Director’s Notes #2

 Well, it is now the end of the first week of regular rehearsals. Traditionally, the first rehearsal consists of a read through, costume measurements and paperwork details. All the actors are measured by the costumer designer; then the stage manager collects the actor’s contracts and passes out the contact sheet and other pertinent information the actors will need during the process. Once that is all complete (or at times happening concurrently), the read through starts. This is a simple reading of the script with all the actors so everyone can get a chance to hear it out loud and in sequence before the blocking rehearsals start.

 I knew going into this production that I would have to spend more time early on in discussion with the actors about characters and settings than I normally would. Usually I like to get them up and moving first thing, discovering the character and their thoughts through their movements and interactions with other characters. However, sometimes just a little more time is needed with an actor one on one, or in a small group, without the added disturbance of having to move them around the stage. For example, the family of Alphonse and Caroline Frankenstein is, in both the novel and Roxanne’s script, a very close knit and loving family. It is not enough to just tell the actors this; nor is it to have them simply play that on stage without any other information in which to base that concept on. So, during a part of our rehearsal process, we have had several discussions with members of that family talking about their relationships with each other and with the parents.

Victor, in particular, is a difficult character to pin down. The cliched image of the “mad scientist” stems from previous celluloid versions of this story. Victor is the complete opposite of this. A driven student of the sciences, Victor completes his studies and does what he does for the best of intentions (in his mind). His real downfall is his failure to accept his inability to create perfection. This leads to…well you’ll just have to see the play. However, my larger question to the actor playing Victor was, if he came from such a loving family, what made him reject, in so final a manner, his creation? There are many questions just like this that we have to answer so that every move the actors make on stage makes sense when you see our final creation.

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