“Frankenstein,” is based on the novel by Mary Shelley. This drama tells the story of Victor Frankenstein’s creation gone wrong when he brings to life a monstrous creature he cannot control.
Winslow Township High School’s fall play usually takes place mid November, but Drama Director Savanna Buckholz moved this year’s dates closer to Halloween because of the specific show she had in mind — “Frankenstein.”
“Frankenstein” is based on the novel by Mary Shelley. The play is adapted by Ric Averill. Victor Frankenstein dabbles in the mystical science of regeneration, but his experiment backfires when he brings to life a monstrous creation he cannot control.
“I immediately envisioned the laboratory and all of the special effects we could use, and I was determined,” she said.
Buckholz met with assistant director Shelby McGunnigle, construction manager David Sands and technical director Gary Schellhas over the summer to discuss their ideas for the set and decided the most important and intricate settings are the laboratory and the graveyard.
The student-run stage crew created the 12-foot high, 48-feet wide wall for the laboratory that takes up the entire backend of the stage, and the graveyard takes up the entire orchestra pit.
“The first time I saw it, I was really amazed because we have this multi-layered stage now where you can go into the grave and you have a beautiful stone wall,” said junior Kirk Slinghuff, who plays Victor Frankenstein. “Every piece has its own special quality.”
“We definitely wanted to keep that castle feel while incorporating as many moving machinery parts as we could,” Buckholz explained. “The graveyard was a challenge because I was very adamant about the actors being able to jump down into the grave to retrieve the body of the creature. We couldn’t just cut a hole into the stage so the building of the graveyard into the orchestra pit was the solution. By building this graveyard as a thrust stage, it really brings the audience into the action.”
Slinghuff is excited about the audience being so close because it’s a different experience for them and the actors.
“I really like when a show gets close to the audience,” he said. “It’s almost like you can interact with them because you are almost face to face with them. It brings a different perspective to the show.”
The Drama Club performed four comedic shows over the last two years; last year it performed “Rumors,” a comedy by Neil Simon. Going from a lighthearted production to a completely different direction this year presents challenges, but Buckholz said they were ready for a change.
“One challenge I anticipate for the actors is the communication with the audience,” she explained. “With the previous comedies we have done, the student actors were accustomed to getting that instant gratification and sense of accomplishment through the audience’s laughter. Now with ‘Frankenstein,’ they really have to play to the emotional side of our audience.”
Slinghuff, who is used to performing in comedic shows, is taking on the challenges that come with performing a drama.
“This is the first real drama I’ve done, and it’s really different,” he said. “Going from a comedy where you can’t really see the reaction of the audience until you have one, to a drama you can just feel it. You feel the tenseness of the show as a whole.”
Sophomore Garret Bright, who plays the Creature, is especially excited about the three-inch leather boots he gets to wear for his role.
“They are like gothic, black leather with straps and buckles and are quite interesting,” he said laughing. “The first time I saw them I said, this is perfect for the role. It’s an amazing experience, so is drama club as a whole. We’re just a such a family. We’re all nice to each other, and it’s a great experience.”
Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for senior citizens and students. Nov. 3 is Student Night and tickets for students are $4. They can be purchased at the box office prior to the show. For more information, call (856) 767–1850.