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Frankenstein. videocassette. color.approx. 1:30 hrs. Globalstage. 1997. ISBN 1-892045-001. $24.95 (pub perf.)

Gr 5-9-- This video adaption of Mary Shelley's story is a play performed by Stage One in Louisville, Kentucky and filmed by a BBC crew. The story is introduced by Professor Elizabeth McNamer when she meets young Preston in a cemetery in preparation for their trip to the theater. After the play, she discusses scientific ethics and takes Preston backstage to meet the props designer/manager who explains the moving severed limb and throbbing heart. Viewers are invited to respond to issues raised by the play via Globalstage's website. The young cast dresses in 19th century clothes, but speaks in fairly contemporary American English. The monster is mesmerizing, the father a tad young, and Victor Frankenstein is young and perhaps not as emotional or deranged as might be expected. Youngsters raised on blockbuster film fare but new to plays may be confused when actors portray more than one character. The sets may appear simple. Screams and laughter from the live young audience can be heard. As in all theatrical presentations, departures from the original story abound. There is no Robert Walton, arctic explorer, listening to Frankenstein's tale. The female monster is not mentioned, and the ranging of the monster over time and distance is not successfully related. His acquisition of language and human action is hurriedly accomplished. Frankenstein himself isn't asked by authorities to explain the deaths happening all around him. Victor's cousin Elizabeth moves to Frankenstein's family home in Geneva and becomes engaged to Victor. Their romance is central in the play. This well-done presentation will be most successful in middle school literature and science classes.--Fritz Mitnick, Shaler North Hills Library, Glenshaw, PA

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