Mary Shelley’s famous tale of Dr Frankenstein’s act of creation, and the created monster who turns on him is being told here in black and white. A large grid of hard white light squares pivot to overhang or backdrop the black box stage,where three identically-clad bald actors perform. Katrin Sadlowski, Jette Steckel and Anika Steinhoff’s beautiful and compelling script begins with the character of Shelley herself, nursing her ailing infant while she weaves her story. This casts the play’s central message about the terrible responsibility of creation in new light.
Initially the staging seems conventional: Alexander Khuon as Frankenstein, Felix Goeser playing the ill-fated creature with impressive physicality. As an audience member, you begin to hate the doctor for throwing his naive creation out into the uncaring world. A brutal scene featuring the exhaust fumes from a revving motorbike’s made the enclosed theater even stuffier, especially when wearing a mask. At some point in the play, the actors start to switch roles and we’re invited to reflect further upon the monstrous parts of ourselves, creators and created alike. It almost makes you want to crawl back into the womb. There are moments of grace, music and poetry before it all ends badly.
Leaving the theater, I was left with the feeling that, at the very least, we might want to do a bit better as humans.
Nov 16, Dec 10, 16, with English surtitles