The newest episode of the Indented podcast from the UW-Green Bay English Department is live! In this episode, listeners are reminded not to forget about Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who wrote the famous novel “Frankenstein,” which just so happens to be celebrating its 200th anniversary.
Hosted by UW-Green Bay student Krynn Hanold and featuring UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Rebecca Nesvet and UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus Associate Prof. Jessica Van Slooten, this LIVE podcast episode (recorded during Phoenix Studio‘s night of live podcasts) delves into “Frankenstein” and the writer behind the famous work.
Take a listen:
Podcast Producer Krynn Hanold also had the opportunity to conduct an interview with James Donovan, who portrayed Dr. Victor Frankenstein in “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” presented by Aquila Theatre, which was performed at the Weidner Center on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.
Check out the exclusive interview:
Question: What is your part in this production?
James Donovan: Dr. (Victor) Frankenstein
Q: Do you have any places in particular that are your favorite to go to?
Donovan: You know, we’ve had fun across the board, in terms of prettiness and how aesthetically happy the most fun town to look at was Pennsylvania, driving through Pennsylvania was just ridiculous, the leaves are changing, it was absolutely stunning. But in terms of fun, I had loads of fun in Indiana. We were walking and it was lovely, and we were walking around Notre Dame and it was just lovely.
Q: So it’s very different?
Donovan: Oh, absolutely.
Q: Are there any productions that you’ve been on before that you’ve liked in particular?
Donovan: I’ve worked a lot of Shakespeare in the Globe, so I have a history in some classical theatre. The Shakespeare Globe is a wonderful, prestigious theatre in London. I’ve worked on War Horse, and it transferred to Broadway eventually. I suppose those two are my favorites. Yeah, Steven Spielberg came to see our production of War Horse and then decided to make the film.
Q: Why did you want to be involved in this production?
Donovan: I worked in America last year, and I absolutely fell in love with it, and just the prospect of touring America, I wouldn’t typically go on one holiday so to speak. It was just too appealing, and the show itself and Aquila Theatre are wonderful to work for. So, the prospect of that, plus touring America was just fantastic, and I got the job and I was like “oh wow, I’m so excited” so yeah, we have such a fun time.
Q: What’s challenging about bringing the script of this to life?
Donovan: Since there are so many different versions of it, I tried to avoid watching the films, and watching everyone else because I just thought, this is going to be my version of this adaptation and I don’t want to steal anyone else’s ideas, or whatever it may be, and he’s just a man of heart, it’s very long, it’s very big, and Dr. Frankenstein goes through such a big journey and to play that convincingly it’s a huge task, but I’ve had so much fun doing it, it’s brilliant.
Q: What do you love about portraying your character?
Donovan: I suppose his emotional act, his journey, he goes through such an emotional journey that he starts off at the beginning of the play, and I don’t want to give too much away in terms of where we’re placing, because it’s very much placed in modern day time, our version, he just goes through a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, we sort of jump back in time in our version, so you see a huge transition from where he is emotional because he goes through all the pain and suffering and then right back to the end of the play you see the jump.
Q: How do you and your cast make the production of Frankenstein unique?
Donovan: Our director, she transforms that, it’s her version of the play, and I think because it is modern day, trying to make it modern day with the novel being 200 years back.
Q: How do you make it modern day?
Donovan: Everything from clothing, we transpose the text, make it a tiny bit more modern day, and equipment in terms of like waking Frankenstein up, everything, to where it’s set, everything.
Q: What are your thoughts on the story of Frankenstein, especially as compared to other things you’ve worked on?
Donovan: This man goes through act after act, and the age-old question we’re always being asked and is especially prevalent t in this country I suppose is is it right to play god and what role does science have in our modern day world that’s the one that poses the biggest question in that that hangs out when telling the story, especially to an audience in our political climate at the moment. So I suppose that’s the real topic of interest that’s pinned down. He’s doing it for the greater good, playing with a power that I don’t think anyone’s really discovered and it’s only with the monster but his then his reaction is “Oh my god, what have I done.”