Thursday, September 21, 2006


Tonight my cousin Katy and I had the pleasure of watching Frankenstein on stage at the Kennedy Center. This interpretation wavered little from the original and the set itself was very minimal. A large chain-like mesh hanging from a drop and a small raised platform, both of which were far upstage, were the only permanent fixtures on the simple black setting. With the exception of the occasional prop that was rolled out, this left nearly the entire area open for the actors to perform. Dry ice was also put to heavy use.

The story starts out in the far north aboard Captain Walton's ship, beleagured by ice floes. Sighting a distant figure, he sends out a party to investigate and they return with Victor Frankenstein. The rescued man proceeds to tell the story of his fascination with medieval alchemy and how it led to the realization that he could apply his knowledge to create life from death. The resultant monster kills his mentor, Professor Waldman, and goes on a rampage through the town before finally making his way to Victor's home in Geneva, Switzerland. He then kills Victor's closest friends and family after having been refused by Victor the creation of a synthetic companion.

At this point, Victor gives chase eventually ending up on the same ice floes as the captain's ship. Shortly after retelling his tale, Victor dies of exhaustion and the creature, having lost his only connection to the world, recovers the body. The captain takes this as an omen and sets sail for home. The last thing the sailors see as they depart the forbidding waters is the creature mourning over the loss of his creator.

The acting was absolutely top-notch. Dan Istrate seemed born for the part of Victor Frankenstein. The energy he brought to the stage plus his haunting features created a performance matched only by his co-star, Irakli Kavsadze, who played the creature. Irakli's hulking appearance and heavy makeup didn't dull his obvious talent and stage presence. The only issue I might mention are the slow-motion bits, especially during the fight scenes, which seemed somewhat contrived. Otherwise, this was an awesome performance that I would highly recommend.

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