Monster

By Neal Bell
From Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN
Rorschach Theatre
October 31 – November 26, 2006

“The entire production cackles with such moments of creativity, and Baker’s bloody fingerprints are on every scene.”
— DC Theatre Scene

“While the creepy Frankenstein (Jeremy Goren, frequently phlegmatic and consistently engrossing) hardly inspires our allegiance, the monster is no automatic subject of pity, either. Robert Rector’s creature has almost an ironically gentlemanly air about him, but he is much more scary than civilized — he reeks of danger as much as he reeks of death, and his deeds quickly turn us against him, despite the inhumanities he has suffered. This play does not add up to a mere cautionary tale against morally-questionable science. Monster is most riveting for displaying the way a family can be torn apart when one of its members is just a little bit off. It’s a reality show starring an extended family that we actually want to watch: “Mom, There’s A Body In The Basement.” DCist

“Rorschach’s MONSTER is as far from warm and fuzzy as dark night is to smiley face day. Even before a character emerges on that stage, the sights and sounds of this terrific production hint of ominous events to come. The opening music sets the dark mood with the atonal chords of an organ, creaking sounds, a moan or two, and of course, the obligatory claps of thunder. The back of the set is draped in black and off-white gause-like fabric that works wonders with the impeccable lighting designed by David C. Ghatan. And then there is the treacherous looking stage, raking downward precariously with such uneven slats that I wondered just how the actors would be expected to even walk on it. I sure didn’t expect the nearly acrobatic tumbles, the running jumps, the plunging fist fights, murderous lunges, even carrying a body or two before nights end. But this is vintage Rorschach, where I should know by now to expect the frightfully unexpected.” – DC Theatre Scene

“Something’s a little off in Rorschach Theatre’s production of “Monster.” And for the most part, that’s a good thing. The invigorating source of disturbance is the big guy who’s stitched together from exhumed arms, ears and kidneys. As played by the young, expressive actor Robert Rector, this creature out of our collective anxieties emits the requisite scent of the grave — what you might call eau de crypt. Other things about his performance chill the blood in “Monster,” Neal Bell’s 2002 adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”: namely, the queasy sense of entitlement he conveys. Whether it is a return to the tranquillity of oblivion or the arms of another monster, this is one reanimated hulk who wants and wants and wants. And too bad for anyone in his path who doesn’t recognize that he’s a ghoul with needs.” Washington Post

“Set Designer Debra Kim Sivigny builds a little wooden avalanche for actors to scramble and scrap and posture (and electrocute one another) upon, while swoops of that fabric frame a playing space that bleeds nicely out into the dark-arched recesses of Rorschach’s high-ceilinged home in the former Calvary Methodist sanctuary. There’s fun to be had with shadowplay (courtesy of lighting designer David C. Ghatan) and with various thunderclaps and heartbeat noises (William Burns) . . . – Washington City Paper

FEATURING Lily Balsen, Nicky Daval, Jeremy Goren, Jason Linkins, Tiernan Madorno, Paul McLane, Ryan Nealy, Robert Rector, Jon Reynolds / DESIGNED BY Debra Kim Sivigny (Set), David C. Ghatan (Lights), Erin Nugent (Costumes), William Burns (Sound) / STAGE MANAGED BY Megan Reichelt and Jillian Levine-Sisson (Asst. Stage Manager) WITH Jessie Gallogly (Asst. Director), Grady Weatherford (Fight Choreography), Andrew F. Griffin (Asst. Lighting Design)

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