Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 07:45 am est

National Theatre Live brings ‘Frankenstein’ to Skirball

Posted on October 30, 2013 | by Suzanne Egan

Courtesy of National Theatre Live (Catherine Ashmore)

 

One of the best-kept secrets of the New York theater scene is located in the heart of NYU’s campus. Since 2009, the National Theatre Live program has recorded performances at the National Theatre in London and broadcas-ted them to cinemas around the world. One of those theaters is the Skirball Center for Performing Arts.

On Oct. 30, Skirball will host an encore screening of “Frankenstein,” the innovative 2011 production directed by Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”). The production received rave reviews and helped propel Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”) and Johnny Lee Miller (“Elementary”) to stardom. Both men played the main  roles — Victor Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s creature, switching roles at each performance and eventually sharing the Olivier Award and London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor.

Those who treat themselves to “Frankenstein” will find a set of stellar performances — supporting players Naomie Harris and George Harris are also excellent. The dual casting provides a poignant look at the similarities between Frankenstein and his creature. The monster’s story is one of a heart breaking and then hardening, while Frankenstein’s is of a man scared of his own vulnerability. They are both made cold and bitter, but the creature becomes that way because of experience, while Frankenstein transforms because he fears it. Ironically, this leaves the creature wiser, more mature and arguably more of a man than Frankenstein.

The cast is only one of the tools Boyle uses to experiment with the contrast and connections between man and monster, creator and creature, religion and science. An arc of fluorescent light bulbs above the auditorium alludes to the electric power we have learned to harness, as well as the hig-her powers we cannot control. The set also plays an important part. At one point, a train pierces the stage, filling the theater with a cacophony of mechanical banging and the engineers’ religious worksong. Nick Dear’s excellent script focuses the first act on the creature and the second on Frankenstein, allowing equal time to study the hero and villain — though the decision of who fills each role is left to the audience.

Tonight’s screening will provide viewers with a touching and frightening treat appropriate for Halloween. Other upcoming National Theatre Live productions include “50 Years On Stage”— an a la carte of scenes performed by icons such as Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Maggie Smith to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Theatre — and William Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus,” starring Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 30 print edition. Suzanne Egan is a staff writer. Email her at theater@nyunews.com.

Comments

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next