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Frankenstein to Play in Newport as "Terrifying, Disturbing, Intimate Love Story"

A modern, intimate re-imagining of Frankenstein opens Falcon Theatre’s 2017-2018 season from Sept. 29-Oct. 14 in Newport.

Nick Dear’s disturbing and thrillingly entertaining adaptation follows Mary Shelley’s original story more closely than the generations of films that made Frankenstein’s Creature a culture icon.

The play, says Falcon founder Ted Weil, “examines issues of scientific responsibility and morality, parental neglect, and the nature of good and evil.” Falcon’s production comes with the advisory of mature sexual content and violence.

A London sensation a few years back, National Theatre Live filmed the jaw-dropping, steampunk-infused hit starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller and it sells out area screenings every time it plays locally.

At Falcon, Luka Ashley Carter is Dr. Frankenstein and Olaf Eide is the Creature. “Becoming ever more cognizant of his physical hideousness, the Creature becomes desperate to survive and increasingly vengeful toward his creator,” according to Weil.  

Carter muses, “Shelley’s original novel can really almost be best summarized by the phrase, Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.”  

Eide says firmly, “Shelley is a mastermind, a visionary, and her chronicling of Victor Frankenstein and his Creature has survived and thrived for some 200 years.”

The actors’ excitement on taking on the roles is clear:

“You know, every so often an actor is lucky/unlucky enough to have a role come into their life that they never expected,” says Carter. “By ‘lucky,’ I mean a truly incredible role that requires an actor to use everything that he has learned not only via his years of training, but also in the course of his day to day life, to bring forth a fully realized and highly relatable character.

“And by ‘unlucky,’ I mean a role in which an actor finds so much of himself in, and in the most unexpected of ways, and is forced to take a long, cold and hard look at his own life.

“Victor Frankenstein is both of those, for me.”

“What makes this adaption so incredible,” Carter adds, “is the fact that Nick Dear has taken the multiple main themes from Shelley’s original novel, and has laid them out to apply to every relationship within this story; father and son, husband and wife, creator and creation, sibling and sibling, teacher and student.”

Eide is thrilled that this version “is a departure from popular interpretation” and a return to the original story where “The Creature, a mass of fully developed collected body parts and organs, exists as a character with a voice and a soul, rather than as a device of horror.”

Which, he believes, makes “the horror resonate even more than in your familiar Frankenstein tellings. This is a terrifying and disturbing, intimate love story.”

Frankenstein, Sept. 29-Oct. 14. Falcon Theatre, 636 Monmouth St., Newport. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Tickets $22, students $15. Thursday performances discounted $5. 513-479-6783 and www.falcontheater.net

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts

Photo: Luka Ashley Carter as Dr. Frankenstein (left) and Olaf Eide as the Creature (Kristy Rucker/provided)