Actor James Pizzinato as Victor Frankenstein and Brendan Taylor as the creature in Frankenstein, directed by Anthony Shim, which will run from October through Nov. 3 at Waterfront Theatre at Granville Island.
Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, PNG
That’s the thing about Halloween, the classic scares never go out of style.
Kicking off a short run this week is the latest stage production of Frankenstein, from Vancouver’s Ninja Pirate Theatre Society.
The elaborate 1970s stage version by playwright Victor Gialanella gets a dressed-down, minimalist staging from director Anthony Shim.
“We’re using a lot of fabrics and shadow work, minimal sets relying heavily on lighting,” Shim said. “Ours is a very dark, very human look at the story.”
No big laboratory slab with the pulleys and the lightning bolts?
“Everyone has seen that kind of Frankenstein before,” Shim said. “I wanted to do it in a brand-new way.”
The Mary Shelley novel of science gone too far gets spun around, with the arrogant scientist and his circle as the freaks, and the scarred creature played by Brendan Taylor as a childlike soul.
“I’m actually going in the reverse direction,” Shim said as we recalled past Frankensteins, notably the 1930s James Whale-Boris Karloff movies and their monstrous creature.
“Every other character is in heavy makeup, influenced by classic Victorian style — white skin, rosy cheeks and red lips,” Shim said.
“There was something kind of freakish, a warped view of what beauty was. Even today there’s odd, strange ideas of what beauty and perfection is.
“I took what society views as normal and flipped it upside down. Put the light and the magnifying glass at the other end.”
As to Frankenstein’s enduring appeal, the story is a Rorschach test — everyone has their own experiences.
Shim said he got to know the story through high school English class and Saturday morning cartoon remakes.
“The initial draw to me was the relationship between the creator and the creature,” he said.
Shim’s favourite riff on the story? Mel Brooks’ movie takeoff Young Frankenstein.
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