September/October, 1998. p.17
(1997) 90 min. (study guide included). Globalstage Productions. PPR Color cover.
Professor Elizabeth McNamer and her young sidekick Preston Blakeley attend the Kentucky Center for the Arts for a live theatre production of the famous Mary Shelley classic. Told from the viewpoint of the independent young woman who loves him, Frankenstein is the story of a medical student, Victor Frankenstein, whose scientific experiences with creating life result in death and destruction when the monster he fashions terrorizes friends and family. No gory special effects here; our monster is in many respects a gentle giant whose menacing ways are softened by some comic capers. After the curtain calls, Preston and Professor McNamer talk about the ethics of scientific experimentation and human relationships. Successfully capturing the ambiance of the theater experience, this entertaining and thought-provoking stage adaptation is highly recommended for younger viewers. Aud: E, I, P.
December 1, 1998. p.684
Frankenstein. Globalstage. 1997. 91min. (pp). (1-892045-00-1).
822 Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein-Drama
Ages 8-adult. The pleasantly school-marmish Professor Elizabeth McNamer, earlier seen in BBC's Globalstage production of Cyrano [BKL O 1 98], returns with pre- and post-curtain commentary on Mary Shelley's classic of the corpse brought to life. An abbreviated adaptation of it is ably staged and shot. After the final credits, the prof and her young ward, Preston Blakeley [sic], go behind the scenes for a demonstration by the prop designer. An accessible drama lesson for kids and adults. - Jeff Dick
School Library Journal
October 1998, pp.71-72.
Frankenstein. videocassette. color.approx. 1:30 hrs. Globalstage. 1997. ISBN 1-892045-001.(pub perf.)
Gr 5-9-- This video adaptation 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
For parents seeking an alternative to the special effects wizardry of mainstream Halloween entertainment, check out this theatrical production of Frankenstein from Globalstage Productions. This new children's entertainment distributor was founded by a stock trader frustrated with what she considered to be a lack of quality fare for her own son. The play is performed by Stage One, one of the finest children's theaters in the United States, and filmed by the BBC.
Based on Mary Shelly's famous novel, Frankenstein follows scientist Victor Frankenstein's mission to discover the secret of eternal life. Blinded by his ambition, Dr. Frankenstein instead "gives birth" to a monster, and then must deal with the tragic consequences. Well-written and performed, the play is accompanied by a detailed study guide, and is preceded, as are all Globalstage productions, by an elaborate video introduction wherein public broadcasting personality Professor Elizabeth McNamer provides background on Mary Shelley, and comments on such key themes as: Are scientists responsible for their creations? Would living forever be a good thing? Can something ugly and monstrous like Frankenstein's creation also contain good within?
If the production sounds a bit heady for a kid-sized attention span, take a cue from my seven-year-old who fidgeted a bit, but stayed with it to the end. He even said that he "really liked the old lady" and the pre- and post-play commentary! Given his most-valuable endorsement, I feel confident recommending Frankenstein as an intelligent and entertaining addition to your child's library of video picks this witching season.
Best for ages: Ages 9-12, with some spillover on either side.
Language: No problem.
Fun factor: Low, although the story is timeless, it's not exactly "fun."
Fear factor: Low although there are numerous deaths, including that of a young boy, the context renders them less scary.
Fidget factor: Medium.
Replay value: High.
Lessons Learned: Playing God can have unexpectedand tragicconsequences.
Reviewed by Rory O'Connor.
Globalstage Presents Frankenstein by Steven Rea
This inaugural release launches a video series designed to capture the best childrens theater around the world. Frankenstein hails from Stage One, the Louisville, Kentucky, company, and its an intelligent and fairly faithful interpretation of the Mary Shelley novel. The nicely acted play is preceded by an annoyingly precious segment in which National Public Radio Star Elizabeth McNamer affects a grand English accent and reads passages from Shelleys classic. She is accompanied by slightly befuddled sixth grader Preston Blakeley. Eventually, the duo takes a hansom cab to Stage One, and soon were all caught up in the drama of Dr. Frankenstein. Deploying an adept BBC video team, Globalstage catches the thrill of a live performance.