Manual Cinema presents Frankenstein at the Port Theatre on March 8. (Photo courtesy Michael Brosilow)

‘Frankenstein’ to be adapted as silent film made in real time in Nanaimo

Production merges stories of author Mary Shelley and character Victor Frankenstein

A Chicago-based production company has grafted together the stories of author Mary Shelley and her character Victor Frankenstein and is bringing that creation to life at the Port Theatre.

On March 8 Manual Cinema, as its name implies, will present a live, on-screen adaptation of Frankenstein in the style of a black and white silent film, while on the stage below, musicians, shadow puppeteers and actors will be visible working in real time.

“You can just watch the big screen above like it’s a movie or you can look down at the performers performing or the band playing,” said co-artistic director Sarah Fornace, who also plays both Shelley and Frankenstein. “Because we spend so much time in front of screens, we want to really foreground the humanness and the creativeness of the images.”

The Nanaimo show is the second stop on the production’s first Canadian tour, which, like the book itself, starts and ends in the far north with performances in Yellowknife and Whitehorse.

Fornace said the Manual Cinema team was drawn to the story of Frankenstein because of the way it was written as a series of accounts from different perspectives and because of its long cinematic history.

“I think during every era of cinema, Frankenstein has been adapted,” she said. “From Thomas Edison’s silent film studios to TV shows on Netflix now, the parodies, the black and white versions, the versions in the ’70s. So many different takes on it so we’re excited to take on the filmic history as well as the novel.”

Fornace said the more they read the book and looked into Shelley’s life the more they were struck by themes of motherhood, birth, postpartum depression and questions about bringing children into the world. She said they were particularly inspired by the forward Shelley wrote in the second edition of the book.

“She was either pregnant or postpartum pretty much the entire time she was writing it and she talks about a story about her first baby … [who] died like two weeks later and the dream she had of reanimating this dead child of hers,” Fornace said. “So we take that as a jumping off point and really look at Mary’s process of loss and of grieving and also of creation through her story and through her writing of the novel.”

Fornace said it’s exciting to portray both Shelley and Frankenstein.

“There’s a lot of brilliance in Victor Frankenstein and there’s a lot of impetuous brilliance in Mary Shelley, too, even though they’re wildly different characters,” she said. “It’s also just a lot of fun to get to play a mad scientist.”

WHAT’S ON … Manual Cinema presents Frankenstein at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Sunday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $53 for adults, $48 for members and $12.50 for students. Available at the box office.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Comments are closed

Just Posted

Dog rescued from bottom of well by Vancouver Island firefighters

Mini the chihuahua mix fell more than 20 feet

UPDATE: Missing Langford teens found safe

Langford pair were headed to Lake Cowichan/Youbou area, last heard from in North Cowichan

Investigation launched after sudden death of Saanich inmate

B.C. Corrections, B.C. Coroners Service investigating cause, circumstances surrounding death

Victoria man dies after skydiving incident in Nanoose Bay

34-year-old had made more than 1,000 jumps

Police use tear gas to apprehend Saanich woman threatening neighbours, police

Woman facing possible criminal charges after standoff with police

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Most Read