Horror meets History in the Guildhall Theatre this October

Mon 8 Oct 2018

Fans of horror and history alike will be enthralled this month with The Lost Boys and Derby LIVE’s production The Creation of Frankenstein. In the lead up to Halloween The Lost Boys will take Guildhall audiences on a journey through the greatest horror story ever told.

200 years ago, as electrical storms lit up the shores of Lake Geneva, a 19 year old Mary Shelley was inspired by a challenge from Lord Byron to write a horror story that would fascinate readers for centuries to come. This October, The Lost Boys and Derby LIVE present two stories in tandem: the story of the creation of Mary’s timeless novel and the story within the story, that of Doctor Frankenstein and the creation of his creature.

This production, from the pen of Peter Roberts asks us to look at the theme of creation on many levels, as each character grapples with their own understanding of what that means. Whether through science, nature, God or the ineffable, the spark of creativity affects them all and gives birth to poetry, to stories and to life.

5 years ago, The Lost Boys, then widely known for their new comedy writing, wanted to add to their oeuvre, so they started exploring produced works that echoed their main areas of interest: music, film, theatre, literature. They particularly chose pieces that had not been seen in the UK before.

The resulting journey saw them conquer the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Ears on a Beatle, explore the art of screenwriting with Me and Robert McKee and tackle hard-hitting subjects in Ball. All of this was achieved in partnership with Derby LIVE, whilst fostering new talent in both the creative team and cast. The journey has led to this, a fifth co-production, a new pool of talent, a new script, and another UK premier here in Derby.

The rehearsal process for this production has been an exciting challenge for the five actors, as each plays at least two roles, one in the ‘real’ world of Byron’s Swiss villa and the other in the gothic world of Mary’s novel. The audience will see the actors shift characters in a matter of moments. As quickly as he crosses from one side of the stage to the other, Percy Shelley becomes Doctor Victor Frankenstein, and Lord Byron becomes his creature.

This interpretation of the script by director Pete Meakin has necessitated a thorough exploration of each character and no small amount of consideration as to how closely the partnering characters are entwined or how contrasting traits are thrown into sharp relief. As a proud Lord Byron, filled with hubris and self-conceit becomes Frankenstein’s monster before the audience’s eyes, the pathos, humility and isolation of the character is all the more stark and heart wrenching. But we are reminded through his physical traits that we are not merely watching an actor playing two roles, but like Russian dolls, a performance within a performance within a performance.

The Lost Boys have been working with school groups to develop bespoke workshops that accompany the production and further explore these themes. In the next few weeks, students will work with lead actors and producers Paul Broesmith and Ben Adwick to explore Mary Shelley’s inspiration and influences, and to consider how historical context and personal experiences shaped her novel and ensured a 200-year legacy.

It is hoped that whether audience members are students of the text, fans of Mary Shelley, or even Hammer Horror devotees they will find something new and thought provoking in this unusual interpretation of the story, where period drama meets gothic horror.

Tickets for the show are available here.

Workshops can facilitate 30 students per session and run for 90 minutes. The Lost Boys will come to your school and can tailor the content to focus on an area you might be exploring within your classroom if needed.

Workshops are FREE to students with a ticket to see the production or £175 per workshop if not coming to the show.

If you are interested in the workshops please get in touch with The Lost Boys by emailing hello@thelostboys.org.uk