Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is currently celebrating its 200th anniversary, but its themes continue to resonate in our technological age and raise new, complex questions about the nature of life, our role as creators, and our responsibilities to the things we bring into the world. Now, as part of the University of Notre Dame’s fall semester focus Operation Frankenstein, Aquila Theatre brings the classic thriller to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, in the first theatrical production of the Presenting Series season, one sure to make spines tingle.
Written in 1816 by a teenaged Mary Shelley and published in 1818, Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus is the first true science fiction novel. Years ahead of its time, the story has since become the inspiration for countless film and stage adaptations. Frankenstein’s creature is a living, breathing, gruesome outcome of scientific discovery. The piece raises an important universal question about the nature of innovation—just because it can be done, should it be done?
Victor Frankenstein is a Swiss scientist with a mission to create an artificial human. Without considering the consequences of such progress, he succeeds with terrifying results. After wandering the world alone, the monster eventually comes for Frankenstein’s family. Horrific events unfold until the doctor tentatively agrees to create a mate for the creature. Ultimately, the doctor refuses in an effort to spare humanity but bears the terrible and personal penalties of his decision.
Two hundred years later, Frankenstein still poses a myriad of critical ethical questions. Aquila Theatre’s production of this timeless classic is bold and gripping while paying homage to the original, frightening writing of Mary Shelley. Aquila Theatre creates daring reinterpretations of classical plays for contemporary audiences that free the spirit of the original work and recreate the excitement of live performance.
About Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Through classic movies, Halloween costumes, comic book adaptations, or breakfast cereals, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has endured in the popular imagination for 200 years. The idea for the novel was sparked by a ghost story competition among famous authors in 1816 when Shelley was just 18 years old. Published on January 1, 1818, the thrilling tale of Victor Frankenstein and his stitched-together creature has never been out of print and is currently the most-assigned novel in university courses. Its themes of innovation and its consequences remain relevant in our technological age, as we grapple with the effects of stunning advances in medicine, computing, and engineering.
About Operation Frankenstein
Notre Dame presents an array of interdisciplinary activities celebrating the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s great novel. Events began July 2018 with an academic conference at Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway. The tribute continues throughout the fall semester at public events including a special collections exhibit with guided tours on Football Fridays, a film series at the Browning Cinema, lecture series, a Frankenstein readathon on Halloween, and a 200th birthday party for Frankenstein’s creature including a costume contest.