The story of Frankenstein (or more accurately Frankenstein’s monster, as literature majors like to point out) is a timeless classic — family adopts girl, boy falls in love with his new sister, boy builds giant mutant abomination from the spare body parts of corpses, boy marries girl, things end messily.
After nearly 200 years, you might suspect that the story has grown stale. But Grantly Marshall, producer of TNT Theatre Britain’s Frankenstein, is confident that the green-faced creature’s search for love still has much to offer modern audiences in Vietnam.
“[Frankenstein] has never lost its appeal,” he explains, “dealing with the universal subject of solving the mystery of life itself… it is a very dramatic production, a very thought provoking comedy horror story.”
The production, which will be performed in the Opera Houses of both Ho Chi Minh City (Mar. 20 and Mar. 21) and Hanoi (Mar. 18), features a small cast each playing a number of roles. As Marshall says, “It’s much easier to travel with small casts, there is more energy in the production because each member of the cast is completely involved, and because of the quick costume changes, it’s fun for the audiences to try to determine who plays which roles.”
TNT Theatre Britain will perform once in Hanoi, and three times in Saigon. As a veteran of Vietnam’s theatre scene, Marshall knows what to expect. Speaking about their previous performances, he says, “In a certain way they have all been successful. We’ve had great audience response.” Some viewers are affected especially strongly. “The most touching [moment] was when a Vietnamese school girl came up to after our performance of A Christmas Carol and said it was her first theatre experience ever, and that she’d never forget it.’
Marshall believes that Vietnamese theatregoers will have a similarly favourable reaction to his latest production. Even those with frail nerves will find something to enjoy — Marshall predicts that viewers will be gripping their armrests, “not in the sense of being frightened, but because of its dramatic effect.”
The company has also taken steps to address the language issues inherent in such a production. “The play is extremely well spoken,” says Marshall, “We will have a two-page synopsis in Vietnamese to pass out to the audience as well.”
If you prefer your horror stories to lean towards metaphysical ponderings as opposed to geysers of blood and gore, the latest reincarnation of Frankenstein might be just what the (mad) doctor ordered.