MSUToday
Published: Oct. 9, 2019

New adaptation of 'Frankenstein' examines gender norms

Contact(s): Abigail Tykocki College of Arts and Letters atykocki@msu.edu

Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre is presenting a new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic gothic horror novel, “Frankenstein.”

Frankenstein runs for 10 performances Oct. 11–20 in the Pasant Theatre at MSU. 

Through the use of some creative casting, the production examines the themes of gender norms and the plight of humanity at the hands of a thoughtless creator.  

The new adaptation, developed by Southwest Shakespeare Company and co-producer and artistic director Quinn Mattfeld in 2018, more closely follows the original text than some of the popular movie adaptations. 

In a departure from the original story, Ryan Welsh, director and assistant professor of media acting, cast graduate student Abbie Cathcart, a female actor, in the role of Frankenstein’s monster. 

“My hope in the non-traditional gender casting of this show is that we reveal new truths buried within the source material,” said Welsh. “And perhaps more importantly, that we are able to reflect on our own assumptions around gender by viewing a familiar narrative of Frankenstein and his creature through a new lens.”

The artistic team also had the opportunity to train with experts from Vertigo, an Illinois-based theatrical flying effects and rigging company, to add an aerial element to the production. 

“I am so proud of the Department of Theatre faculty, staff and students who continue to explore non-traditional casting to reimagine what theater is and can be,” said Kirk Domer, chairperson of the Department of Theatre. “Additionally, we are excited to welcome Vertigo back to Michigan State to engage our students in design and technology to experience modern stagecraft and innovation from leading industry professionals.”

The performance will have graphic simulated violence, disturbing imagery and sexual content. It is recommended for ages 14+. 

Tickets are $17 for general admission, $15 for seniors and MSU faculty, $12 for MSU students and are available at whartoncenter.com, at the Wharton Center box office or by calling 1-800-WHARTON. 

The show will run:

  • 8 p.m. on Friday, October 11, 2019
  • 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, 2019 
  • 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 13, 2019
  • 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 
  • 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16, 2019
  • 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 17, 2019
  • 8:00 p.m. on Friday, October 18, 2019
  • 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, 2019
  • 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, 2019
  • 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, 2019