Red Light District

presents

THE FRANKENSTEIN SUMMER

By CATHERINE BUSH

 

The Phil Bosakowski Theatre, 354 W. 45 St., NYC, February 9 – 26, 2005

 

Directed by MARC GELLER

Lighting Design STEPHEN ARNOLD

Costume Design DENNIS BALLARD

Set Design AARON MASTIN

Sound Design SHAWN LESMASTER

Stage Manager NORVA BENNETT

Press Representative KPM ASSOCIATES

Cast

Polidori – Brendan McMahon

Byron – Marc Geller

Fletcher – Bill Roulet

Claire – Tracey Gilbert

Shelley – Brad Malow

Mary – Abby Royle

There has been such an ongoing fascination with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein over the years that I suppose it is only natural that creating art dedicated to dissecting the generation of the original novel has become an avenue for expression unto itself. It would seem that every aspect of the legendary tale, and the genesis of it, has become fodder for novels, films and plays. Such is the case with Catherine Bush’s THE FRANKENSTEIN SUMMER, a play that dramatizes an historical footnote with a healthy dose of humor.

In this work we meet young Mary in 1816 as she spends a rainy night in the company of Lord Byron on Lake Geneva. At nineteen, and already the mistress to the then married Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary keeps fast company. Yet, in THE FRANKENSTEIN SUMMER, she is ultimately both the most intriguing character as well as one of the few who has not succumbed to the debauchery around her in spite of her status as Shelley’s paramour.

In addition to Byron and Shelley, the villa is host to Dr. Polidori and Claire Clairmont that evening. Byron is fascinated with Mary, and Polidori is secretly in love with her. Claire attempts to rekindle romance with Byron, but will make due with Shelley, and the lot of them decide to make a contest of writing ghost stories, with butler Fletcher acting as judge. Mary loses the contest but finds inspiration for what will become Frankenstein. That, in a nutshell, is THE FRANKENSTEIN SUMMER.

Not the most original of subject matter to be sure, but the production has enough value to make it worth consideration. Marc Geller, who portrays Byron in addition to directing, keeps the action fluid. The set is a just right, as are the costumes. The acting is largely caricatural, but this seems to be part of the point of THE FRANKENSTEIN SUMMER, to portray these real people as if they were mere characters in a story they were not even aware was being written.

Do not look to THE FRANKENSTEIN SUMMER for gore or horror, or even for a story that unfolds across the span of a season. Do expect lust, jealousy, banter and literary inspiration all packed into one dark and stormy night.

- Kessa De Santis -

Archives    Listings