|Jason McLean, Carl Beck.|
Presented in winter, 1984, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's classic novel was adapted for the stage by resident playwright Thomas W. Olson with music composed and orchestrated by Steven M. Rydberg. Directed by CTC artistic director John Clark Donahue, Frankenstein boasted designs from Guthrie alumni Jack Barkla (sets) (Barkla also was resident designer for CTC in the late 60s/early 70s), Jack Edwards (costumes) and Duane Schuler (lighting). Sound design by Robert Jorissen.
A large cast included CTC resident acting company members Carl Beck as Victor Frankenstein, Jason McLean as The Creature, George Muschamp as Arctic explorer Walton, Devi Piper as Elizabeth Lavenza, Barry Goldman as Henry Clerval, Oliver S. Osterberg as Alphonse Frankenstein, Wendy Lehr as Justine Moritz, Stephen Boe as De Lacey, Binky Wood as Frau Schmidt, and Tom Dunn as the dying Victor.
For the fourth consecutive summer (and the last), CTC shut down its performance operations to create a professional, commercial video. In a new relationship with Taft Entertainment, Frankenstein's script and music were rewritten by outside artists while the CTC cast, to a great degree, remained intact (with "special guest star" Chris Sarandon [Dog Day Afternoon, Protocol, Fright Night, The Princess Bride] joining the cast as The Creature.)
This production proved to be the final works at CTC for Donahue and Rydberg.
"... not the horror tale as conventional thriller... dreadful, beautiful and romantic ... a stunning creation." -- St. Paul Pioneer Press
From "CBS Festival of Lively Arts for Young People" ...
FRANKENSTEIN was commissioned and first presented by The Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, MN in February, 1984.
Artistic personnel for the initial production were as follows: Adapted for the Stage by Thomas W. Olson. Produced and Directed by John Clark Donahue, Music Composed by Steven M. Rydberg, Scenic Design by Jack Barkla, Costume Design by Jack Edwards, Lighting Design by Duane Schuler, Sound Design by Robert Jorissen.
CAST OF CHARACTERS (in order of appearance)
WALTON, an explorer
BENNETT, an explorer
TRENT, an explorer
FRANKENSTEIN, a dying explorer
VICTOR, a medical student/scientist
ELIZABETH LAVENZA, Victor's cousin
ALPHONSE FRANKENSTEIN, Victor's father
JUSTINE MORITZ, a governess
HENRY CLERVAL, Victor's friend
WILLIAM FRANKENSTEIN, Victor's young child brother
YOUNG VICTOR, a youth
YOUNG HENRY, a youth
FRAU SCHMIDT, a landlady
YOUNG ELIZABETH, a youth
ERNST, student Victor's assistant
DE LACEY, a blind man
FELIX, his son
AGATHA, his daughter-in-law
PETER, a peasant
GRETA, a peasant
CHRISTINE, Elizabeth's maid
MOURNERS, STUDENTS, TOWNSPEOPLE, CORPSES, GYPSIES, GUESTS, DOUBLES
Europe and the Arctic wastes. Early to mid-1800's.
SCENIC DESIGN NOTE
In the original Children's Theatre Company production the scenery, as designed by Jack Barkla, consisted of two rotating towers, one at each side of the stage, constructed of chrome-framed plexiglass covered with reflective, translucent mylar, allowing controlled "bleed-through" effects into the tower box interiors. The stage right tower contained a lower box (approx. 3.5 feet high) which contained a diorama of an ice-bound, early 19th century sailing ship. Above was an arctic landscape, about eight feet in height and four feet deep. Its opposite side contained a neutral box, shallower, with a retractable staircase leading down to the turntable/stage floor. A raked central platform, capable of tracking from upstage to downstage, was constructed with plexiglass sheets for flooring; enormous chrome, brass and wooden gears could be seen beneath the floor. The stage left tower was identical to the other but without scenery, except for an enlarged model of a heart which floated in a small plexiglass box suspended from the top of the box corresponding to the arctic scene. Upstage of the towers was a rear-projection screen for large format slides, silhouette, shadow and environmental effects. Downstage, extending over the orchestra pit, were steel beams splitting the space into four pits of varying depth -- the stage right pit contained a winding staircase. Suspended above the stage from the proscenium arch were four lighting instruments: two metal domes, one pointing down, the other directly at the audience; the remaining two were crystal chandeliers, one covered with a white cloth, as if in storage. Also from above a mylared plexiglass ceiling piece, identical in size to the floor platform, could fly into view and tilt to allow the reflection of the floor to be seen by the audience. This ceiling piece also served as a wall and doorway in various scenes.
Act I, Scene i
(House lights fade. Dim light rises on the boxes; in an arctic landscape stands frozen WALTON, an explorer; a wooden stand with placard is in front of the box, as if it were an exhibit in an old museum. In SL box, CREATURE stands, his hands crossed over his chest like a corpse; the heart above it is also dimly lit. Echoing footsteps draw near; a VICTORIAN COUPLE with CHILD enter and view the arctic diorama and share a few quiet remarks in French. The family proceeds to the CREATURE's box, remark, then exit. Wind rises and light increases on arctic box as snow begins to fall inside it and WALTON suddenly "comes to life," falling to his knees into the snowbank.)
WALTON. Shelter! Thank God, shelter from the storm!
(Calling offstage as BENNETT and TRENT enter.) Mr. Bennett, Mr. Trent -- we'll rest here.
BENNETT. Heaven help us fools that we are! We never should have left the ship. We're going to die out here.
WALTON. (Consulting a map.) We should give thanks, Mr. Bennett, for having found as much as this ridge to stave off the wind. It is a sort of refuge.
BENNETT. "Refuge?!" This, sir -- this is our grave.
WALTON. Enough! Now listen to me, the both of you -- we shall survive this storm, we shall find our way back to the ship, the sun will release our vessel from the ice, and...
BENNETT. And then what, Captain? Then shall we sail back home to England?
WALTON. You know perfectly well that I am resolved to sail across this polar sea.
BENNETT. How? There is no passage. What is it, Captain: the snow, or just your bloody ambition that has blind you?
FRANKENSTEIN. (Near offstage; an anguished cry.) Au secours...ah, juste ciel...! (EXPLORERS freeze at the sound, listening.) Sacre ciel...aide-moi...!
TRENT. French?! Cap'n Walton, there's someone talkin' French!
FRANKENSTEIN. (Very near.) Henry! Henry Clerval!
BENNETT. (Looking offstage.) Well, I'll be damned; it's a...
WALTON. A man! Good God! (He moves to assist FRANKEN-STEIN into the box.) Help me with this poor soul! (BENNETT and TRENT obey.)
FRANKENSTEIN. (Screaming in agony.) Ahh, mes jambes!
WALTON. Careful, his legs seem to be broken.
BENNETT. Frozen, more likely. Where could he have come from, Captain?
WALTON. Heaven knows. Mr. Trent, the brandy, quickly.
BENNETT. But clearly the man's about to die; why waste...?
FRANKENSTEIN. (Rising up on elbow.) "Die?" No! I will not die, do you hear? You must help me! I must not die, not until...
WALTON. There, there; calm yourself. Of course you're not going to die; I'll see to that. (Gives FRANKENSTEIN a sip of brandy.)
TRENT. At least he speaks English; that's lucky, ain't it?
FRANKENSTEIN. (Reaching toward TRENT's face.) I cannot see you...I am blind!
BENNETT. From the glare of the snow.
WALTON. Never mind. In time your sight may return.
FRANKENSTEIN. It won't. I know such things. I am a doctor.
TRENT. A doctor?!
WALTON. I had assumed you were an explorer, sir, as we are.
FRANKENSTEIN. An explorer? Yes. You might say I was once a kind of explorer. But now I am but a hunter.
BENNETT. But there ain't nothin' livin' to hunt this far north.
FRANKENSTEIN. There is.
WALTON. What, sir? What do you hunt?
FRANKENSTEIN. One who flees from me.
WALTON. (To his fellows.) The man?! (To FRANKENSTEIN.)
A man, doctor?
FRANKENSTEIN. No! A monster! A fiend!
BENNETT. Oh, bloody hell, the doctor's mad.
WALTON. Damn you, Bennett, will you not hold your tongue?! (To FRANKENSTEIN.) Tell us, sir, please: who are you? I am Captain Robert Walton.
FRANKENSTEIN. My name is Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein.
WALTON. A moment ago, you cried out a name: "Henry." Is he the fiend you seek?
FRANKENSTEIN. No, no; Henry was my friend. But... he is gone now. He and the others...oh, dear God... (Weeping.) I never meant to cause harm. Please, you must believe me.
WALTON. But of course we believe....
FRANKENSTEIN. You don't! How could you? You don't know.
WALTON. Then tell me. Tell us...tell us about Henry.
FRANKENSTEIN. Yes. If you knew, then perhaps you'd help me. I must have your help. And then I could die in peace...like Mother....
WALTON. Do not speak of death; please, sir...
FRANKENSTEIN. But that is all there is to my story. So long ago, it now seems. But I remember it all. Mother was the first to die....
Act I, Scene ii
(Lights dim on arctic box, but remain in demi-light throughout the scene to follow. ALPHONSE and VICTOR, dressed in mourning, enter and step toward orchestra pit. They are fol-lowed by WILLIAM, ELIZABETH, HENRY, JUSTINE, PRIEST, MOURNERS in sequence narrated by FRANKENSTEIN.)
FRANKENSTEIN. A lovely summer it had been, home in Geneva, after having spent the school term in Germany, pursuing a course of medical study at the University of Ingolstadt.
WALTON. I have heard of it; a most distinguished school.
FRANKENSTEIN. Yes, and I the eldest son of one of the most distinguished gentlemen in Switzerland. Oh, what a happy family we were: Father, Mother, beautiful little William, my brother...and my cousin Elizabeth Lavenza, who had been raised by my parents from orphaned childhood. Elizabeth and Henry Clerval had been my lifelong playfellows; my friends. We were a domestic circle filled with love and affection; we believed that pain or care could never touch us. (PRIEST begins to recite burial service under following.) But as I prepared to return to Germany, to school, my poor mother was afflicted with the scarlet fever and did not recover. Autumn came swift and early upon us that year. I wonder now if it was not an omen -- an omen of our great
misery to follow....
PRIEST. Fidelium, Deus, omnium conditor et redemptor, animabus famulorum famularumque tuarum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut indulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.
MOURNERS. Amen. (All each toss a flower into the CSL pit which represents the grave, turn away and slowly exit upstage, except for ELIZABETH. VICTOR notices her lingering and excuses himself from his father ALPHONSE.)
VICTOR. Elizabeth? Will you come away?
ELIZABETH. Not just yet, Victor. I'm sorry.
VICTOR. Would you have me stay?
ELIZABETH. "Stay," Victor? But you only mean "wait," don't you? You may wait, if you like, but come tomorrow morning, you'll be gone as well. No one, nothing, truly "stays."
VICTOR. Elizabeth, what are you saying?
ELIZABETH. I'm saying what does it matter? Let you, let the whole world become doctors, but people will still go on dying, won't they?
VICTOR. Yes. As we must.
ELIZABETH. Then it is all quite hopeless.
VICTOR. You can't think so.
ELIZABETH. I can; I do.
VICTOR. Elizabeth. (A hand on her shoulder.)
ELIZABETH. (Shrugging him off.) Never mind me. I seek no comfort. But how now am I to comfort your father? And William, that poor little boy, how should he be made to understand?
VICTOR. But William isn't yet aware of such things as death.
ELIZABETH. You're right, Victor, he isn't. He believes your mother's just asleep. What's more, he thinks that through your studies you will learn how to wake her up again. (She turns and clings to VICTOR's chest, tearful.) Oh, dear God, that child thinks death is the stuff of fairytales!
VICTOR. There, there....
ELIZABETH. Oh, how terribly I shall miss your mother. And you, Victor. Please forgive me....
VICTOR. My dear cousin...my love...this grief shall pass away, you'll see. Think instead on our future -- yours and mine.
ELIZABETH. Have we one?
VICTOR. It was Mama's dying wish and is my fondest hope.
ELIZABETH. I've never allowed myself to really believe it: that someday I should be your bride.
VICTOR. Believe, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH. But who's to say what may happen? You so far away for so very long.
VICTOR. I promise that I'll return home at every opportunity.
I shan't abandon you. (He kisses her forehead. She smiles.)
ELIZABETH. Oh, but we've abandoned your poor father. We ought to go. (They turn to see HENRY, JUSTINE and WILLIAM approaching.)
ELIZABETH. Oh, Justine -- William ought to be indoors. He'll catch cold.
HENRY. The lad absolutely refused.
JUSTINE. He insisted that Madame needed more flowers for her...for "her bed."
ELIZABETH. Oh, William, aren't you a dear, thoughtful boy! Come then, shall we give the pretty flowers to Mama? (WILLIAM tosses flowers into the grave.) Good. Now it's quick back to the house and perhaps Justine will bring us all a nice hot chocolate. (ELIZABETH exits; WILLIAM tugs on JUSTINE's hand, urging her to come too.)
JUSTINE. (Heading off.) Thank you, Monsieur Clerval.
HENRY. For what, Justine?
JUSTINE. For your kind help with Master William.
HENRY. Not at all. (JUSTINE and WILLIAM are gone.)
VICTOR. Perhaps we should take this opportunity to say our farewells, my friend. (They embrace. As they do so, light rises on YOUNG VICTOR and YOUNG HENRY in the SL box. During the following they, too, embrace and exchange gifts: YOUNG HENRY gives YOUNG VICTOR a kitten; YOUNG VICTOR gives YOUNG HENRY a commedia dell'arte mask.)
HENRY. Last night I asked my father if he would reconsider my attending Ingolstadt University too, but it wasn't any use. "Learning is superfluous in the commerce of ordinary life," said he for the hundredth time. Ach, what a stubborn old fellow!
VICTOR. Mine too. Only my father won't admit that he wishes I'd give up my studies and stay.
HENRY. If he did ask, would you?
HENRY. Look who's stubborn.
VICTOR. Now, Henry -- ever since we were children you know how I always imagined myself a scientist or doctor one day. I've got to give University more than just one year to see if it suits.
HENRY. What? You: the most brilliant student in your class last year? Ha, Victor, the school suits you. And one day soon you'll be a very great and famous doctor. (Lights have faded on YOUNG HENRY and YOUNG VICTOR.)
VICTOR. (After a beat.) I don't know how much time I'll have to write, Henry.
HENRY. And I'll have plenty of time, but won't. Please be content when I ask Elizabeth to add an occasional word for me in her letters?
VICTOR. Would you look after her, Henry? And my father?
HENRY. Of course. (Another embrace.) Victor, I am sorry, you know -- about your mother.
VICTOR. (Staring into the grave.) It couldn't be helped. (A distant rumble of thunder. HENRY pulls up his collar and gestures to leave.)
HENRY. Shall we?
VICTOR. You go on ahead. (HENRY nods, steps upstage, stops, waves. VICTOR holds up his hand in farewell as HENRY exits. VICTOR slowly drops to his knees at the grave's edge.) What is it, Mama? Is it merely a sort of slumber? Do you dream? What is it?
(A GRAVEDIGGER appears ascending ladder from the adjacent "grave." VICTOR is startled.)
GRAVEDIGGER. Beg pardon, Master Frankenstein; sun's about to drop behind the mountains.
GRAVEDIGGER. (Removing cap before grave.) Sorry, sir.
VICTOR. Yes. Thank you. Goodbye. (VICTOR exits. GRAVEDIGGER dons his cap again and shovels dirt in grave as lights fade on him. GRAVEDIGGER exits SR, removing museum placard before arctic box as he passes. Lights rise full again on arctic box.)
Act I, Scene iii
FRANKENSTEIN. As I journeyed back to Ingolstadt, I found myself increasingly anxious to resume my studies, for slowly growing in my mind was a reason for my work -- a purpose. From out of my mother's grave that bleak September afternoon, my destiny began to take shape. Oh, vile and filthy toil!
WALTON. "Vile and filthy toil?!"
FRANKENSTEIN. How...how can I relate it all to you so that you might understand? So that you should forgive me?
WALTON. Monsieur Frankenstein, I am not your confessor, nor am I your judge. I want only to help you as a friend would. Had you any friends at University?
FRANKENSTEIN. No. (They freeze for a moment as VICTOR's room tracks in: platform and ceiling piece. The room is furnished with a large wing-backed armchair; a small endtable with books and a human skull; another pile of books on the floor DSR. VICTOR and a middle-aged housekeeper FRAU SCHMIDT stand frozen; FRAU SCHMIDT holds a tea tray. After shift is complete, FRANKENSTEIN continues his narration.) I lived alone and kept to myself. I had a large apartment at the top of an old house which I rented from a widow.... (FRAU SCHMIDT and VICTOR move. VICTOR removes his coat.)
FRAU SCHMIDT. You must be weary from your journey.
VICTOR. I am indeed, Frau Schmidt.
FRAU SCHMIDT. So saddened I was to receive your news of Frau Frankenstein.
VICTOR. (Sipping tea.) Thank you.
FRAU SCHMIDT. Ja, it is hard to let them go, I know. When Herr Schmidt passed on, "Ach!" I thought, "how cruel; I am much too young to be alone!"
VICTOR. Mmm-hmm. (Turning away.) I don't believe I'll take supper tonight, Frau Schmidt.
FRAU SCHMIDT. Nein? I understand. You sleep. We can talk in the morning, eh? (She starts toward the DSR pit staircase.) Breakfast at the usual hour....
VICTOR. Might I please just have a tray brought up here in future?
FRAU SCHMIDT. What?
VICTOR. So as not to interrupt my studies. You don't mind.
FRAU SCHMIDT. (Disappointed.) Nein, nein, as you wish. Very well, then. Gute Nacht, Herr Frankenstein. (She has descended and is gone; VICTOR sits in chair.)
FRANKENSTEIN. I labored at my books with a passion I had never known before while phantom figures from my past seemed to stand about me, urging me ever onward. (Distant piano music.) These spectres and recollections of my youth mingled with my daily studies and together became as a torrential river which, in its wild course, swept me completely and helplessly away. (Lights have risen on YOUNG VICTOR, crouched in the lower SL box, with a book of alchemy in his hand and a dead cat before him.)
YOUNG VICTOR. (Reading as he conjures.) "In the name of Iah and Van, which Adam heard and spoke; and by the name Asher Ehyeh, which Moses named and all the rivers were turned into blood; I, Victor Frankenstein, do potently summon and command thee that thou appearest...." (ALPHONSE -- looking fifteen years less aged -- appears in the box above.)
FRAU SCHMIDT. (Ascending stairs with dinner tray.) Herr Frankenstein?
ALPHONSE. What is this?
YOUNG VICTOR. (Raising book above his head.) Just a book, Father.
VICTOR. Frau Schmidt, please; I was reading!
ALPHONSE. (Taking book; regarding cat.) And that?
YOUNG VICTOR. My cat.
FRAU SCHMIDT. Your dinner.
ALPHONSE. A dead cat?!
YOUNG VICTOR. The book has spells; I only wanted to...
ALPHONSE. Be rid of it!
VICTOR. Take it away; I don't want it.
ALPHONSE. (Looking at book with disdain.) "Cornelius Agrippa?" You waste your time. Go now -- play with Elizabeth and Henry.
VICTOR. Go. Please? (FRAU SCHMIDT exits.)
ALPHONSE. (Slamming book shut.) This is trash, Victor. Sad trash! (Lights fade on ALPHONSE on YOUNG VICTOR.)
VICTOR. You don't know, Father. You know nothing of science.
FRANKENSTEIN. If my father had explained, instead of ridiculed.
If he had only told me that the theories of the alchemists had long been surpassed, then I might have turned away. But instead I continued to read the words of the ancients and my mind was filled with wonder. (Silhouettes on the upstage projection screen of PROFESSOR KREMPE and VICTOR DOUBLE.)
KREMPE. No! Have you really wasted your youth studying such nonsense?!
VICTOR. And you, Professor Krempe -- what a repulsive, conceited little troll were you.
KREMPE. Useless! Utterly useless! Mein Gott, in what uncivilized wasteland have you been living, Frankenstein? These notions are hundreds of years old. A mind such as yours reading Agrippa, Paracelcus, Magnus? It is a tragedy! (Silhouettes out as JUSTINE -- looking fifteen years more youthful -- quickly enters to sit in a chair facing the SL box, which she raps upon.)
JUSTINE. (Sitting.) I've arrived; you may begin.
YOUNG ELIZABETH. (Appearing in box through curtains.) "The Tragedy of Prometheus," a play by Henry Clerval.
YOUNG HENRY. (Entering; a bow to JUSTINE.) With the poetical assistance of Elizabeth Lavenza. (YOUNG ELIZABETH curtsys.)
JUSTINE. And Victor Frankenstein?
YOUNG VICTOR. (Also appearing through curtains.) No, Justine; this is all Henry's idea.
JUSTINE. Indeed? Well, I'm ready.
YOUNG HENRY. "In the beginning..."
JUSTINE. "God created the heaven and the..."
YOUNG ELIZABETH. Justine, please; you're the audience!
JUSTINE. I'm sorry, Mademoiselle.
YOUNG HENRY. "In the beginning, all things were one: Chaos -- the darkness." (Awkward pause.)
YOUNG ELIZABETH. (A whisper, nudging YOUNG VICTOR.) Victor!.
YOUNG VICTOR. "And the darkness knew the night, and from them came light and day..."
YOUNG ELIZABETH. "Who, in turn, created love..." (She gives her hand to YOUNG VICTOR as lights on them dim to half and rise, in an isolated spot DSR, on ELIZABETH, narrating a letter which VICTOR silently reads.)
ELIZABETH. "My dearest love... I write to you this letter, Victor, to beg your forgiveness. At your mother's grave, I should have consoled you. There is hope, Victor, and with such hope there is no real death, but life everlasting." (VICTOR folds letter and puts it in his pocket.)
VICTOR. No death.
ELIZABETH. (Light begins to fade.) "This I believe with all my heart."
VICTOR. Merely a sort of slumber. (A distant rumble of thunder as silhouettes of HENRY and VICTOR DOUBLE appear on the screen, embracing.)
HENRY. (Voice-over.) Victor, I am sorry, you know -- about your mother.
VICTOR. (Voice-over.) It couldn't be helped. (Silhouettes out as VICTOR rises suddenly from chair.)
FRANKENSTEIN. But then I thought, "No -- perhaps it could be helped!" Certainly there were reasons, specific causes of death. Therefore, mustn't there also be causes to life?
WALTON. Life, yes!
FRANKENSTEIN. I focused my labors on the disciplines of physiology, anatomy.... (SR tower slowly rotates arctic scene off as lights rise again SL on CHILDREN and JUSTINE. VICTOR moves upstage.)
YOUNG HENRY. "And the earth was arranged and disposed..."
YOUNG ELIZABETH. "Birds flew about the air..."
YOUNG VICTOR. "And all manner of beasts roamed the land...." (Lights fade SL as they rise on SR tower to reveal FRAU SCHMIDT at open door at top of staircase; VICTOR DOUBLE stands below, facing her upstage, with a live dog in his arms.)
FRAU SCHMIDT. Nein, Herr Frankenstein! I must insist; I cannot allow you to keep this...creature...in my home! You will be so kind as to get rid of it at once! (ALPHONSE squeezes past FRAU SCHMIDT and descends stairs, passing VICTOR DOUBLE, as tower resumes rotation back to arctic position.)
ALPHONSE. (Descending stairs.) Victor! What are you doing?! (During previous moment with DOUBLE, VICTOR has picked up an animal corpse covered with a bloody white sheet.)
VICTOR. It is a cat. No!... (Removes cloth; dog is now gutted and partially dismembered.) It is...was... a dog. (VICTOR dissects the dog's corpse as ALPHONSE stands DSR in isolated pool of light and narrates a letter.)
ALPHONSE. "The summer has nearly ended. Of course we have given up all hope of your paying us a visit. But you must pardon me, my son, if I regard this long interruption in your correspondence as cause for concern that you may be neglecting your studies as well." (ALPHONSE exits. Offstage knock and call from FRAU SCHMIDT.)
FRAU SCHMIDT. Herr Frankenstein?
VICTOR. What do you want?
FRAU SCHMIDT. A letter. From your Papa.
VICTOR. Go away! I'm busy.
FRANKENSTEIN. Autumn again; the lectures resumed.
I immersed myself in analyzing the corruption of the flesh, from life to death....
VICTOR. (Removing muscle from dog.) Yes, yes, yes, I understand! But what of death to life? (Silhouettes of PROFESSOR KREMPE and MEDICAL STUDENTS at lecture.)
KREMPE. Now Professor Galvani's discoveries have recently led a Doctor Ure of Glasgow to conduct his experiment on the corpse of a man. By exposing the phrenic nerve in the neck, and applying zinc to silver, silver to nerve, as you know...well, it is reported that the corpse's chest suddenly heaved and fell with what might be called a sort of breathing.... (Silhouettes fade.)
VICTOR. (Stabbing scalpel into dog.) A man! A human corpse! (He takes canine corpse away, disgusted.)
FRANKENSTEIN. But how could I acquire such a thing? I would need to engage someone to help me. (A knock.)
VICTOR. (Calling.) Come up! (A most disheveled man, ERNST, rises into view on the pit stairs.) Well?
ERNST. Me? Oh, me, I'll do anything so's to help a promising young medical student. And I know how to keep my mouth shut too. Shut tight as a tomb, so to speak. So long as the money's right. (VICTOR tosses ERNST a bag of coins as lights fade and platform shifts upstage. Rumble of thunder. Lights rise on arctic.)
BENNETT. What?! You mean to say you stole bodies out of churchyards?!
FRANKENSTEIN. No, not churchyards; unconsecrated graves. The bodies of criminals, vagabonds, beggars...who would miss them?
WALTON. Please, Doctor, continue.... (The hanging lamp facing audience begins to glow as SR tower rotates to reveal ERNST, sitting on the stairs with a lantern and semi-decayed CORPSE in loin-cloth at his feet. VICTOR DOUBLE stands in doorway above, observing.)
FRANKENSTEIN. The moon looked down in silent horror upon my midnight labors, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps....
ERNST. Ja, there's me someday: no fine burial suit, no headstone...hasn't even got a name anymore, poor bastard.
(He lifts CORPSE over his shoulder.) Well, Herr Doctor ...after you. (Lights fade as tower rotates and platform slowly shifts DS into view again. Room is cleared except for a sheet-covered corpse [CREATURE] on platform floor SR; a second corpse lies US, half-covered with a bloody sheet. VICTOR enters with ERNST, carrying CORPSE into room. Lights rise on SL tower [not CHILDREN's scene] to reveal ELIZABETH and WILLIAM, arranging a lavish bouquet of fresh-cut summer flowers. VICTOR saws an arm off a corpse and places it in a steel pan during following.)
ELIZABETH. Oh, Victor, what has become of you? A second summer has arrived. Leave your studies, I beg you, if only for a month. Little William misses you so. What a delight he is; Justine is completely devoted to him. Sometimes, in the evenings, I gaze at your image in my locket and pretend that you are here. I do worry so about you, Victor. Are you in good health? (ERNST exits as lights fade on SL tower. SR tower begins rotation.)
FRANKENSTEIN. My face had grown pale and my body emaciated from lack of food and sleep. My chamber was also transformed: now but a slatternly workshop for the most putrid exploration.... (SR tower's rotation reveals PROFESSOR KREMPE at top of stairs, lecturing to STUDENTS below him. Turntable never ceases rotation, as it does so, VICTOR DOUBLE and VICTOR meet one another's eyes.)
KREMPE. In another experiment, the arm was agitated in such a manner that the fingers seemed to point at the spectators, who were dreadfully terrified in thinking that the corpse was actually come to life.... (SR tower has completed rotation back to arctic; light SR fades. SL tower rotates.)
VICTOR. (With the dismembered arm in his hands.) Galvanism! Yes, it works! (Lights rise on SL tower to reveal CHILDREN and JUSTINE.)
YOUNG VICTOR. "Then the god Prometheus..."
YOUNG HENRY. "...took in his hands the virgin soil..."
YOUNG ELIZABETH. "...and kneading it up with water..."
YOUNG VICTOR. "...from this divine clay fashioned..."
YOUNG TRIO. (In unison.) "...a man!" (YOUNG VICTOR assumes "corpse" pose of CREATURE at beginning of play.)
VICTOR. A man! Could a man -- complete -- could it not also be reanimated through Galvanism? Assembled by my hand, at my choosing: beautiful and strong. Yes! And once infused with this power, might he not be made superior in strength, invincible to disease and corruption? Yes! A new species of man. And then I, Victor Frankenstein, I would be blessed as Creator, Master, Conqueror of Death!
YOUNG VICTOR. "'But Man," said the god Prometheus, 'Man must be superior to all other beings.'"
JUSTINE. (Rising from her chair.) Enough! "God Prometheus" indeed! There is but one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and... (A loud rumble of thunder.) There! Listen to the storm? Even Heaven cries out in protest at this...this sacrilege! Prometheus! I cannot watch this play any longer. (Taking up her chair, JUSTINE exits.)
YOUNG ELIZABETH. Justine!
YOUNG VICTOR. Let her go.
YOUNG ELIZABETH. But...
YOUNG VICTOR. "But Man must be superior, for he was made..."
YOUNG VICTOR & VICTOR. (In unison.) "...in the image of the gods!" (Great thunder clap and Blackout. Lights immediately rise again on VICTOR's room. CORPSES are gone except the one covered with sheet. A bloody sack remains on the floor. The section of plexiglass flooring beneath the sheet-covered corpse begins to slowly rise and tilt toward the audience as domed light pointing downward begins to glow as an "operating theater" lamp.)
FRAU SCHMIDT. (Offstage, distant.) Victor Frankenstein! Herr Frankenstein?! (Knocking on door from pit.)
VICTOR. (Stitching CREATURE's face under sheet.) Yes ...your face shall resemble mine...as if you were my own son. (Knocking has become a pounding.) Damn it! What?!
FRAU SCHMIDT. (Appearing on stairway.) Herr Frankenstein!
VICTOR. (A growl.) Frau Schmidt....
FRAU SCHMIDT. A man to see you.
FRAU SCHMIDT. Name of Ernst.
VICTOR. All right, all right! (VICTOR stands in front of the corpse trying to disguise it as ERNST enters and casually looks over the body.)
ERNST. Busy with our studies, are we?
VICTOR. (A nod toward bloody sack on floor.) Get rid of the limbs, what's left of them. (ERNST heaves sack over his shoulder.) I won't be needing you again.
ERNST. Awww. P'raps I'll look in on you anyways, now and again, just in case.
VICTOR. Leave me! (ERNST strolls to stairs and slowly descends.) And take care the old hag doesn't see anything! (He returns to work on the CREATURE.)
YOUNG HENRY. "'What power,' Prometheus wondered, 'what power could I bestow so that Man might have dominion over all other creatures?'"
VICTOR. It will not be enough. No. Mere Galvanism won't be power enough to bring a being as great as this to life. What, then? What force is there?
YOUNG VICTOR. "Fire!"
YOUNG ELIZABETH. "Fire -- precious and most sacred -- meant only for the gods."
YOUNG HENRY. "So then secretly...stealthily... Prometheus crept up into heaven and lighted a torch..."
YOUNG VICTOR. "...and this stolen, holy flame he brought back down to earth to give to Man."
(A great flash of lightning, clap of thunder. YOUNG HENRY and YOUNG ELIZABETH rush to press their faces against the box, as if peering through a window.)
YOUNG HENRY. Victor! Hurry!
VICTOR. (Suddenly aware of approaching storm.) Hurry, Victor!
YOUNG ELIZABETH. Come look out the window!
YOUNG HENRY. Such lightning!
VICTOR. Lightning! Yes! Yes! (VICTOR moves to upstage edge of floor platform and turns a wheel which opens the doors within the ceiling, like a skylight. YOUNG VICTOR has joined his friends, mesmerized at the crackling display of lightning.) But its face; it isn't finished! I'm not yet ready!
YOUNG ELIZABETH. Such a storm!
VICTOR. Such a storm! Quickly, Victor -- finish what you can. You've got to use the power from this storm; it may not come again. Hurry! (VICTOR rushes back to operating table and stitches feverishly.)
YOUNG ELIZABETH. Look! The poor old oak tree can barely stand up against the wind! (A tremendous flash of lightning and a clap of thunder. Smoke fills the air.)
YOUNG HENRY. There! See now? The oak tree! It's...
YOUNG ELIZABETH. Destroyed.
YOUNG HENRY. Gone up in flames! (YOUNG ELIZABETH turns away, frightened. YOUNG HENRY comforts her as YOUNG VICTOR remains staring.)
YOUNG VICTOR. Yes! Electricity!
VICTOR. Electricity! (Another tremendous flash of lightning throws VICTOR to the floor as CREATURE rises and falls back with a jolt. Lights out on towers. Another lightning flash, joined by blinding light from overhead lamp pointing at audience. Another reaction from CREATURE, this time in its rising the sheet falls to the floor to reveal CREATURE wrapped from head to toe in white gauze. CREATURE falls back onto table, but now its chest visibly heaves with breath. VICTOR slowly rises to his feet and gazes upon his creation.) It lives? It lives. It lives! (VICTOR steps toward it and, with a pair of scissors, cuts through the head bandages. He slowly peels the bandages off from around the mouth.) Breath. I can feel his breath. (As VICTOR reaches up to remove more of the facial bandages, the CREATURE lifts his arm and, almost as a reflex, grabs VICTOR's arm. VICTOR, startled, pulls away, causing the CREATURE to sit up again and allowing the bandages to drop off. A half-finished, scarred and bloody, hideous face is revealed. VICTOR turns away in horror.) Your face! Great God, this cannot be -- not this my reward! Two years of my life, of toil and care, of hope and dreaming...oh, such dreams I had! A new species of man...beautiful...to praise me, bless me...but this? No, this I did not conceive! This is trash, Victor; sad trash. (A mad, enraged rush of words.) Flesh, flesh, flesh, tissue, nerves, veins, arteries, hair, teeth, eyes -- yes, yes -- but where...where the beauty? (CREATURE raises arm towards VICTOR and with jaw open, a weird, pained grin on his face, utters an inarticulate sound. VICTOR covers his ears.) No! Not a voice! I will not have you mock me so! No! I did not want this! Not this! Nooooo! (VICTOR rushes down the stairway, his cries of "No!" fading away as platform swiftly retreats upstage into the fog, CREATURE writhing on the table, reaching towards the audience.)
FRANKENSTEIN. (Voice-over.) I ran out of the room and into the street. I ran, looking over my shoulder, watching all the while to see if it...that wretched, ugly corpse that I had so miserably given life...had it pursued me? (VICTOR DOUBLE throws open the SR tower door and rushes down the stairs, passing and bumping into various TOWNS-PEOPLE in the fog. The stage clears as HENRY enters, traveling valise in hand. VICTOR DOUBLE rushes past HENRY, then stops.)
HENRY. Victor? Victor Frankenstein? (VICTOR DOUBLE stumbles toward HENRY and faints into his arms. Thunder rumbles in the distance as wind rises and lights fade to Blackout.)
Act I, Scene iv
(In the blackout the sounds of thunder and wind are joined by wild nightmare noises which crescendo and then abruptly cease. Golden, dappled light rises on VICTOR's room: the operating table is now in a lower position where VICTOR lies asleep. A small wicket chair sits beside the bed. Sound of spring birds. VICTOR awakens with a start and looks about him. He rises from the bed, but his legs crumple beneath him.)
VICTOR. Merciful heaven, what has become of me? What has happened? (He looks about the room, confused and anxious.) My equipment...gone? And he...it...where could it...(A cry, he holds his head in his hands.) Think, Frankenstein, try and remember! You must remember: where is it? (VICTOR slowly stumbles about the room, eyes searching for a clue. HENRY enters up the stairs, holding a bouquet of spring flowers.)
HENRY. Victor Frankenstein! Back into bed with you now... (VICTOR whirls about with a startled cry and strikes out wildly at HENRY, then retreats to his bed and sits, weeping. HENRY slowly approaches and kneels.) It's all right now, Victor; there's nothing to fear.
VICTOR. (Looking deep into HENRY's eyes.) Henry? Henry Clerval? (An embrace.) It is you!
HENRY. Yes, my friend.
VICTOR. What are you...how is it that...but this is Ingolstadt still?
HENRY. If it were Geneva, I daresay Elizabeth would be your nursemaid instead of me.
VICTOR. "Nursemaid?" I have been ill. For how long, Henry? The light's too strong for December.
HENRY. (Showing bouquet.) But not for April.
VICTOR. The entire winter?
HENRY. Well, there's really no telling precisely when you took ill; but when I found you last November...
VICTOR. Five months! Where, Henry; where did you find me?
HENRY. In the streets, wandering about like a madman. At first I thought you'd come to greet my coach, but it became soon evident we met purely by chance. You seemed to be fleeing someone.
VICTOR. Did I say anything?
HENRY. (A chuckle.) What didn't you say is the question.
VICTOR. (Grabbing HENRY's lapels.) Tell me, Henry! I must know!
HENRY. You said nothing, Victor. All nonsense, fever and imaginings.
VICTOR. Then what happened?
HENRY. Why, then I brought you back to your room and here you've stayed ever since. (HENRY steps away to open the skylight.)
VICTOR. I must ask you something, Henry: was there anyone else here?
HENRY. Yes. A man.
VICTOR. Oh, dear God...
HENRY. But I sent him away.
HENRY. By your own orders. You insisted that you were finished with him. “Ernst” I believe was the name; the fellow assisted you in some of your experiments? I gave him a silver piece and sent him on his way.
VICTOR. My equipment, my notes...
HENRY. All of it safely stored; the mere sight of it all seemed to upset you so.
VICTOR. You did not read my notes, did you, Henry?
HENRY. "Ligamentum latum pulmonis" and all the rest? I couldn't fathom the first Latin syllable. Forgive me, Victor, for taking over matters as I did; I had only your best interests at heart.
VICTOR. No, my dear friend, it is I who ought to beg forgiveness. Good Lord, I haven't even asked how it is you came to come here in the first place.
HENRY. Well, Victor, after two long years of virtual silence, your father and Elizabeth had grown quite anxious...
VICTOR. My poor family.
HENRY. ...so I decided I would make the journey here and find out what in God's name you've been up to. I went to my father once again to see if I might...
VICTOR. Attend Ingolstadt University?
HENRY. You guessed it. I suggested to Papa that a study of languages might be beneficial to his business, what with all the foreign merchants we must deal with.
VICTOR. Languages, yes! An inspired argument!
HENRY. (Chuckling.) You should've been there; like a scene right out of that Goldsmith play; you know the one ..."Young man," blusters the pompous old gentleman, "I never learned Greek, and I don't find that I ever missed it. I have ten thousand florins a year without Greek; I eat heartily without Greek; and, in short, as I don't know Greek, I do not believe there is any good in it!" (HENRY laughs heartily, but VICTOR simply sits, staring.)
VICTOR. (Strangely melancholy.) You should be an actor, Henry. How you loved making up our childhood plays.
HENRY. Yes. Remember that theatre mask you once gave me? I still have it.
VICTOR. Do you. (A moment’s silence.)
HENRY. (Realizing reminiscence isn't engaging VICTOR.) Yes...well, anyway, as for Greek, I haven't studied "word alpha" what with looking after you.
VICTOR. I am so sorry.
HENRY. Quite all right. At least my German's much improved, thanks to Frau Schmidt. We take our meals together, play at cards in the evenings...
FRAU SCHMIDT. (Downstairs.) Herr Henry?
HENRY. Ha! Speak of the devil! (A call.) Frau Schmidt! Komm hier, bitte. Seh da!
FRAU SCHMIDT. (Ascending stairs.) Was ist?
HENRY. Seh da!
FRAU SCHMIDT. (At the sight of VICTOR.) Oh, Herr Frankenstein! Gott sei dank! (She clasps VICTOR's hands.) So worried, we were! You're feeling better, ja?
VICTOR. A bit weak, still, thank you.
FRAU SCHMIDT. Are you hungry? I've just been to market. Cheese and bread? Ja; I'll only be a moment.
VICTOR. No, thank you, Frau Schmidt.
HENRY. Now, now, Victor -- you must eat if you want to get well.
VICTOR. (A shrug.) You're the doctor.
FRAU SCHMIDT. (Starting down.) Gut! (Pauses and hands HENRY a letter.) Oh -- ein Brief. (She exits.)
HENRY. (Taking letter to VICTOR.) A letter, Victor; from your father.
VICTOR. (Accepting letter, eagerly.) My father! I can't remember when last I wrote him.
HENRY. (As VICTOR opens letter and reads.) I've written on your behalf. I told him you were ill, but not so much as to alarm him unnecessarily. I thought it best your family didn't know how poor your condition really was until...
VICTOR. (Letting letter drop.) Oh, no...no....
HENRY. (Picking letter up from floor.) What is it?
VICTOR. William...William.... (Platform shifts upstage and off as HENRY glances at letter then grasps VICTOR's hands as lights fade. Towers shift and ceiling drops to the floor, tilting vertical to become a wall with doorway. During shift, letter is recited in voice-over.)
Act I, Scene v
ALPHONSE. (Voice-over.) "Victor, my son. Your brother William is dead. Our gentle, precious boy...alas, he has been murdered." (Shift complete, lights reveal ALPHONSE, seated in a chair on SL turntable, reciting letter as voice-over fades.) "The day before last, William had been outdoors in the company of his nanny Justine. At supper, however, Justine returned to the house alone. Distraught, she said she had fallen asleep and that William, apparently, had wandered away from her. We spent the night in frantic searching, but it was not until morning we found my son: livid and motionless on the grass in the wood -- and with the grey mark of a murderer's hand upon his broken throat. Upon seeing his lifeless form, your cousin Elizabeth hastily examined the neck of the child... (ELIZABETH is revealed in pool of light.)
ELIZABETH. The locket! It's gone!
ALPHONSE. Elizabeth had allowed the boy to wear her locket that day: the golden neckchain with your picture set in precious stones.
ELIZABETH. Gone! Surely, then, the locket was the reason for this murder.
ALPHONSE. Today, however, the locket was discovered. The chambermaid found it in Justine's pocket. And so Justine has been arrested and awaits to be tried for William's murder. I know it is impossible to believe that our own beloved Justine could be guilty of such an atrocity, therefore Elizabeth and I intend to testify in her defense. (VICTOR enters and slowly approaches the central pit area representing WILLIAM's grave.) But will you not now come home, dear Victor? Come home and be our comfort?
VICTOR. (Kneeling before grave.) Poor, dear William. Who? Who is responsible? Not Justine, certainly. Another of the servants? One who, out of fear and remorse, might have hidden the necklace in Justine's pocket? Is that it, William? Do we know the fiend? (The sound of a gavel rapping three times as image of a scarlet-robed MAGISTRATE appears, ascending in the air, upstage of wall unit. ELIZABETH steps forward, as if in a witness stand.)
ELIZABETH. Your honor?
ELIZABETH. I know in my heart that it could not be Justine. As for the evidence of the locket upon which her prosecution rests, I can only say that if ever she had expressed the slightest interest in possessing it,
I would have gladly given it to her.
MAGISTRATE. Thank you, Elizabeth Lavenza. I call to the stand Monsieur Alphonse Frankenstein. (A low rumble of distant thunder.)
VICTOR. Now the clouds gather; a storm approaches, William. But I will not leave you. Who, William -- tell me who has brought this evil upon us?
ALPHONSE. (Standing, in mid-testimony.) ...I ask you, who -- who could judge Justine capable of such treachery? So fond, such warmth and devotion showed she towards the boy, one might think she herself were the child's mother.
MAGISTRATE. Thank you, Monsieur Frankenstein; you may step down. We now call to the stand the defendant: Justine Moritz. (ALPHONSE exits as JUSTINE appears, her wrists manacled. PRIEST stands nearby her. Thunder grows louder.)
VICTOR. Ah, Justine; is this thunder your funeral dirge? Or do the heavens weep for you, my brother? No, sweet child, you are at rest; how can you be pitied? It is the living -- we survivors -- ours is the suffering and sorrow.
JUSTINE. I can offer no explanation as to how the locket came to be found in my possession. I cannot believe that I have an enemy on this earth -- surely none so wicked as to seek my mortal destruction. Yet I must assume it was the murderer who placed the jewels in my pocket, perhaps as I slept that brief time in the woods. (Her voice falters with emotion.) But why should anyone do such a thing?
MAGISTRATE. (Coldly.) Speak louder, please, so that the court may hear you.
JUSTINE. Why should he do such a thing? Why slay a child for the sake of a locket, only to part with it?
MAGISTRATE. Have you anything else you wish to tell the court?
JUSTINE. No, your honor. I humbly commit my cause to your mercy, and upon my true innocence do pledge the salvation of my immortal soul. (A flash of lightning and crash of thunder. JUSTINE, terrified, raises her manacled hands over her face and then is summoned away by the PRIEST.)
VICTOR. (Regarding storm.) Yes, yes, let the sky be filled with fire! I do not fear it, for it holds no mystery for me. But let the ignorant and the guilty tremble and quake at the sight, and at the thunder's terrible noise. Let the guilty be revealed in the lightning's bitter flame! (Over
the rumble, the MAGISTRATE's reverberating sentence and pounding
MAGISTRATE. We find the defendant Justine Moritz guilty... guilty...guilty.... (ELIZABETH collapses in grief as lights fade on MAGISTRATE and flash of lightning reveals CREATURE peering through the wall, bellering in fear at the thunder above. VICTOR whirls and sees the CREATURE, collapsing back in terror and disbelief. CREATURE disappears.)
VICTOR. No! No, it cannot be! Not alive! It was not in my room; it had gone! I was so certain it must have died. How? How can it still live -- and be here -- in Geneva? (He looks again, but the CREATURE is not there.) Gone. Oh God, Victor -- it lives! What has it done, alone all this time? Could it...might it...is it the guilty? It my brother's murderer? Yes, it must be, for nothing human could have killed that angelic boy. Oh, merciful Lord, I must find it! (VICTOR rushes towards the wall as ALPHONSE flings open the doors.)
ALPHONSE. Victor, what madness, come in out of the storm!
VICTOR. Father! The murderer!
ALPHONSE. It's over, Victor. Justine has been condemned.
VICTOR. But they've judged her wrongly!
ALPHONSE. No. After the verdict was read, Justine confessed.
VICTOR. Confessed? I cannot believe it.
ALPHONSE. Nor can Elizabeth. She is determined to speak with Justine in her cell. Will you go with her, Victor?
VICTOR. Yes, Father. Yes, I will. (ALPHONSE closes the doors as VICTOR, confused, walks downstage. Another crash of thunder and lightning, revealing CREATURE behind the doors. VICTOR turns back and pounds against the doors. Doors open to reveal PRIEST leading JUSTINE, still manacled, into room. VICTOR turns away; ELIZABETH rushes to JUSTINE. PRIEST withdraws, hovering near doorway.)
ELIZABETH. (Disappointed; accusatory.) Oh, Justine, Justine...your innocence was our only consolation!
JUSTINE. (Startled at her tone; a slight pause.) And do you, my mistress, also believe me to be so vile, so wicked? Do you now join with mine enemies to crush me? (Slowly falling to her knees.) How can you think I killed that precious child?
ELIZABETH. But you, yourself, confessed.
JUSTINE. A lie.
JUSTINE. What choice did I have? Once condemned, my Father Confessor, believing also in my guilt, threatened and menaced me so...
VICTOR. You're not guilty?
JUSTINE. Monsieur, I loved your brother just as I loved you.
ELIZABETH. The Priest...what did the Father threaten, Justine?
JUSTINE. Excommunication. Hell-fire. Eternal damnation unless
I would admit to a crime that none but the Devil himself could have committed. May God in Heaven forgive me; I confessed so that I might gain absolution. I confessed, yes, but only for to save my immortal soul. Yet I could not bear to leave this world allowing you to believe that your Justine... (Sobbing, she crawls on her knees toward VICTOR.) ...oh, Monsieur Victor, I pray, I beg you, do not think me guilty!
VICTOR. (Unable to look at her.) Don't...please, Justine...I know it was not you.
ELIZABETH. (Kneeling to embrace JUSTINE.) Shhh, shhh...we will everywhere proclaim your innocence.
JUSTINE. God bless you both. In these last moments, I take my comfort in your kindness. (JUSTINE helps the weeping ELIZABETH rise to her feet.) Come, Mademoiselle, dry your tears. You...you ought to cheer me. Bid me think of a better world. By the good Lord's mercy, I shall be there -- in paradise -- with our own little William. Oh, the thought of it does console me!
PRIEST. (In doorway, summoning.) Mademoiselle Moritz.
JUSTINE. Yes, Father. (JUSTINE turns toward VICTOR as a distant drum pounds a heartbeat.) Monsieur Victor, it was kind of you to visit me. I am very grateful.
VICTOR. (Still unable to make eye contact.) Oh, Justine....
JUSTINE. And you, sweet lady, my friend -- let this be the end of all misfortune. Live. Be happy. And make others so.
PRIEST. My child, it is time.
JUSTINE. (Slowly stepping toward PRIEST.) Yes, Father. Thank you, Father. (ELIZABETH reaches out and wails in miserable despair as doors close behind JUSTINE. ELIZABETH rushes into VICTOR's arms; he mechanically strokes her head: an attempt to comfort her in his overbearing guilt. Wall rises as heartbeat crescendos. Heartbeat stops with the sound of a scaffold trapdoor crashing open. Rear screen reveals swinging silhouette of JUSTINE, hanging by the neck from a rope. Lights rise on SL box to reveal JUSTINE standing in pose of a corpse. (Domed light which points towards audience glows for a moment, then lights fade to Blackout. Sound of hollow wind.)
Act I, Scene vi
(Lights rise on arctic landscape.)
FRANKENSTEIN. Not Justine! No! It -- it was supposed to have died! I never conceived it capable of surviving on its own. My every hope for happiness was shattered the moment I beheld my creation -- that awful demon -- in the storm. All my noble efforts had turned against me and there could be no rest until I extinguished the evil that
I had unleashed upon our world.
WALTON. But how could you be so certain that your creature was the murderer?
FRANKENSTEIN. I knew!
WALTON. Then why did you not inform the Magistrate? Your governess's life might have been spared.
FRANKENSTEIN. But what was I to tell him? That an animated corpse had committed the crime? Why, I'd have been locked away for a madman, wouldn't I? Well? Wouldn't I? To stay silent was to be free; free to seek out the monster.
WALTON. If only we had known; to think that only this morning he was so near...
FRANKENSTEIN. What? You've seen him?
WALTON. It looked to be a man, but it disappeared before I could fetch out my telescope. Nevertheless, I thought it wise to investigate...
BENNETT. And so here we are, stuck in the middle of a blizzard, listening to a lunatic.
FRANKENSTEIN. I knew you wouldn't believe me.
WALTON. (To BENNETT.) Have you no pity?
BENNETT. Aye, sir; I'll pity you right enough if you don't that this story of his -- true or no -- for a lesson and let us all sail back home to England.
FRANKENSTEIN. Coward! You would venture this far only to flee in the face of danger?
BENNETT. Damn right I would! I'd rather live a coward than die a fool. This whole expedition is nothing but folly.
FRANKENSTEIN. Don't listen to him, Captain Walton. I beg you instead stay; stay and take up my quest. Say you'll find the creature. (Dim light begins to rise on SL box wherein the CREATURE stands in falling snow.)
WALTON. I would apprehend him. I would see him brought to justice.
FRANKENSTEIN. No, you must kill him on sight!
TRENT. Never! There's got to be a trial! Every man's got a right to a trial!
FRANKENSTEIN. But he is not a man! Don't you understand? He is death. His sole delight is blood, carnage and suffering.
CREATURE. (Pressing hands against the box wall.) No! No!
WALTON. (Startled at the sound.) What in the name of....
FRANKENSTEIN. It is he!
CREATURE. (Calling across.) Frankenstein!
WALTON. Men, have your pistols at the ready!
FRANKENSTEIN. (Also pressing hands against box.) Murderer! Demon!
BENNETT. Quiet! You'll have us all killed!
WALTON. (A call.) Whoever you are, stand forward! Show yourself!
CREATURE. No. You must not see me. You would despise me.
WALTON. What do you want?
WALTON. That you cannot have.
FRANKENSTEIN. Shoot him! Kill him! Let there be an end to my suffering!
CREATURE. I, too, have suffered! Tell them, Frankenstein.
WALTON. What? What would you have him tell us?
CREATURE. The truth. My story. My sorrows.
WALTON. (To FRANKENSTEIN.) His story? There is more?
FRANKENSTEIN. (A moan.) Oh, God, still he torments me.
WALTON. Better do as he says. Tell us, Dr. Frankenstein. After Justine's execution, what happened then?
FRANKENSTEIN. We mourned. Father's health was deeply shaken by the events; Elizabeth looked after him. I told them both that I needed to take a journey into the mountains to recover from my illness of before. (Lights fade on CREATURE as stage floor begins to fill with mist. Silhouette of VICTOR, with walking stick, slowly trekking across the stage.) Beneath the awful majesty of Mont Blanc there is a vast, troubled sea of ice: the Mer de Glace, which winds among the glittering peaks. There, as I walked amidst this great and terrible beauty, I beheld the figure of a man. It was he -- he whom I had created.
(CREATURE rises up from the mist and slowly approaches VICTOR.)
VICTOR. (Turning his face away in revulsion.) Devil! Fiend! You dare approach me?!
CREATURE. You. I remember. You ran away. Who are you?
VICTOR. God forgive me, I am your maker.
VICTOR. Yes. And now I shall be your destroyer.
CREATURE. You made me, and yet you would destroy me? Why?
VICTOR. You killed my brother, did you not? Did you not?!
CREATURE. I did not mean to harm the boy.
VICTOR. If only by your death I could restore him! (VICTOR sobs.)
CREATURE. (A pause.) Why did you make me ugly?
VICTOR. What?! You reproach me for giving you life? Very well, then I shall take it back again! (VICTOR, stick upraised, lunges toward the CREATURE who, with a stiff arm to VICTOR's chest, sends him sprawling on the ground.)
CREATURE. You hate me.
VICTOR. Yes. Yes.
CREATURE. All men hate me. I am alone. You have made me to suffer.
VICTOR. The tortures of hell are not suffering enough, yet even still I'll see you dead again.
CREATURE. No. I will live. (Beat.) Hear me.
VICTOR. (Rising and stepping away.) I will not. You are my enemy.
CREATURE. I am your son! (CREATURE places his hands on VICTOR's shoulders to command his attention.) Hear me! (They freeze.)
FRANKENSTEIN. "I am your son." His words more than his touch made me shudder, as the truth in it seized my thoughts: had I not given him life? Did I not owe him a word in his own defense? I could say nothing. I listened. (VICTOR and CREATURE retreat upstage into the fog as lights fade on arctic and stage floor while light rises on SL box to reveal CREATURE DOUBLE, who pantomimes actions and movements to FRANKENSTEIN's voice-over narration.)
Act I, Scene vii
FRANKENSTEIN. (Voice-over.) He told me first of a darkness: a realm without thought or sensation. But with the lightning came a bright and sudden flood of sight, sound, touch and smell. And he perceived my figure before him, crying out in terror before leaving him too swiftly again alone. Confused...afraid...he awkwardly tried to follow me, wandering aimlessly in the storm, through the night, until he reached a forest outside Ingolstadt. To slake his thirst there was only the rain. There was nothing to eat. Hungry, helpless, he fell asleep. When next he woke a great sphere hovered in the sky. It was the moon: gentle and white. This pleased him, for the moon allowed him now to better see his world. (Sound of forest creatures.) He noticed there were other beings too, living in the wood. And that was comforting. The nights to follow were spent foraging nuts and berries from the ground and water from pools and streams. But one evening he came upon a sight of great wonder indeed: he saw light -- not in the sky, but on the ground. (GYPSIES enter and campfires glow from the floor. Light fades on SL box with CREATURE DOUBLE. Music and singing; laughter and ad-libbed Romanian conversation from GYPSIES.) And to his ears came sounds unlike any he had heard before. He drew near and saw that there were creatures...creatures like himself. (CREATURE timidly enters campsite and is unobserved for a few moments. Suddenly a GYPSY CHILD sees CREATURE and screams. Two or three GYPSY MEN attack CREATURE, but he is seemingly impervious to their blows. GYPSIES, frightened, exit. CREATURE investigates campsite and picks up a cloak: touching and sniffing it. Carrying cloak with him, he moves to one of the campfires. He reaches out toward it, touching the embers, and screams in pain. As he does so, GYPSIES reappear with flaming torches in hand and CREATURE flees with GYPSIES in pursuit. Campfires out.) He fled in terror. The land grew barren and rose up into great mountains of cold stone and ice. (Wall descends to floor as CREATURE enters DS and lies, face down, moaning.) Here he rested and wondered why -- why was he so despised by those creatures? Were they not his own kind? And then the moon shone down in reply and he saw, frozen in the ice around him, his own hideous reflection. (CREATURE turns upstage and crawls toward his reflection in the wall. He touches it and then wails in anguish.) Who would he find in the world who might look upon his wretched face with affection? Where might he find refuge? (CREATURE whirls away from his reflection and drops out of sight into the pit.)
Act I, Scene viii
(Doors to wall open and three Alpine peasants enter. Young adults FELIX and AGATHA and their white-haired father DE LACEY, who wears a gauze bandage wrapped around his head and covering his eyes. DE LACEY sits on a wooden stool near one glowing fire as AGATHA and FELIX kneel at his feet.)
FRANKENSTEIN. (Continued, voice-over, during preceding.) In a mountain valley stood a lonely cottage. The Creature dared not show himself, but he discovered an entrance to a tiny root cellar from where he could peer through a chink in the wall. There he did hide and looked upon the only home, the only family, he would ever know. (CREATURE pokes his head up over edge of pit to observe. DE LACEY hands FELIX a tattered prayer book.)
DE LACEY. Felix, will you read?
FELIX. "My joy is the Lord,
and my impulse is towards Him:
FELIX. (Continued.) “He who became like me, who took my form,
That I might not turn away from Him,
And so He could pity me in His abundant grace."
DE LACEY. Thank you, Felix. (Passing book to AGATHA.) Agatha, will you continue?
AGATHA. Yes, Father.
"Then let me sing to the Lord in my joy,
And let me play the harp of many tones,
Because the knowledge of the Lord hath arrived.
And there shall not be anyone
or anything that is mute,
For he hath given a mouth to His creation,
To open the voice towards Him, to praise Him.
DE LACEY & FELIX. Alleluia.
DE LACEY. Amen.
AGATHA & FELIX. Amen.
CREATURE. (Softly, in wonder.) Ahh...mmen... (Lights slowly dim on the family as FELIX steps to rekindle the dying fire. Isolated pool of light remains on CREATURE as lights slowly fade on DE LACEY tableau.)
FRANKENSTEIN. (Voice-over.) The sounds they uttered were pleasing to the ear, and the Creature longed to make them too. As the winter passed he made great progress by mimicking their speech, as he understood it to be a means of communicating with others. By spring, he had made of that cellar a home...
FRANKENSTEIN. (Voice-over.) ...sleeping by day...
FRANKENSTEIN. (Voice-over.) ...rising at night...
FRANKENSTEIN. (Voice-over.) ...to observe his adopted family.
CREATURE. Family. Father: man. Agatha: woman. Felix: man.
Act I, Scene ix
(Lights quickly rise again on DE LACEY cottage. FELIX and AGATHA are preparing to depart. CREATURE drops out of view.)
DE LACEY. Felix, I wish you were not going.
FELIX. We need the food, Father.
DE LACEY. But I don't fancy the thought of you two traveling by night.
FELIX. And we don't like leaving you alone at night.
DE LACEY. Bah! Night, day; to a blind man what's the difference?
FELIX. Would it make you feel better if Agatha stayed?
AGATHA. I wouldn't mind.
DE LACEY. What? Should I deprive you of the first opportunity in months for you to mingle with society?
AGATHA. It's only the village market.
DE LACEY. It's people. Go, then -- go. But take care. With the spring thaw come avalanche, you know.
AGATHA. (Kissing DE LACEY's cheek.) We'll take care.
FELIX. You can expect us back home before sunset tomorrow.
DE LACEY. Sunset, sunrise; to a blind man...
DE LACEY, AGATHA, FELIX. ...what's the difference?
FELIX. (Heading out the door.) Goodbye, Father.
DE LACEY. Goodbye. (FELIX and AGATHA exit. DE LACEY calls after them.) Now don't forget to ask after any news from Paris!
AGATHA & FELIX. (Offstage.) Yes, Father! (DE LACEY picks up his guitar and begins to strum softly. CREATURE appears, approaching doorway of cottage, rehearsing words under his breath.)
CREATURE. Hello. Hello. Hel...
DE LACEY. (Stopping strumming, ear cocked.) Hello? Is anyone there? (CREATURE does not answer. DE LACEY resumes playing. CREATURE suddenly blurts out loudly.)
DE LACEY. (Setting down guitar.) I knew it had to be someone. Come in, come in; warm yourself by the fire.
CREATURE. The fire. It is warm. Yes?
DE LACEY. I haven't much more than this to offer you, I'm afraid.
DE LACEY. If only we had any, I would gladly give you...
CREATURE. No. Food I give to you. (He hands DE LACEY a small package of nuts wrapped in leaves.)
DE LACEY. What's this? Oh, I see -- nuts. Why, that's very kind of you. Will you have some?
CREATURE. No. Thank you.
DE LACEY. (Tasting a couple.) By the way, my name is Gaston De Lacey.
CREATURE. De Lacey.
DE LACEY. That's right. And yours?
CREATURE. My name?
DE LACEY. Yes.
CREATURE. (Thinking.) Uhhhh... Felix!
DE LACEY. No!
DE LACEY. What a coincidence this is! I've a son named Felix. Do you know what "Felix" means? It's the Latin word for "happy." But then you probably knew that, since it's your own name.
DE LACEY. And I am most happy to make your acquaintance. (DE LACEY holds out his hand for CREATURE to shake it, but CREATURE doesn't. DE LACEY shrugs, drops his hand.) Where do you make your home, Felix? Near? Far?
CREATURE. Home? Home is near.
DE LACEY. You don't say. We're neighbors then, are we? You must forgive me, the children and I have not met many people as of yet, having lived here only since the summer. We come from Paris.
DE LACEY. Yes. I was once a wealthy man, but for my beliefs I was stripped of my possessions and imprisoned by the state. It was in prison I fell ill and lost my sight -- no doubt you've noticed I am blind. Felix and his bride were finally able to beg my release, but I had to agree to live in exile, far away from my country and my friends.
DE LACEY. Oh, but why trouble you with my petty sorrows? You -- a stranger.
CREATURE. A friend. I would be.
DE LACEY. Very well; we shall be friends. But I must say, you are a fellow of few words, Felix. (A thought.) But of course -- here I've been assuming you're a Frenchman like myself. You're not French at all, are you?
DE LACEY. Then I'll not trouble you to speak. I seem to be talking enough for the both of us as it is. But I do get lonely without the children for company.
DE LACEY. Felix, might I convince you to rest here for the night? Please do say yes.
CREATURE. Yes. I will rest here. (CREATURE has picked up the guitar and accidentally brushes the strings.) Music.
DE LACEY. (Reaching for guitar.) Yes. Do you play? I'll show you, if you like. Here, give me your hand. (DE LACEY reaches for CREATURE's hand; he is reticent to allow it.) Don't be shy; it's really quite simple. Your hand, Felix. (CREATURE allows DE LACEY to take it.) Good heavens -- how cold it is! (DE LACEY's touch travels up CREATURE's arm toward his face. CREATURE pulls away.) Forgive me. I only wanted to touch your face to know what you look like. But it doesn't matter, does it? You just sit and warm those cold hands by the fire while I play for you a song, eh? A quiet, simple song. Without words. (DE LACEY strums the guitar. CREATURE sits at DE LACEY's feet by the fire, slowly lifting his face upward to listen. He raises a hand to his own cheek and wipes away a tear. Lights slowly fade to Blackout.)
END OF ACT I
Act II, Scene i
(Lights rise on DE LACEY cottage scene, as at end of Act I. DE LACEY quietly plays guitar as CREATURE sits at his feet and listens.)
AGATHA. (Offstage; a call.) Hello? Father? (CREATURE, startled, rises to his knees.)
FELIX. (Offstage, approaching.) Father -- we've had to come back!
DE LACEY. Well, well, it seems you shall meet the youngsters after all... (Rises to his feet; a call.) Hello!
CREATURE. (Anxious.) No! No!
DE LACEY. What is the matter, my friend?
AGATHA. (Nearer.) You were right, Father; an avalanche has blocked the pass.
CREATURE. (On his knees, clutching DE LACEY's hand.) Help me! (DE LACEY reaches down to comfort CREATURE.)
DE LACEY. You've nothing to fear; it's only my children... (Feeling CREATURE's face.) What?! Great God, your face; what in heaven's name...? (AGATHA enters cottage and begins removing her cloak; FELIX is a few steps behind.)
AGATHA. Father? (Seeing CREATURE clinging to DE LACEY.) Oh, no, oh God, no! (AGATHA covers her face in revulsion.)
DE LACEY. (To CREATURE.) Who are you?
CREATURE. (To CHILDREN.) Go away! Leave us!
DE LACEY. (To CREATURE.) Release me!
CREATURE. Father, save me!
FELIX. (Leaping at CREATURE.) Father! (He tears CREATURE from DE LACEY, who drops guitar into fire; AGATHA continues screaming.)
CREATURE. Father! No! (DE LACEY stands dazed as AGATHA grabs him and they flee.)
AGATHA. Father! Come with me! Run quickly!
CREATURE. No! (FELIX grabs flaming guitar from the fire and rushes at CREATURE. CREATURE reaches up and grabs FELIX's arm, forcing the young man to drop the weapon back into the fire. For a moment, CREATURE appears about to harm FELIX, but finally releases him.) Go! Go! Go away! (FELIX rushes off. CREATURE remains, gasping. A moan of sorrow develops into a roar of rage. CREATURE grabs flaming guitar and brandishes it wildly about the room, continued to roar and wail. Stage fills with smoke and red, flickering flame.)
Go away! Away! Away! (CREATURE rushes out the door through the smoke and wall flies out. Smoke disperses as sound of flames segues into birds and rushing brook. A German peasant girl, GRETA rushes to water's edge [orchestra pit], followed by a young man, PETER, who carries a hunting rifle.)
PETER. Sei Vorsichtig, daB du nicht ins Wasser fallst.
GRETA. Aber du wurdest mich retten, nicht war?
GRETA. Denkst du daB ich schon bin?
PETER. Ja, naturlich.
GRETA. Aber du bist nur ein gewohnlivher Jagers Sohn. Glaubst du daB du mich einfangen kann? Als Anfang kannst du mir Blumen bringen.
PETER. Aber welche Blumen kann mann finen?
GRETA. Lieber Junge! Korkuse und Narzissen sind nur dadruben. Geh! (PETER starts off, then pauses.)
PETER. Aber wirst du auf mich warten?
GRETA. (A giggle.) Vielleicht. (PETER quickly exits to gather the flowers GRETA requested as she walks along the edge of the pit, gazing at her reflection in the water.) Aber beeile dich! Ich glaube daB ich die Blumen ins Haar flecthen were. Ja, das ware lieblich. Viel zu lieblich fur ihn -- armer, haB licher Bursch! (CREATURE enters, looking offstage warily, as if concerned he is being pursued. Neither CREATURE nor GRETA notice they are about to collide. GRETA suddenly looks up as CREATURE also turns and they look face to face. GRETA shrieks, loses her balance, and is about to fall into the brook but CREATURE catches her in his arms and saves her. GRETA faints in his arms. PETER enters, holding a bunch of spring flowers, and sees CREATURE holding GRETA.)
PETER. (Raising rifle.) Greta! Greta, nein! (CREATURE places GRETA on the ground and moves toward PETER, who fires rifle and runs. CREATURE grabs his arm in pain and slowly sinks to the ground as lights isolate him in a single, lonely pool.)
CREATURE. (Voice-over.) In saving the girl's life, my reward was greater pain. All men hated the sight of me, and I began to hate Man who made me to suffer so. Above all, I grew to hate my Maker. (In both tower boxes stand CREATURE DOUBLES, staring silently down at CREATURE seated CS. Lights in boxes fade to Blackout momentarily, then rise again to reveal VICTOR DOUBLES in place of CREATURE DOUBLES; also staring silently. Images fade. CREATURE reclines, weeping, and falls asleep as dappled forest light fills the stage.
(WILLIAM enters with a golden locket hanging around his neck. He approaches sleeping CREATURE, whose face is turned away and hidden by the hood of the cloak he long ago had taken from the Gypsy camp.)
WILLIAM. What are you doing? (CREATURE stirs.) Justine fell asleep too. Will you play a game with me?
CREATURE. Go away.
WILLIAM. See my locket? Isn't it pretty? There's a picture of my brother.
CREATURE. (A glance, then moves toward boy.) Who...who is this? (Grabs at the locket.) I remember him; tell me his name!
WILLIAM. Victor Frankenstein. How did you hurt your face?
CREATURE. What?! His name is what?!
WILLIAM. (Now frightened.) Victor Frankenstein! Let me go! (Calling.) Justine? Justine?
CREATURE. (Clasping a hand over WILLIAM's mouth.) No! Don't! Don't cry out! (WILLIAM continues to scream and CREATURE lifts him into the air; WILLIAM chokes and soon goes limp. CREATURE is surprised and confused; he shakes the boy and then sets him on the ground. He gently shakes WILLIAM a few times, hoping to revive him, but the child is dead. CREATURE whines pitifully as he slowly rises and drags WILLIAM offstage. Lights crossfade as SL tower turntable rotates to reveal JUSTINE, asleep, on the ground. CREATURE enters with locket dangling from his hand. He notices JUSTINE, freezes, then slowly approaches her, crouches above her, and lightly touches her hair. JUSTINE stirs; CREATURE, startled, drops locket on JUSTINE's bosom. A pause. CREATURE reaches to retrieve locket, but JUSTINE moans and begins to awaken. CREATURE rushes away in fear as JUSTINE sits up, causing the locket to slide down her front and into the large pouch of her apron. JUSTINE looks about her.)
JUSTINE. William? William? (Rises to her feet and calls.) William Frankenstein, where are you? William? (She begins to exit as stage fills with mist. Her calls grow more urgent.) William! William?! William! (Lights fade.)
Act II, Scene ii
(Scenery/sound/lights/actors shift back to Act I, Scene vi "Mer de Glace" setting: VICTOR and CREATURE standing in confrontation as FRANKENSTEIN's cries overlap with JUSTINE's fading call.)
FRANKENSTEIN. William! Justine! It was me. My picture in the locket. My creation. I was responsible!
CREATURE. (Solemnly, to VICTOR.) Why, Frankenstein? Why did you make me?
VICTOR. I meant to rid the world of death. Of pain. My mother had died and...
CREATURE. How? How did you make me?
VICTOR. From death. Corpses. I robbed graves. I assembled... (A cry of rage.) You were to be like me! Like me! But the storm; there wasn't time. I was ill, insane, I... when you were not in my rooms I thought for certain you had died. Damn you, you should have died!
CREATURE. Yes. (Beat.) But I will live.
VICTOR. You cannot!
CREATURE. I will. And you shall help me.
CREATURE. (Grabbing VICTOR by the throat.) Yes!
VICTOR. How? How help you?
CREATURE. You will make another.
CREATURE. Another. Like me. A friend for me.
VICTOR. No! No, I won't! I would rather die!
CREATURE. Very well! (He lifts VICTOR over his head. VICTOR screams in terror.)
VICTOR. No! Stop! (CREATURE drops him to the ground. VICTOR lies in a heap, weeping.) You wretched, miserable....
CREATURE. Miserable? Yes, because all my kindnesses have been met with hate. Wretched -- because I am not like you. All creatures seem to have another, while I... I am alone.
VICTOR. And if...if I agree to do as you ask ...then what?
CREATURE. We would leave you in peace. I do not like your society. My friend and I would live together, far away from Man...
VICTOR. Never again would you harm another human being?
VICTOR. You would go away and stay away from all places inhabited by Man? To this you would swear?
CREATURE. But if you will not do as I bid, I swear my undying hatred and destruction, until you, Victor Frankenstein, should curse the hour of your birth, as I do mine.
VICTOR. You give me no choice.
CREATURE. Go. Begin the work. I will be there when she is ready.
VICTOR. (Appalled.) "She?!"
CREATURE. Go! (VICTOR slowly exits as lights fade on CREATURE watching.)
Act II, Scene iii
(Lights rise on SR tower box: arctic landscape.)
WALTON. My God; what did you do?!
FRANKENSTEIN. With the Creature's threats of revenge looming above my head, I hastened home to Geneva -- but only for another farewell. I told Father that I wanted to complete my studies.... (Lights rise on SL box; ALPHONSE standing; VICTOR DOUBLE facing him.)
ALPHONSE. Another two years, Victor? Now, don't misunderstand me when I ask you to weigh your desire to become a physician against your commitment to marry Elizabeth. Is there a reason -- beyond your studies -- which causes you to delay this union? (ALPHONSE raises his hand to silence VICTOR DOUBLE's reply.) I expect no answer. Go back to Ingolstadt, if you truly feel you must. God grant the time pass swiftly until -- at your wedding -- we are all again united and happy. Only remember, my son, that a man of honor is bound by his obligations. (Lights fade SL.)
FRANKENSTEIN. Bound I was, by a promise to Elizabeth and a bargain with a monster. Bound like Prometheus, who was chained by the gods to a rock of perpetual anguish for stealing that forbidden flame of Heaven. Yes, I -- the would-be Master -- had become instead the salve to my Creation. (Lights dim on arctic box as platform glides downstage into "laboratory" position. A sheet-covered corpse of a FEMALE lies on the table. VICTOR sits in the chair beside it, a pan of bloody water on the floor. VICTOR, exhausted, drinks from a bottle of liquor. He pick up a dismembered hand from the pan, then drops it back in.)
VICTOR. Oh God, I cannot go on with this. How could I have been so blind before. not to see this filth, this abomination? (Another swig; then suddenly alert, looking furtively about the room.) You're watching me, aren't you? Waiting? You want your bride. But remember -- you swore you would leave. You swore! (Another awful thought.) But she...she has not sworn. What if she will not go away? What if she, too, hates the very sight of him? What then? His rage will swell in a fury of death. Or...or if they should live together as man and wife, then couldn't... wouldn't there be children? (A moment of awful silence. Finally VICTOR slowly opens a box of surgical instruments and removes a scalpel. He rises.) No. No. I will not be godfather to a race of demons. (Calmly, VICTOR steps to the corpse and pulls the sheet down to the waist, revealing an unfinished face of a FEMALE with a bare torso and chest. VICTOR slits open the corpse's neck. He covers corpse again with the sheet and then, with sudden fury, stabs at the chest repeatedly, the sheet oozing with blood. CREATURE rushes into room to tableside.)
CREATURE. Stop! No! Frankenstein! (VICTOR steps away; CREATURE pulls down sheet and looks at corpse with a gasp of anguish.) You...you fiend! You destroy her?
CREATURE. (Reverently replacing sheet over corpse.) You destroy my only hope? (Beat. A growing growl.) You...you dare?!
VICTOR. I do. You will have no mate.
CREATURE. Frankenstein, you shall regret this deed.
VICTOR. Had I set loose upon this world another demon such as you...that -- that would have proven my greatest regret.
CREATURE. You do not fear my wrath?
VICTOR. No. My hour of weakness is past. Kill me if you wish, but you shall never have a bride.
CREATURE. Then neither shall you.
VICTOR. (Brandishing scalpel.) Your threats mean nothing to me.
I no longer fear death.
CREATURE. Don't you?
VICTOR. Now go!
CREATURE. I will. But beware, Victor Frankenstein, for I will keep near. I will be with you on your wedding night.
VICTOR. Villain! Before you sign my death warrant, make certain you, yourself, are safe. (He lashes out with the scalpel; CREATURE clutches his wounded arm and laughs.)
CREATURE. But like you, Victor, neither do I fear death. How should I? For I...I am death. (Maniacal laughter as CREATURE runs DS and leaps into the pit with a sound of shattering glass, as if he jumped through a window. Blackout. Lights rise on arctic landscape.)
FRANKENSTEIN. My equipment I disassembled; my books I burnt so that no one might learn my terrible secrets and thus be tempted to build another demon of woe. But all the while, I recalled the Creature's words... (Dim light rises on CREATURE DOUBLE in SL tower box.)
CREATURE. (Voice-over.) Beware, Frankenstein, for I shall be with you on your wedding night.
FRANKENSTEIN. My wedding, then, was to be the hour of my death. But I was resolved not to be taken without a bitter struggle, and I fully intended that my wretched creation would die along with me. This was my hope.
CREATURE. (Voice-over.) You have destroyed my only hope.
FRANKENSTEIN. With my doctor's certificate in hand, I did at last return home to take Elizabeth Lavenza as my bride...and, I feared, as my widow....
Act II, Scene iv
(Towers rotate. Lights reveal stage setting as follows: on platform, SR, two chair and a table. SL, a chaise lounge. Wall unit is in, upstage of it, flanking doors, two candelabrum decorated with flowers and ribbons. ELIZABETH, dressed in wedding gown with long, lace train, enters and crosses to chaise, followed by her maid CHRISTINE. They chatter happily as doors open and ALPHONSE, PRIEST and other WEDDING GUESTS enter the room. ALPHONSE and PRIEST sit in chairs SR and converse silently.)
CHRISTINE. A lovelier bride there never was, Mademoiselle Lavenza.
ELIZABETH. You are most kind in saying so, Christine, but I doubt it's true. If only Victor had allowed me more than ten days to prepare; so very anxious he's been...
VICTOR. (Appearing above in tower "doorway.") Elizabeth?
ELIZABETH. Victor?! The carriages can't have arrived so soon; I'm not yet ready.
VICTOR. No. You've still a little time. Might I...please may I speak with you a moment? Alone?
CHRISTINE. (With a knowing smile and curtsy.) If you'll excuse me, Mademoiselle, I'll go fetch your bouquet.
ELIZABETH. Thank you, Christine. (CHRISTINE exits. VICTOR stands nervously, gazing at Elizabeth.) What is it, my love?
VICTOR. Father has arranged for us to spend the night at Evian.
ELIZABETH. I know.
VICTOR. Oh, but of course you do. But I... I was wondering if you'd mind awfully traveling by boat. Across the lake. Just the two of us, instead of going by carriage through the countryside.
ELIZABETH. Why, Victor, how romantic. I'd be delighted to go by boat. Yes. (A pause. VICTOR stands and looks away nervously.) Victor, is that all you have to ask me? Isn't there something else?
VICTOR. (Turning back to her; grasping her hands.) I... I love you.
I want you always to recall this day, and of how much I do love you, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH. I'm glad. But that's not it either. I can tell, you know, from your eyes. Something's troubling you, Victor. (She gently pulls him down to sit beside her.) Is it our many sorrows these past years still haunting you, my darling? For I, too, wish your mother and William and Justine were here with us today. But Victor, please, let us end, for good and all, our time of mourning. Let us be joyful once again.
VICTOR. Are you?
VICTOR. (A tight embrace.) It's all I ever wanted: your happiness. Remember it? Remember it always?
ELIZABETH. Victor, you're trembling! You seem so frightened... (She pulls away; a pistol, dislodged from VICTOR's vest pocket in their embrace, falls to the floor.) Victor! A gun? Whatever for?
VICTOR. (Retrieving pistol.) Pay no attention, Elizabeth, please....
ELIZABETH. Why do you carry a weapon to our wedding?
VICTOR. I'll tell you...tomorrow. For today, I beg you, put it from your mind. You needn't be concerned; not today. This day, you should be happy.
HENRY. (Appearing in door.) Why, Victor Frankenstein! I might have know I'd find you here. The coaches are coming up the drive. Away with you, now. Don't you know it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony? You will excuse us, Mademoiselle.
(HENRY takes VICTOR's arm and guides him away.)
VICTOR. I love you, Elizabeth.
HENRY. (As they exit.) For heaven's sake, Victor -- don't you think she knows that already?
ELIZABETH. (A concerned call.) Victor...! (She is alone. Troubled, Elizabeth paces back and forth, then impatiently calls.) Christine? Christine, hurry! It's time to leave for the chapel! (She sits at edge of chaise and fumbles with her train and prayer book.) Christine?!
CHRISTINE. (Offstage, distant.) Yes, Ma'mselle! (ELIZABETH is unaware of the door in tower behind her slowly opening to reveal CREATURE standing above her.)
ELIZABETH. (Another call.) Christine! (Her call is interrupted as CREATURE leaps onto the chaise, grabs ELIZABETH by her shoulders and winds the lace train around her throat, choking her. CHRISTINE enters carrying bridal bouquet.)
CHRISTINE. Sorry, Ma'mselle, I... (Seeing CREATURE with lifeless ELIZABETH in his arms, she screams in terror and runs through the doors USC, falling into HENRY's arms, who has rushed in at the sound of the scream. GUESTS look through open doors to see CREATURE. They, too, shriek and recoil in horror as CREATURE lets ELIZABETH's body drop to the floor. ALPHONSE rises and clutches his chest, then falls back into the chair as PRIEST tends him.)
CREATURE. (A sinister laugh.) No bride! (HENRY rushes toward CREATURE who grabs him by the neck and breaks it. HENRY, too, falls lifeless to the floor. VICTOR rushes into room.) No friend.
VICTOR. (Pulling pistol from his vest.) Me! Me! Damn you, you were supposed to kill me! (VICTOR pulls the trigger, but it doesn't fire. He tries repeatedly but it is hopeless. He falls to his knees, weeping.) Me... me....
CREATURE. Now are we alike. Now you are alone. Like me. Miserable wretch. I am satisfied. (CREATURE closes the door and walks away. VICTOR crawls to ELIZABETH and hugs her as lights dim and an enormous white shroud is pulled up from the pit and over the victims and GUESTS who remain beneath it, now still, becoming a vast arctic landscape of snow dunes. Wall flies out.)
Act II, Scene v
(The hollow moaning of the wind. The rear screen is filled with starlight in a blue-black void. Lights reveal WALTON, BENNETT and TRENT DSR, huddled around the shivering, dying FRANKENSTEIN. Snow gently falls.)
FRANKENSTEIN. Since my wedding day I have pursued him: my enemy, my...son. Oh, what a bitter road is revenge. Now am I bound
in this cold, eternal hell -- blind, broken -- never again to rise. Never again to know another love like Elizabeth. Never again a friend such
WALTON. I would be your friend. I would.
FRANKENSTEIN. No. Their voices call in my ear; their forms appear and beckon me. I hasten to their arms.
WALTON. No. Don't die. Please, Victor...
FRANKENSTEIN. Farewell, Explorer. Return to your home, your friends, for they are precious things. Shun your pride and wild ambitions, however innocent and promising they seem, else prepare to meet their oft-cruel dangers too. Oh, how cold, so cruel a destiny it is...that he should live...still.... (FRANKENSTEIN dies. A moment's silence. WALTON slowly rises, then shouts into the cast emptiness.)
WALTON. Are you satisfied? Are you?! (No sound but the wind.) Come! Come on, then -- Victor Frankenstein is dead! It's what you wanted, isn't it? (From out of the snow the CREATURE appears, slowly approaching the EXPLORERS. The men sense the CREATURE's presence and, seeing him, gasp with fear and disgust. They draw their pistols and take aim.)
CREATURE. I did not want this.
WALTON. Your repentance comes too late.
CREATURE. Yet I feel it. I have a heart. I would have loved, but I was forced to hate. And although you may despise me, you cannot match the hatred that I feel for myself. Had I not been abandoned, had I been beautiful to look upon, had only I been loved... Ah, but it is too late -- for both him and me. It is finished. Go.
BENNETT. (A whispered plea, to WALTON.) Come along, Captain.
BENNETT. The storm has passed.
WALTON. Not yet! (To CREATURE.) Sir! This pistol is well loaded. (He fires it into the air, then aims again at CREATURE.) At long last, now you will die.
CREATURE. Come, then, Captain -- will you come join us then, in murder? Come, let your hands be stained with blood! But I would counsel you instead to reconsider. Think,Captain. Then allow me to spare you great guilt.
WALTON. What are you saying?
CREATURE. Only that there is nothing left for me in this world. No home. No hope. All I have is a sled, built of wood. Of it, I would make a fire. In its flames I will die. (WALTON lets his pistol hand drop to his side.)
WALTON. Mr. Bennett, Mr. Trent. Back to the ship. We're going home.
BENNETT. Home, Captain?
TRENT. Home to England?
WALTON. Yes. To England. We were not prepared for such an expedition. (Turning to exit, away from CREATURE.) Carry the poor soul, will you?
CREATURE. (A step toward FRANKENSTEIN's body.) No! (EXPLORERS aim their pistols again.) I beg you, please. He would not have me live with him. Cannot you let me die with him?
(A pause. WALTON finally nods to BENNETT and TRENT, then turns away. EXPLORERS exit. CREATURE kneels beside FRANKENSTEIN and takes the corpse over his knee, looking for a moment into the frozen, lifeless face. CREATURE rises with FRANKENSTEIN in his arms and slowly carries him upstage through the heavily falling snow. The lamp pointing towards audience glows with full, blinding intensity for a few moments, then fades to reveal the stage completely cleared except for an image of the cosmos projected on the screen and reflected a hundredfold on the empty mylar towers.)