With Halloween fast approaching, Greystone Theatre has just the play to put audiences in the mood for all things spooky.
The University of Saskatchewan drama department has started off their season with Frankenstein; the Man and the Monster, an 1826 adaptation of the classic Mary Shelley novel. The company brings this iconic tale to life with intensity and honesty.
Kaylub Sinclair — who plays Frankenstein — takes the audience on a journey of raw and powerful emotions. He commands the stage, capturing the excitement and horror that Frankenstein’s story demands. His intensity is matched by the Monster, who is played by Max Folk.
Although the Monster never speaks, he tells the woeful story of a life full of misunderstanding. You can’t help but pity the Monster, even as he wreaks havoc and terror to anyone he encounters.
The play is rich with uncomfortable emotions. Throughout the two acts, actors who are not in the current scene sit at the back end of the stage and watch, evoking the spine-tingling feeling that you’re being watched. Director Dwayne Brenna says this is exactly what he had in mind. Brenna wants the audience to feel that “other people’s eyes are always on you. We wanted that sort of paranoid atmosphere.”
This uneasy, paranoid ambience created by the ever-watchful eyes of the cast is accentuated by the percussion and sound effects they perform as they sit on the sidelines. Using simple instruments like drums and bells, the cast creates a vivid soundtrack to match the intense storytelling.
At one point, it feels as though the whole theatre has been struck by a great and terrible thunderstorm. The set is minimal but in its simplicity, it forces the audience to be imaginative and engaged.
Such an intense and dark story demands at least a few moments of comic relief. These much needed moments are delivered by the characters of Strut, Lisetta, and Quadro. They are played by Adam Tweidt, Kayla Perkins and Nicholas Porelli, respectively.
This brash trio breaks up the terror with intelligent humour while also providing a sort of recap of the previous events.
Their delightful banter is refreshing and serves to contrast the brooding terror of Frankenstein’s story. Tweidt’s performance as Frankenstein’s cheeky yet loyal servant stands out as an example of the drama department’s standard of excellence.
This is just the beginning of the drama department’s season, and there are lots of exciting things in store. Next up is Playhouse Creatures by April de Angelis. It is directed by Julia Jamison and tells the story of five young actresses in the classical period. This show will open in November.
Greystone’s production of Frankenstein; or the Man and the Monster runs from Oct. 9 to 19 in the John Mitchell Building on the U of S campus.
Photo: Tomilola Ojo/ Culture Editor