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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

August 4, 2008

Frankenstein: First Reading

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 2:25 pm

The cast for our new version of Frankenstein assembled last week to readthru the first draft of the script. (Actually it’s the 7th draft of the script but the first one to be read out loud. )  Hearing a script read aloud is so important for a playwright, for unlike a novel,  the words in a play are written especially for the ear and a line that may look great on the page may sound awful or awkward out loud.   As we read I made a number of notes on lines that need some tweaking.  The goal is to make the dialogue sound not like sentences but conversational and that’s a challenge.  The professional cast for this new version of Frankenstein is made up of our six new Resident Professional Actors (Michael Lasris: The Creature,  Andy McCain: Victor Frankenstein, Brian Zane: Henri, Sara Claire Smith: Elizabeth, Sonny Kong: Felix, and Viveka Chandrasekaran: Justine, joined by local favorite Ross Magoules as De Lacey.    It is a GREAT cast and they made the script (even the awkward parts) sound great!   Best of all they could provide insights into their characters, what lines felt natural,  which plot points seemed realistic and more.  Creating a new script is a partnership, plays are not “written” they are “wrought” (which is why it’s called playwrighting).  This means the final script will be forged by the actors working with me as the writer to bring this classic tale to life in an all new way.  So we read through the entire script, Bessie Edwards, our Stage Manager reading the stage directions trying as best she could to add in all the special effects, lightning and thunder and explosions.  After the reading the first reviews came in from the cast, staff and friends who’d gathered around.  They weren’t bad!  So what do I think?  Well, as usual at this point I know I still have a lot of work to do.  Some parts I think are already work well, especially the first thirty pages which I’ve worked the hardest on.  Others need some tweaking and I’ll be focusing on those parts as my rewrites begin.  The challenge for me, is to stay true to Mary Shelley’s original story but to be mindful that our visions of Frankenstein are shaped by the famous Boris Karloff films, not to mention, Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, which is a classic in its own right.  Our new script isn’t there yet but I think we’re off to a great start.  Next will be a full revision (version 8.0) which we will read once more before we go into rehearsals.  The evening concluded with themed refreshements, including a vegetable skeleton designed by Stefanie Christensen our resident scene designer. (See below)

Julian Wiles, playwright for this season’s new version of Frankenstein


The Veggie Skeleton Centerpiece!

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