bysshe Shelley
World History Archive / Alamy Stock Photo Chronicle / Alamy Stock Photo V O C A B U L A R Y M A L I G N A N T Disposed to cause harm, suffering, or distress deliberately; N O T W I T H S T A N D I N G feeling or showing ill will or hatred. Nevertheless; in spite of this. “She might be ten thousand times "No one would believe it at first; and more malignant than you, and delight in murder and even now Elizabeth will not be wretchedness.” - Victor convinced, notwithstanding all the evidence." - Father
C O N G E N I A L Pleasant because of a personality, qualities, or interests that are similar to one's own. T R A N S C E N D E N T "Enjoy yourself Henry, I beg you; leave me to peace for just a short Beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical while; and when I am finished, I hope it will be with a lighter heart, more human experience. congenial to your own temper." - Victor "When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness." - Monster P E N D A N T A piece of jewelry that hangs from a chain worn around the neck. I N F A T U A T I O N “If you are implying that An intense but short-lived Justine stole the pendant out passion or admiration for A L C H E M I S T of any financial need, you are someone or something. very wrong! ”
"Victor, what infatuation is this? A person who transforms or creates - Elizabeth Son, I beg you never say such a something through a seemingly thing again. It is madness." magical process. - Father "So you are a modern day Alchemist?" - Walton
"Not exactly, but I have always been intrigued by the idea that anything has the potential to become a better version of its original self. " - Victor
M A C H I N A T I O N S S A Y A scheming or crafty action or artful design intended to accomplish some usually evil end.
"I am the assassin of those most innocent victims; they died by my machinations." - Victor WHAT?
Source: https://www.bard.org/study-guides/hamlet-vocabularyglossary-of-terms FRANKENSTEIN ON FILM
FRANKENSTEIN, 1931 - DIRECTOR: JAMES WHALE
The most widely recognized film version of the classic novel. This adaptation seeks to capture the essence of Shelley's novel, and does so powerfully with great cinematography and excellent special effects for its day. And, of course, Boris Karloff's performance as the monster is the gold standard in filmdom to this day. Also stars Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein and Mae Clarke as Elizabeth.
This movie also spawned several "B-movie" spinoffs such as The Bride of Frankenstein, 1935, and Son of Frankenstein, 1939. None of these films even remotely followed the original novel's storyline, and none ever achieved the kind of fame garnered by the original movie.
THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, 1935 - DIRECTOR: KENNETH BRANAGH
The Bride of Frankenstein is a 1935 American science- fiction horror film, the first sequel to Universal Pictures' 1931 hit Frankenstein. It is considered one of the few sequels to a great film that is even better than the original film on which it is based. As with the first film,
Bride of Frankenstein was directed by James Whale and Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein stars Boris Karloff as The Monster.
MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN, 1994 - DIRECTOR: KENNETH BRANAGH
The film was produced on a $45 million budget, and is considered to be one of the most accurate adaptations of Shelley's book. It stars Robert De Niro as the monster and Kenneth Branagh as Victor Frankenstein. Kenneth Branagh as Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein THINK ABOUT IT!
Fr c an ha ke sy ra ns m ct te bo er in li s, is c n pa fu a ra ll the m ll o es y es el f p ak ter ou . W e a at m ns i ve ra h mo n de hi n ll W e a a n ch ts el ur hum ti , a reat n a fy on n c tha ? es d her g? ca rat bein n
Place Frankenstein’s creature in modern times. Suppose he had a family that raises him, includes him, and even enrolls him in school. How might today’s society treat Victor’s creature differently? How would it mimic the time period of the novel?
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