09/19/22 Few works of literary canon have had such a lasting and widespread influence as the book of the young Mary Shelley. The unforgettable circumstances of its creation are consistent with the remarkable theme of the hour that has intensified over two hundred years rather than faded away.
Written by Erhard Petzel
Jerome Junod transformed Shelley’s novel into a wonderful theatrical evening. As he adapted to the stage, he succeeded in creating a dense and exciting story that freely reproduced the structures of the novel and placed them in the open in a focused manner. Some freedoms may live up to the zeitgeist. Of course you can portray Captain Walton as a female role that exudes testosterone, but it doesn’t have to be. The fact that Walton will present the story to a lesbian interlocutor in another narrative setting is a gift. Mary Shelley’s enduring literary achievement highlights such contemporary sensibilities.
The big effect of the performance is the suspense generated by the narrative levels and the immersion in the flashback being played and emphasized as a compositional principle. Using the simplest theatrical means, minimal specific spaces are created for the different locations (Isabel Graf Theatre). Antoaneta Stereva’s fashion allows for very rapid changes, since seven people have to take on multiple roles, even if the number of employees is reduced to a minimum. Petra Stadwan also appears as Captain Walton as Agatha and Justin without affecting the continuing imagination of the conversation between Frankenstein and the captain. Anthony Connor proves he can switch between an anxious father, an eccentric professor, and a sailor. He shares this acting diversity with Olaf Salzer, Paul Andre Worms and Magdalena Uttle, who plays the main role of Elizabeth.
Virtuoso, for example, describes how narrative levels mingle with letter reading and lead to a gripping climax in the shortest possible way. This makes Frankenstein’s creative frenzy oppressively apparent against the backdrop of his loved ones’ fears. Wolfgang Candler presents the doctor as an insecure nerd, which he shows in the novel. He always goes out of his way to get sideways looks at his conversation partner, so he’s never the same. It is immediately clear that danger can emanate from such a person, just as his moral position should not be simply adopted.
At the heart of the novel, the creature’s conversation with its creator in the mountains is the responsibility of one towards the other. The theatrical release models the monster’s character’s evolution into a feud of good and evil more on the reading’s literary entry, Milton’s Paradise Lost. The family, of which the social background is formed, is here a group of young revolutionaries around the blind, exiled father. It is remarkable how the gradual recognition of content and linguistic structures is revealed through the language of chatter.
The Monster: Carlo and De Niro created the current movie visuals for him in general. It works great differently here. Husam Nimr is believed to be able to defeat Candler in battle, but his stature is rarely played out. Speech and choreographed movements reveal a tiny tattered object that seems to barely lift off the ground. Often capped and covered in black, it rarely grows tall and only releases its cover permanently at the end, after the acts of revenge have been accomplished. After the previous intense game with exciting acting performances and an effectively used lighting director (Marcel Bossa), the rhetorical ending seems a bit unexpected. In contrast, Bernard Eder’s music is an emotionally supportive element from beginning to bitter end. If he starts the intro of a song, it seems that he himself has unfortunately exited from society like a foreign stranger. The basic meaning of human suffering: love, happiness and unity.
The performance illustrates why Mary Shelley’s novel has become a modern myth: the dangers of transhumanism and the limits of moral judgment. The glamorous audience showed a willingness to take part in these dilemmas that haunt humanity.