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A 2011 play by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, alternating night-by-night in their roles as Frankenstein and the Creature. Scored with dark electronic ambient by the band Underworld.Forget your old Frankenstein, starting with the Mad Scientist mixing up bubbling potions on a midnight dreary, and using a lightning strike to animate a groaning, inarticulate hulk. No. When the stage lights up, there is a womb-like structure suspended far to one side... and the audience glimpses a man moving within it. The womb bursts open, and a monstrous-looking man staggers out — onto to fall onto the floor, wailing and weeping like a helpless newborn. The show continues to follow this nameless Creature's development and exploration of the world... sensations as delightful as rainfall and as hateful as fear, the potential of other people, and his own capacities for knowledge, wonder, and destruction. Eventually, the play is shaped by his quest to find the man who made him, and ask one driving question: Why did he make the Creature, only to abandon him? Why?
This stage production has the examples of:
Adaptation Distillation: The play does away with the Framing Device with Captain Walton from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and focuses on the relationship between Victor and the Creature. It also keep's Victor's age correct, and like the novel, leaves how he brought the Creature to life vague. It's probably the truest adaptation of Shelley's novel. The major things omitted besides Walton, are Victor's time at the University and Justine the maid who ends framed and killed for William's death.
Adaptational Villainy: Perhaps because this version is told primarily from the Creature's point of view, Victor is more of a jerk than he was in the novel, and most of his redeeming qualities are left out.
Adapted Out: Captain Robert Walton is nowhere to be found. Nor are Professors Waldman and Kempe, or Victor's friend Henry Clerval, or the maid Justine,
Altar the Speed: After breaking his promise and hearing the Creature's subsequent threats, Frankenstein is suddenly very, very keen to marry Elizabeth as soon as possible. It doesn't help.
Alternate Character Interpretations: Befitting the fact that the two leads swap roles each night. Cumberbatch's Victor is aloof and arrogant, while his Creature is prone to being a Large Ham. Miller's Victor is much more of a manic Mad Scientist and his Creature is much more down to earth.
Miller drew inspiration for his Creature from his own children, while Cumberbatch looked at stroke victims.
Cassandra Truth: The Creature keeps telling De Lacey that Felix and Agatha would drive him away because of his deformities if they ever saw. De Lacey insists they are good people who would overlook that. De Lacey learns the truth the hard way.
Chewing the Scenery: Cumberbatch's Creature delivers the "This is your universe, Frankenstein" in a very over the top way, enunciating every syllable in the scientists name. Miller's delivery of the same line is more pointed and subdued.
Color Blind Casting: Victor's father and Elizabeth are both played by black actors. Victor's little brother, William, is played by two young boys in different performances, one of whom is black and the other is white.
I Warned You: The Creature to Frankenstein. He certainly did.
Jerkass Has a Point: Though Frankenstein taunts the Creature cruelly regarding the female Creature, he makes several valid points — there's no way to force her to love the Creature, she might hate him, or turn out depraved, and she has no reason to honor a promise made on her behalf before she was created.
Kill the Cutie: Cute little William Frankenstein. Elizabeth hits this in the penultimate scene, and gets it even worse, as she has been acting as what passes for Victor's conscience.
Melancholy Moon: The Creature describes the moon as solitary and sad, like himself.
My God, What Have I Done?: De Lacey, after his children meet the Creature — not just because of the fear and shock inflicted on his family, but because he knows he has wrecked the Creature's trust in human goodness.
No Name Given: The Creature ruefully notes that Victor never gave him that luxury.
Revenge Before Reason: For the sake of revenge, the Creature will kill even the few people who have shown him kindness.
Parental Abandonment: The source of the Creature's problems. Benedict Cumberbatch has told interviewers that the play is about bad parenting.
Please Wake Up: The Creature to Frankenstein, in one of the most moving scenes.
Point of View: The original novel was told through Victor's eyes. Here the main focus is on the Creature; he is the first character we see and besides the brief scuffle in the lab, Victor doesn't really come into focus until the Creature makes his way to Geneva
Wound That Will Not Heal: The Creature emerges from his womb covered in stitches and gashes, and sutures that hold his arms to his shoulders. These wounds never heal over the course of the play — this is clearly deliberate, given that Frankenstein, later in the play, gleefully observes "The sutures have held!" — not healed, but held.