RSU Theatre to Present Mary Shelly’s ‘Frankenstein’

“Frankenstein,” Mary Shelley’s classic 1818 horror story about a Swiss scientist who creates a human being from the body parts of corpses, will be presented this month by the theatre program at Rogers State University.

Several performances of “Frankenstein” will be held throughout October, including a special late night presentation on Halloween.

“Frankenstein” will be presented at 7:07 p.m. October 10-11, 23-25 and 30 in the historic Will Rogers Auditorium on the RSU campus in Claremore. The special Halloween performance will begin at 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31.

The novel is being adapted for the stage by David Blakely, RSU theatre director, and has been part of the RSU English curriculum for several years.

“Audience members who haven’t read Mary Shelley’s novel or haven’t seen a stage or screen adaptation may be surprised by the characters of Dr. Frankenstein and the ‘monster’ he creates,” said Renee Cox, a member of the RSU English faculty who is serving as costume designer for the production. “They may expect to feel sympathy for Dr. Frankenstein while disliking the monster. But Mary Shelley’s novel is more complicated than that. We may be wondering who is a more abhorrent ‘person,’ Dr. Frankenstein or his creation.”

The period piece is set at the end of the 18th Century in the northern reaches of continental Europe. An “elaborate, multi-dimensional” set includes ice caves, the bow of a ship, Dr. Frankenstein’s lab and his home in Geneva, Switzerland, said Cox. Matt Morton, technical director for the Robson Performing Arts Center in Claremore, is serving as set designer.

“The environment is dark and cold and is presented in hues of silvery white and aquamarine, while the characters have been dressed in dark, sober colors,” Cox said.

Visual elements, however, don’t stop with sets and costumes, Turk said. “Lighting, sound and special effects play big roles in the production,” she said. “The play is also a great adventure, with a lot of physicality and struggles between characters. The audience can expect a lot of action, quick dialogue and plenty of surprises.”

The play contains some violence and elements of horror, but does not contain nudity or foul language, and is most appropriate for children over the age of 10, Cox said.

The audience can expect intrigue, horror and a Halloween experience, but they will encounter more than that, she said.

“Frankenstein is a morality story, raising questions that resonate in our contemporary culture,” Cox said. “For example, is man overstepping natural or moral boundaries in pursuit of technology? How does that resonate with complex issues such as stem cell research and cloning?”

Josh Buehler, an RSU senior from Oologah, will play Dr. Frankenstein, leading a cast of seven actors who will portray 17 characters. Blake Taylor Roode, a senior from Claremore, will portray Frankenstein’s creature. Cristen Burdell, a freshman from Owasso, will play Elizabeth Lavenza; Colter Sharon, a sophomore from Owasso, will play the roles of Captain Walton, Alphonse Frankenstein, and Mr. Kirwin; David Prock, a freshman from Collinsville, will portray Henry Clerval and the Lieutenant; Jeanette Paul, a freshman from Claremore, will play the roles of Wills, Professor Waldman, Felix, the Bailiff and Stoker; and Hause Brueckner, a freshman from Colcord, Okla., will assume the roles of Albert, Professor Krempe, DeLacey, and Nugent.

The play will be 90 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.

Tickets will be available at the door and are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Admission is free for all students, faculty and staff members, including students from area schools. For more information, contact the RSU theatre program at (918) 343-7521.