The Soul of Frankenstein

A new stage play adapted from the classic novel, performed Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2020.

Written by Bobby Sample
Based on Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Original Score by Connor Sample

About This Production

It’s the turn of the 19th century, and Captain Robert Walton mounts a daring quest for the North Pole. From the ice of the Arctic Ocean, he rescues a lone and mysterious stranger: Victoria Frankenstein, who repays him with a tale of battling nature and chasing glory that rivals and surpasses his own. We follow her through her horrifying success in bringing a monstrous Creature to life, and the death and destruction left in their path. Creature or Creator: Which one is the Monster?

This world premiere adaptation of Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley bottles the angst, obsession, terror, and suspense of the gothic young adult novel that laid the foundation for the genres of modern horror and science fiction that came after it.

Writer/Director’s Note

From the playbill:

“This play is nothing like those old Boris Karloff movies,” I’ve been telling people. Well, that’s a lie. Classic film fans know that the winning stroke of The Bride of Frankenstein, the best of those Universal films from the 1930s, is its power to draw our sympathy (and even a tear or two) for the “Monster.” All he wants is a friend. If you also feel for the Creature in The Soul of Frankenstein, it’s no accident. That makes us human. My question is: does our sympathy make him human, too?

Mary Shelley wrote the 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus while still a teenager, and she created main characters who generally share her own age and perspective. The title character (whom I found far easier to picture as a young woman than as a young man), and his inner circle, are teens who grow into young adults during the story. Shelley’s lesser-known main character and narrator, Robert Walton, is still in his mid-20s. And the Creature himself is the all-time epitome of the neglected, angsty, and misunderstood child.

So this is great source material for youth theatre, especially for older teens. Working on a historical drama has been an educational experience for us all. The old-school dialogue and occasional accents challenged the actors on a tight workshopping and rehearsal schedule. Yet, the deeper issues of the story and its characters have never appeared to exceed the actors and their experience. They’ve definitely got this.

For a playwright searching for threads to tie together Shelley’s episodic story, it wasn’t a stretch to turn the whole thing into a psychodrama about narcissism. The problems of Victoria, Robert, Elizabeth, and Henry, though dramatized in fantastic ways, should be recognizable. Honestly, I’m still not sure whether the Creature himself is human, or just a crafty reflection of humanity itself, a mere image in the mirror — but sometimes the soul of a narcissist is described the same way.

So much of the Frankenstein story has always been open to audience interpretation. I hope our take on it gives you plenty to talk about!

Bobby Sample, Writer/Co-Director

Cast

  • Victoria Frankenstein Lyda Armistead
  • Captain Robert Walton Dean Kelldorf
  • The Creature Christian Bader
  • Henry Clerval Dominic Cardenas
  • Elizabeth / Frau Dienerin Katelyn Karcher
  • Yakov / Prof. Waldman / Papa De Lacey / Blair Alec Pursell
  • Professor Krempe Chloe Pierson
  • Caroline Anna Koth
  • Felix / Constable Müller / Inspector Reid Evan Culbertson
  • Justine / Safie Sabina Dart
  • Dimitri / Tavern Keeper / Cleric AJ King
  • Agatha Paige Presley
  • Magistrate Voice Ken Goodenberger

Production Team

  • Direction Kenny Grossman & Bobby Sample
  • Assistant Director Kyler Tunnell
  • Video Direction, Lighting & Sound Design Josh Hontz
  • Scenic Design & Animations Bobby Sample
  • Costume Design Naomi Jordon & Andi Marie Jordon
  • Hair & Makeup Design Charlie Rabago
  • Properties Design Vicki Grossman & Kenny Grossman
  • Projection Design Bobby Sample & Josh Hontz
  • Light Operator Tara Frooninckx
  • Sound Operator Zoey Waller
  • Electricians Trent Flores, Krystalynn Newbury,
    Michaela Wooldridge
  • Camera Operation Luke Bader, Kenny Grossman,
    Bobby Sample

Photo Gallery

Awards & Recognitions for This Production

ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence 2020-2021

Awards to be announced at a ceremony at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Sep. 26.

  • Best Overall Production – Youth Play (Nominated)
  • Actress in a Major Role – Youth Play: (Nominated) Lyda Armistead
  • Actor in a Major Role – Youth Play: (Nominated) Christian Bader
  • Actor in a Major Role – Youth Play: (Nominated) Dean Kelldorf
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – Youth Play: (Nominated) Katelyn Karcher
  • Actor in a Supporting Role – Youth Play: (Nominated) Evan Culbertson
  • Director – Youth Play: (Nominated) Kenny Grossman and Bobby Sample
  • Costume Design – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) ANJ INC. (Naomi Jordon and Andi Jordon)
  • Hair and Makeup Design – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Charlie Rabago
  • Lighting Design – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Josh Hontz
  • Property Design – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Kenny Grossman and Bobby Sample
  • Original Script – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Bobby Sample
  • Original Music Composition – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Connor Sample
  • Fight Choreography – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Bobby Sample, Kenny Grossman, Christian Bader, and Dominic Cardenas
  • Media Design – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Bobby Sample and Josh Hontz