Frankenstein brought to local stage by BCTC

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By Mallory Bilger

SHEPHERDSVILLE " Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is a chilling story that most people claim to be familiar with, but the Bullitt County Theatre Company would like everyone to revisit the chilling classic this October.

The company will perform a special adaptation of “Frankenstein” Oct. 1-4 and 8-11 that Producing Artistic Director and Playwright in Residence Bill Breuer described as “a retelling of Mary Shelley’s work with numerous important scientific and philosophical themes having relevance today.”

The adaptation was written by the theatre company’s own Breuer and Timothy Brown, with contributions from guest writer and director John Hetzel. The production includes a cast and crew of more than 25 individuals from Bullitt County and beyond.

The story is set in the early 19th century and tells the tale of Victor Frankenstein, an intelligent man with a desire to understand the fundamentals of how life is created and destroyed. His interest quickly becomes an obsession and leads him to creating The Creature, fashioned out of an array of human body parts. He is a freakish and alive individual that has emotions and desires human interaction but is largely an outcast because of his frightening appearance.

Breuer said the play stayed true to Shelley’s original work, but shed more light on what inspired Frankenstein’s obsession with creating life and the idea of “playing God.”

“The setting is in the early 1800’s " There was only rather sparse scientific equipment back then, not all the hi-volt generators one sees in the movies,” Breuer explained. “But the instrumentation and methodology we present is far more plausible.”

Breuer said the play would take viewers into Frankenstein’s mind and would give a different perspective of The Creature. The play would also make connections with modern-day stem-cell research controversies.

Bullitt County Arts Council President Randy Matlow said it was quite amazing how the play reflected many of today’s ethical controversies in medicine. “It’s interesting how well the themes from the play apply today,” Matlow said.

Breuer said the production would focus more on Frankenstein’s inspiration and The Creature’s fate than on the gore that many movies disproportionately display.

“For a young theatre company this is an extremely complicated show,” Breuer said.

Actress Jennifer Lauletta, who plays the part of Frankenstein’s mother, Caroline, said the production is unique and captivating.

“I think it’s because it delves so much more deeply into the different reasons and the influences in (Frankenstein’s) life that caused him to go on this quest to sustain life,” she said.

Breuer said the company plans to perform a production of “Frankenstein” yearly in October, each year building on the mystery and complexity of the tale.

He said the production of this particular adaptation is a world premier and would probably prove to be even more exciting in the coming years. “The Bullitt County Theatre Company plans to present this show annually and add more surprises each year,” Breuer said.

Actress Jenn Trow who plays the part of Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s fiancé, said it is a perfect play for adults to enjoy around Halloween. “We have a lot of very talented actors. It’s October and it’s a good time for Frankenstein,” she said.

Breuer said it was an exciting time for the Bullitt County Theatre Company. The company has two more world premiers scheduled for 2009, including the murder mystery “Who Did the Don In?” in November and an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in December.

“Frankenstein” will be showing at the Bullitt Central High School Auditorium Oct. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 4 and 11 at 1:30 p.m. and Oct. 8-10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students.

Because of the adult nature of the story, Breuer said children under 13 are not encouraged to attend.