Adore and gore mold ‘Frankenstein in Love’

Xperimental Theatre and a passionate director take on a horrifying play

Katie Wilber

Frankenstein in Love’ is a play designed to disturb and scare its audience; to take them by their clammy hands Ö to show them sights that they will not readily forget.” ‘ Clive Barker

Theater arts junior Nic Hager discovered Barker’s play, which was inspired by Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” as a ninth-grader. He’s read it more than 50 times and wore through three copies of the book. So it’s only natural that he’d choose “Frankenstein in Love” as his directorial debut.

“Horror isn’t done on stage very often,” he said, “but this play thrusts the audience into this grotesque world.”

“Frankenstein in Love” is a mixture of topics and themes, much like its main character is a collage of body parts. The play is about love, death, decapitation, disease and betrayal.

In the play, Dr. Frankenstein creates Cesar Guerrero, a political visionary. Guerrero is a patchwork quilt of body parts, but his whole is more humane than the man who created him.

“He has no past of his own so he tries to cover that up,” said Noah Rios, who plays Guerrero.

Hager views the play as a cross between an Oscar Wilde play and Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus,” which has been called one of the most violent plays ever.

“The gory and horrific aspects contrast with romance and wit,” he said, “and it’s full of taboo topics and themes.”

The characters deal with heroin use and bestiality among other issues, and the morbidity pushes these to grotesque levels.

“The level of the horror is what makes the show’s themes so taboo,” Rios said.

The bizarre and shocking monstrosities of the play are interspersed with moments of dry humor and sarcasm. A character emulates Hamlet after discovering the head of his friend: “Alas poor Cicero ‘ I knew him well,” he declares. A woman asks Guerrero if he can waltz, and he says yes, he can, because his feet are Viennese. Humor in the face of atrocious acts against humanity makes the play even eerier.

The doctor’s creatures are more human and empathetic than the actual humans in the play. The doctor and his associates have no regard or respect for their fellow men ‘ or women.

This man that’s created by a mad scientist with a taste for decapitation isn’t a monster in platform shoes with bolts in his neck. This is a man ‘ albeit a pieced-together one ‘ with feelings and dreams and emotions.

Even the love story between Guerrero and Veronique, a woman used by Frankenstein for sex and experiments, seems out of place amid the blood and gore.

“He finds love and re-identifies himself,” Rios said. “By accepting what he is, in the end he becomes more human.”