BY SARAH OLSEN '18
The Mount Holyoke College department of theatre arts has craeated a spectacular monster with its production of FRANKENSTEIN. Directed by Noah Tuleja, the play is Jonathan Yukich’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s famous novel. The production reanimates the torturous relationship between Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his creation, the Creature, with standout performances by Julia Cole ’19 and Tamia Williams ’19.
As Frankenstein, Cole brings to life the character’s obsession with the reanimation of life as well as the horror of his creation. With dramatic delivery and body language, Cole restlessly roams around the stage, energetically acting out the internal struggle Frankenstein faces. A memorable moment is when Cole, seconds away from bringing the Creature to life, lets out a triumphant laugh with arms poised overhead in anticipation.
Cole’s performance is matched by Williams in the role of the Creature. Williams’ portrayal conveys the Creature’s loneliness and desire for companionship, as well as his hatred for Frankenstein. Williams is able to incite sympathy for the Creature, even as he begins his murderous revenge.
The strongest aspect of the show is the chemistry between Frankenstein and the Creature. Cole and Williams play off each other throughout their scenes, breathing life into the tragic storyline with rapid dialogue and physical scuffles. Through their characters’ interactions, Cole and Williams raise the question of who is the true villain of the show: Frankenstein or the Creature?
While the show has more monologue than action, the actors’ delivery keeps the story engaging. The cast is small, but mighty. Aside from Cole and Williams, Clara Honigberg ’21, Sophia Kitch-Peck ’20, Rebekah McBane ’21 and Clemence Lecart ’18 give solid performances. Lecart, who plays Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s love interest, portrays Elizabeth’s adoration of Frankenstein with ease. Although the romance between Elizabeth and Frankenstein felt forced at times, one wishes Lecart could have been included in more scenes.
The stage, set with a large screen decorated with lights and levers, which are pulled for the iconic animation scene of the Creature, is simplistic. Changes in scenery are depicted through a combination of lights, images and minimal props with the actors moving freely around the stage. The set, while not extravagant, captures the feeling of FRANKENSTEIN and enhances the production without drawing attention away from the actors or the storyline.
Tuleja’s vision of Frankenstein is not unlike other adaptations — the characters dramatically torment one another, whether in a sunny field or dingy laboratory, and the show is full of gore, loud noises and violence. According to the Mount Holyoke College department of theatre arts, the show is suitable for children 10 and up.
With screams, spurts of blood and other ghoulish theatrics, FRANKENSTEIN will be sure to set the mood for Halloween. The show runs at the Rooke Theater from Thursday, Oct. 19 to Sunday, Oct. 22.