Frankenstein isn’t usually interpreted as a kids’ story, though there are plenty of kid-friendly references to it in popular culture. Certainly, generations of American kids have smeared green pain on their faces, drawn wiggly black stiches across their foreheads with their mum’s eyeliner, and hit the streets in search of candy at Halloween. The ‘Frankenstein’ image enters the psyche from a young age, and it’s not until we get a bit older that we realise that the hulking, stalking figure we’ve been calling Frankenstein since we were little isn’t really Frankenstein at all.
Scientist Victor Frankenstein is the central figure of Mary Shelley’s 200-year-old Gothic novel, but it’s the monster he creates through his obsessive drive to harness the forces of nature that ends up stealing his thunder (and lightning) in popular culture. Now Perth’s Co3 and the Gold Coast’s The Farm are redirecting our attention back to the eponymous character with their new family contemporary dance work Frank Enstein. Commissioned by Bleach* Festival (The Gold Coast’s signature arts and cultural festival) for a World Premiere on March 31, and created with The Farm’s co-Artistic Directors Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood, Frankenstein is reimagined for a family audience, infused with humour and expressed through dance and theatrics.
“Described as a humorous fantasy of self-acceptance, Frank Enstein is a dance work that is full of The Farm’s wicked sense of humour, high-impact dance, and theatre magic creating a show for the child in all of us. A classic tale for children and adults, Frank Enstein explores the world of Frank, a lonely guy who wants to make his imaginary friends real. Battling a physical impairment, Frank harnesses electricity from a storm and uses it to animate his ‘monsters’ in attempt to fulfil his desire to be ‘normal’ and to be accepted by others.”
Grayson Millwood says, “Frank Enstein has been a dream to work on, at its heart it’s a moving story of a struggle for self-acceptance, and yet it’s funny, full of gags and we have been having an absolute ball making it. We have an insanely talented cast (I’ve seen a few moves in rehearsal that I didn’t think were humanly possible), and I can’t wait to get back into the room with them and the designers and bring this show to the stage.”
On the collaboration with The Farm, Co3 Artistic Director, Raewyn Hill says, “we feel privileged to be working with the maverick team at The Farm on our first national collaboration. The two companies have many synergies, including our physical choreographic languages, and I know this work is going to amaze audiences and will have a long life after this first season!”
Frank Enstein features three Co3 dancers (Zachary Lopez, Talitha Maslin and Andrew Searle) along with two The Farm collaborators (actor Daniel Monks and dancer Brianna Kell), and is suitable for ages 8 and up. On the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s completion of the novel, it’s fitting that the work be reanimated for a new generation.
Made by The Farm in collaboration with Co3 Australia
Presented by Co3 Australia, The Farm and Bleach* Festival
Wed 5-Sat 8 April, 7.30pm
Wed 5 April, 1pm (School Matinee) SOLD OUT
Thurs 6 & Fri 7 April, 11am (School Matinees) SOLD OUT
Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA
Tickets from $25
Book through Ticketek here.