Frankenstein: An Interview with the Creators


Lees Hummel and Stephen K Stone are Co-Creators of Frankenstein. Along with composer, Michael Kallstrom, they have conceived an evening length work that takes the concepts from Mary Shelley’s novel and adapts them to the possibilities of science in the future.

Frankenstein will be performed at Roxey Ballet's Canal Studio Theatre from October 22-October 30.

What is it like to adapt a ballet performance from a novel? This production for Roxey Ballet will be the next generation of the concept developed by the directors. For the ballet’s 2002 premiere, Hummel and Stone aligned their futuristic interpretation with the storyline presented in Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein; The Modern Prometheus, by driving the staging with textual passages narrated by Captain Robert Walton. The new production will stem from the current horizon of science and technology, with Hummel and Stone moving beyond their original concept of a creature created through human bionic cloning to bionically enhanced robotic prosthetics. With this departure from Shelly’s notion of building and animating a human from skeletal remains, this staging will venture toward enhancing intellectual procreation by marrying hardware and software with the living human form. What is your take on this performance of Frankenstein? Why futuristic? When discussing the idea with composer Michael Kallstrom, the concept lent itself to a futuristic score because he specializes in electronic music. It was a nice challenge to translate the novel’s Victorian setting into a time and place yet unknown. What are you most excited about for the Roxey Ballet performance of Frankenstein? The skill level and diversity of the company. The challenge of adapting the piece for an intimate performance space. Using media and technology as primary components of the storytelling. What will be unique about this performance in particular, compared to other performances you've worked on? Choreography that showcases the technical and artistic virtuosity of the company. A new creation scene using a rolling steel slap from which the creature will rise. Incorporation of new scientific concepts inherent to the advancing technology of interactive prosthetics. A host of costumes that propel the eclectic gathering of personalities and cultures of the different characters. How is this a piece audiences of all ages will enjoy? It fuses the a classic narrative of Victor Frankenstein’s noble efforts with the timeless intrigue of the unknown. Imagine a world that defies exact location and time in which one scientist confronts the risks of enhanced robotic prosthetics. This futuristic adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel asks if our fear defines our monster. Doctor Frankenstein's efforts to enhance intellectual procreation might help us consider this. Typically the word Frankenstein provokes a notion of a lumbering green guy with bolts in the sides of his neck as depicted in Boris Karloff's 1931 rendition for the silver screen. In actuality that is simply an interpretation of the beautifully poetic descriptions offered by Mary Shelley in her 1818 novel titled "Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus." In the text, Shelley actually never delivers a concrete picture of the creature's appearance although she intricately weaves words to provoke the reader to conjure a detailed notion of the creature's hideousness within his or her own mind's eye. It can be misconstrued that the creature is the one who is named "Frankenstein," yet he is never given a name within the novel. His creator is named "Victor Frankenstein," thus the title for the story. Frankenstein is basically a story of the ugly duckling, yet extreme because it questions the human instinct of facing that which is similar yet still vastly unfamiliar.

Tickets to Frankenstein are Available on Roxeyballet.tix.com.

For performance information, visit http://www.roxeyballet.org/#!frankenstein/bp621.

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