The Shawnee Theatre usually offers a thriller among the six plays of their summer season. In past years, there has been a performance of Dracula and even one of Wolfman of Greene County. Sometimes patrons boo the villains and toss tomatoes. According to the Shawnee’s producing director Kevin Guthridge, this summer’s offering is a bit more serious.
“We’re doing Frankenstein, in R. N. Sandberg’s adaptation of the Mary Shelley classic. It still has some of the spirit of the great 1931 film with Boris Karloff, but it’s as if Sandberg reached for the subtext and then put it on stage. A key feature is the monster’s development. As in the original, he’s highly intelligent and articulate. We’re not going to have a big green creature with bolts sticking out of his neck.”
“The story itself with Dr. Frankenstein’s obsessive madness, the tender love of his half sister, and the monster’s twisted regard for him as his father, is just full of drama. Sandberg divides the story into thirty-three scenes over the two acts. The scenes almost alternate between realistic ones and others that are kind of dream sequences.”
Frankenstein takes a lot of resources to bring to the stage. “Our production is going to be light, and sound heavy,” says Guthridge. “The lighting will do a lot to separate the real from the dreamlike. I’ll be doing the sound design and probably composing four or five pieces to help with the changes.”