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Thoughts on the play Frankenstein

Just got back from seeing "Frankenstein" in Denver; this is the version of the play that's kind of famous at this point for having two actors share the roles of Frankenstein and Monster and alternate their roles in different performances. In this production the art director wanted to talk about race in America, so one of the actors was black and one white; in this afternoon's performance, the black actor was Frankenstein and the white actor was the Monster.

But. Given the recurrent dialogue of master and slave, being hated, despairing, and so on.....this is good shit for the topic, but I thought it came across rather flat when the white actor was saying these lines; you can't have an incredibly bitter line about "listening to the voices of the oppressed" in a white man's mouth and have it work without a LOT more coding in play--IF the Monster was represented as gay, or Jewish, or ANYTHING like that it could have worked, but not so much just as was. Which is nothing against the actor--either of them, both were really excellent in their roles.

And ~maybe~ it could have worked for someone in the audience utterly entrenched in their small worldview, maybe the play could talk to that person, but...that person wasn't me, so honestly, I spent a lot of time wondering what the play would have been like if both roles were played by women, because let's be real, the story of Frankenstein is absolutely one of reproductive anxiety, and it has always irked me that this is a story that is ONLY received when it's about dudes. Anyway, so there's that rant.

The other thing that irked me was Elizabeth's rape scene. That felt incredibly gratuitous, plus there's the squick level of having a man whose innate "goodness" that has been corrupted performing the act, which intimates to me that every man could be a rapist, and.... let's just not fucking go there? Like, we should theoretically be going "game over, man, game over" when the Monster kills the kid, right? So this scene was just some creepiness on top of the fridging.

Final note: The (rather sizable) audience was shocked, SHOCKED at the deaths of both Elizabeth and the Bride. Like, I was under the impression the book was fairly well taught, so...that surprised me. And kind of made me wonder what people were expecting the story to be.

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