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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A fresh take on ‘Frankenstein’

Frankenstien
Courtesy of baylinartists.com
Frankenstien

Known for making readers question the limits of science and humanity, a modern twist was put on the 200-year-old science fiction novel “Frankenstein” at Rudder Theater on Tuesday.
Aquila Theatre performed an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” as part of the MSC OPAS’s Intimate Gatherings Series. Aquila Theatre is based in New York and aims to bring classical works such as “Hamlet”, “Wuthering Heights” and “Fahrenheit 451” to the public. The non-for-profit theater company tours two shows throughout 50 to 60 American cities per year.
Aquila’s executive artistic director Desiree Sanchez adapted and directed the production and said Aquila’s production is different from other plays and movies based on the book through the use of blocking and design and by using movement to illustrate scenes instead of words. Additionally, only the first scene was set in the 19th century, while the rest takes place in the present.
“[Frankenstein] is definitely a psychological thriller,” Sanchez said. “A lot of issues in it are certain themes that we still grapple with today. I think that we should honor the author, Mary Shelley. She was only 19 years old when she wrote this book.”
According to Sanchez, it was important for her to understand Mary Shelley and the circumstances under which the book was written in order to direct the play. Sanchez also incorporated her 20 years of experience in dance with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet into her directing style.
“Visuals are a very important part of a dancer’s focus,” Sanchez said. “That’s something that has bled into my work and something I couldn’t separate if I tried. My blocking will often be very reflective of the mood I’m trying to portray at any given moment.”
According to Sanchez, the unique use of movement is apparent during the scene after Frankenstein’s monster was released when gestures and sounds replaced words for several minutes of the production.
Sanchez said one of her favorite parts of the book was the backstory of the family that Frankenstein’s monster first studies after escaping, so she wrote a scene for it.
“[The backstory] made me just rethink the whole production and my angle on it,” Sanchez said. “But in rehearsal, it made no sense, because when you work on stage, things get condensed. In the end, I had cut the entire scene I had written and made it a movement sequence.”
Nutrition sophomore Logan Legard said his favorite parts of the performance were the technical aspects.
“I’ve never read the book, so I learned about it today,” Legard said. “I thought Frankenstein was the name of the monster, but that is not correct.”
Biomedical sciences freshman Rahul Chauhan said the show was interesting and encouraged people to show more compassion towards one another.
“It was really chilling and it never lost my attention throughout the whole show,” Chauhan said. “I think a lot of the big aspects of the play was the idea of loneliness, and that’s a very prominent emotion that a lot of people can feel, especially with mental illness becoming a lot more prominent and seen thing in society.”

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