Written by Danielle Leon and Lily Boza
All photos included are courtesy of the Adrienne Arsht Center's website.
Over 200 years later, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein poses and allows readers to ponder the questions that still remain very much relevant; questions about ambition, family, love, and belonging. The same questions, still conveyed in Nick Dear’s adaptation of Frankenstein at the Arsht Center directed by Stuart. Meltzer.
The Creature played by Gabriell Salgado is thrusted into a world that he doesn’t belong to when his creator, Victor Frankenstien, played by Daniel Capote, abandons him. The Creature sees himself constantly fleeing as men, women, children, and dogs are revolted and petrified by his monstrous appearance. Upon meeting a blind man, The Creature experiences his first example of kindness, for he teaches The Creature how to read, write, and live. Unfortunately, once meeting the man’s family, The Creature is met with a whip and violence, and is once again thrusted into the wild by himself.
As an audience member, the emotions that come with rejection and loneliness in Gabriell’s performance permeated through the theater. You feel sympathy with The Creature, despite his poor and unredeemable actions; yet, at the same, understand this is a result of what man has taught him for he has seldom had any positive encounters. Man showing itself to be selfish, crude, and violent. Salgado’s performance starting as a curious, yet frightened being to a resentful one truly captures the essence of why Frakenstein is still such a loved piece of literature to this day.
On the other hand, Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who spends his days away studying is an instance of unchecked pride and ambition for he puts more importance in his scientific work than his family and fiancee. So much so that his father asks, “Where is the boy I remember (sunny, carefree, alert, and inquisitive)?”
Daniel Capote’s performance is defined by the range and complexity of Victor’s character. A man who may initially seem selfish, rude, and hard-headed can be seen as a reflection of the hypocrisy and often intricate nature of human thought and value. A reflection of people's desire to play with God and not wanting to acknowledge our own sin.
Beyond the extraordinary and captivating performances, the play’s lighting and music transports the audience to the time, place, and emotion that the scene holds. For instance, in the beginning, the dramatic music and intense lighting as The Creature leaves his vessel magnifies what is being unleashed into the world, it magnifies the peculiarity and seriousness of what is happening.
Overall, the play is best described as a nostalgic, complex, yet witty theatrical piece. Nick Dear’s adaptation and Stuart Meltzer’s vision of Frankenstein at the Arsht Center intensifies the viewers' need for more. From the actors’ portrayals of beloved characters, the classic story line, and audience interaction truly made the piece a well-rounded experience. All of these combined factors allowed the audience to connect with such an amazing storyline and opens room for a whirlwind of interpretations. Frankenstein at the Arsht Center should definitely be on your watch list this fall.