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REVIEW: ‘Frankenstein’ is a reanimation of literature on stage

Everyone is familiar with the iconic green creature stitched together from deceased body parts. Mary Shelley’s original tale, “Frankenstein,” transcends horror, and reveals the prideful nature of humankind.

Boston University Stage Troupe electrified BU’s Student Theater with their performance of Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” this weekend, encompassing the original story.

Victor Frankenstein, played by Sam Wilkins, hovers over the body of The Creature, played by Artem Vazetdinov, in Boston University Stage Troupe’s production of “Frankenstein.” ERIN MOSIER/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who cheats death by creating The Creature, who then lurks behind Frankenstein to understand why his creator made him. The performance of the scientist by Sam Wilkins, a sophomore in the College of Communication, was an embedded narrative split between Mary Shelley telling the story to her close friends and the story simultaneously unfolding on stage — much like how the novel was written in real life.

This cast delivered a bone-chilling performance, nailing every scream and line, leaving the audience frightened and gasping. At one point, The Creature, played by Artem Vazetdinov, a freshman in COM, had the audience jumping out of their seats as Vazetdinov crept to the back of the theater without warning and leaped out when they least expected it.

Vazetdinov’s portrayal of The Creature was truly outstanding, encapsulated by his drawled-out speech and his stage presence. The scene depicting The Creature’s creation was executed flawlessly. You couldn’t help but feel unsettled that someone was always lurking behind you.

Wilkins captivated the audience as Frankenstein with his numerous monologues and perfectly executed lines of humor that brightened the dark story.

I do not know how accurate his eighteenth-century British accent was, but his commitment to it was commendable. His rendition of Frankenstein explored his flaws of inaction, pride and ambition that led to the demise of those he loved dearly.

The narrator, Mary Shelley, was played by Josie Lamzik, a sophomore in COM. She had an incredible stage presence, taking on a no-nonsense attitude when it came to telling the story of Frankenstein. I especially enjoyed the way Shelley shut down Lord Byron, one of the characters she was telling the story to, with her nonchalant attitude and confidence.

I have never seen someone nail a character’s posture, stance and insufferability as much as James Buckser. Buckser, a junior in COM, did an excellent job of bringing alive the acclaimed and heavily misogynistic poet that is Lord Byron. It takes great talent to play someone as irritating as the acclaimed poet.

The storytelling of Stage Troupe’s “Frankenstein” goes beyond the lines. The costume design for the play was excellent and executed perfectly. Everything from Mary Shelley’s exquisite satin, crimson gown, to the black lacy collar that Victor Frankenstein adorned seemed intentional to the characters and their traits.

The lighting of the performance gave the audience the ominous feeling that someone was constantly lurking behind the beautiful stained-glass windows on stage.

The performance made you connect with both Frankenstein and The Creature who he created, only to leave him behind. It left the audience asking themselves one question: “What makes a monster a monster?”

James Buckser is a writer for The Daily Free Press. He did not contribute to the writing of this article.

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