Frankenstein, 1945 by Mily Mumford
Reflections by GVPTA blogger Kaylin Metchie
This theatre noir piece immediately plunges the audience into a post-war, monster mystery feeling. The flickering lights that surround the cast bios outside foretell a play that is full of shadows, 1940s suits and dresses, and pops of seductive red. Frankenstein, 1945 is visually stunning. A set composed of slate blinds and hanging lightbulbs immediately made me think of a black and white detective mystery, which Frankenstein, 1945 pretty much is. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, or more accurately, an 1800s horror novel wrapped in real historical tragedies, inside a film noir.
Mily Mumford, writer and director, creates a production that draws you in while at the same time making you feel mildly uncomfortable. And one that I am happy to say is closer to the original novel than the 1930s horror movies that bare the same name. Dr Frankenstein (played by Gregory Radzimowski), is a socially awkward yet brilliant scientist, whose moral code is not easily defined.
This is one part of the play that really spoke to me. Having read the book by Mary Shelley, you see that Dr Frankenstein starts off his quest to find a cure for death with a good heart, but gets swept up along the way in his own single-minded goal. In Frankenstein, 1945, he happens to be a scientist during Nazi Germany, a time where, under the guise of scientific advancement, innocent people were used like lab rats. Frankenstein does leave the tutorage of the cold-hearted Nazi doctor Herta Oberhauser (played by Jessica Quartel), but not before picking up some ideals and skills.
Mumford is also able to modernize the Frankenstein story, which may sound weird from a play that is so stylishly placed in the 1940s. Elizabeth (played by Madelyn Osborne), Frankenstein’s love interest, isn’t simply a woman waiting around inside a man’s story; she’s an engineer that lends an active hand in the creation of the Creature.
Creating a highly stylized production is not an easy feat. It requires that all elements, even the seemingly mundane elements like the audience waiting area, work in concert with each other – each aspect building upon the others to culminate into a piece of art that speaks in one cohesive language.
This is what Frankenstein, 1945 did.
This is a perfect play for this spooky season, one that is worth braving the rain and wind to go see.
Frankenstein, 1945 is part of Theatre Wire’s season, and runs until October 30 at Studio 1398 (1398 Cartwright St., Granville Island).
Tickets and information are through theatrewire.com