The Flying Machine’s
Adapted from the novel by MARY SHELLEY by Joshua Carlebach
Additional text by Jason Lindner
Soho Rep., 46 Walker St., NYC, December 9, 2004 – January 16, 2005
Directed by JOSHUA CARLEBACH
Scenic Designer MARISA FRANTZ
Composer JACOB LAWSON
Sound Designer JEFF LORENZ
Costume Designer THERESA SQUIRE
Lighting Designer JAMES JAPHY WEIDERMAN
Stage Management KATY PHEBUS
Publicity SAM RUDY MEDIA RELATIONS
Damian Baldet – Mr. Kiever, Peter Podkin, Student, Dmitri
Richard Crawford – Gershon
Adrienne Kapstein – Sonia, Nina
Joshua Koehn – Clerval, Seedy Fellow
Jason Lindner – Prof. Waldman, Mr. Givens, Drunk
Carine Montbertrand – Mother, Mrs. Kiever, Mrs. Gershon, Mrs. Waldman
Robert Ross Parker – Victor Frankenstein
Tami Stronach – Young Victor, Olga, Baby Waldman, Mina, Whore
This is no horror show. It is FRANKENSTEIN, for sure, but one that is neither steeped in gore nor married to Shelley’s novel. The program informs us that an additional source for this stage production is Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. What does that suggest, you may query? Here, the result is a charming little cautionary tale about the dangers of tinkering with the natural order of things.
The Flying Machine’s inventive adaptation of FRANKENSTEIN sets the action on a dimly lit stage, with few props, sets that mimic the puzzle box our title character toyed with as a child, and the overall feeling that the audience has left the building and entered an obscure elfin village. With the actors clad in dark clothes, wearing prosthetic ears and teeth, and further transformed by the strategic application of facial make-up, the production very much has the feel of an illustrated story book come to life, or perhaps more appropriately, rebirth.
Unlike the many film versions, this FRANKENSTEIN sticks closer to real life, in a way. Here, Frankenstein is a bookish, nervous fellow interested in science. He has begun experiments on a toad that he keeps in a box inside his pocket. He is attempting to bypass evolution by changing the creature’s anatomy, rather than let natural selection take its course. After an encounter in a pub, the toad is snatched by a drunk called Gershon. In an effort to retrieve his experiment, Frankenstein inadvertently causes the thief to have a fatal accident. In his panic, Frankenstein resolves to "fix" his mistake by bringing Gershon back to life.
Of course, the FRANKENSTEIN fix is a failure, but the resolution as presented by The Flying Machine is rather more philosophical than the standard fare. In the end, it seems, nature has a way of correcting itself, and we are left with a tale well told.
- Kessa De Santis -