Upper School Theatre Program Brings Frankenstein to Life in an Exploration of Empathy and Responsibility

Upper School Theatre Program Brings Frankenstein to Life in an Exploration of Empathy and Responsibility

Since September, the Upper School theatre program has been immersed in the creation of a remarkable production of Frankenstein that debuted last weekend on November 17 and November 18 in the de Csepel Theater. Adapted by Dorothy Louise from Mary Shelley’s gothic novel, Frankenstein showcased the hard work of eleven Upper School performers supported by an imaginative stage crew of eight.  

Under the direction of Michaela Gorman, Upper School Theatre Teacher and Director of Theatrical Productions, with technical direction from Danielle Gennaro, Bell Choir Director, Technical Director of Upper School Theatrical Productions, and Perspectives advisor, Frankenstein came to life. Ms. Gorman captured the essence of the play when she noted the profound questions it poses: What responsibilities do we have for what we create? What responsibilities do we have to one another? What responsibilities do we have to make the world a better place than we found it?” 

Throughout the performance, student-actors led the audience through haunting and poignant moments that probed what it means to be human. Ms. Gorman, in her Director’s note, hinted at the cautionary nature of the tale, urging audiences to “be careful and conscientious” and to remember the crucial human quality of empathy. 

Ms. Gorman noted,  “At first glance, Frankenstein seems like a straightforward story about monsters. While it is true…we have found in this story something much more human. At its heart, Frankenstein might just as easily be described as a show about empathy as it could be a show about monsters. In the second act of Frankenstein, the Creature says, “I am malicious because I am miserable,” and despite everything, our heart breaks for him. That’s one of the things I love about theatre – it invites us to step outside our own experiences and to see things differently.”

The play’s exploration of critical inquiry and empathy resonates with calls from the Goals and Criteria to nurture our own intellectual curiosity and accept accountability and stewardship for the resources in our care. The match between themes in the play and the School’s values was very much top-of-mind for Ms. Gorman. “In living our mission, we send our students out into the world not just to be powerful artists, scientists, writers, and leaders – but also to be people who create, innovate, and lead with profound concern for the world around them,” she shared.

Ms. Gorman continued, “I see students demonstrating their willingness to take on this challenge every day. It fills me with great hope. In particular, the cast and crew of Frankenstein have embodied the ethos of this piece, ever-mindful of the responsibility they have for what they create and how they create it.”

Congratulations to the brilliant cast and crew for an unforgettable performance. To delve deeper, explore the show program here and read Ms. Gorman’s note about the production here. For further coverage, visit the King Street Chronicle’s exploration of Frankenstein here