Phantasmagoria; or Let Us Seek Death!
October 29, 2016
|Photo courtesy of LaMama|
Phantasmagoria; or Let us seek Death! is a haunting way to celebrate Halloween. Playing at LaMama through November 6, the show explores the creative mind of Mary Shelley as she focuses the challenges and experiences of her life into her masterpiece Frankenstein.
In Act I the ensemble sets up an atmosphere of artistic freedom and sexual promiscuity as they portray the lives of Mary Shelley (played by Jane Bradley), Claire Clairmont (played by Katie Melby), Percy Shelley (played by Demetrius Stewart), Lord Byron (played by Equiano), and Doctor Polidori (played by Andrew Lynch). The play gets dark in Act II as Mary Shelley’s character from her classic novel envelopes her thoughts and takes over the stage. The team of Randolph Curtis Rand (director) and Chana Porter (playwright) have a strong passion and deep understanding of this history and material. The puppetry, by Benjamin Stuber, creates a sense of mystery and terror.
|Jane Bradley & Demetrius Stewart|
Photo courtesy of La Mama
Jane Bradley is charming and light hearted as Mary Shelley in Act I, then grim and brooding as the voice of the monster in Act II. Her vocal authority is mesmerizing. Every gesture and detail of her characterization draws you in to a deeper sense of consciousness. Demetrius Stewart is easy going and irresponsible as Percy Shelley, then haunted and distraught as Victor Frankenstein. Equiano is bold and brazen as Lord Byron, commanding and manipulating the lives and emotions of those around him.
This production offers a psychological insight into the life of Mary Shelley. The dichotomy of her thoughts and experiences are explored. The potent affect this has on her creative writing is brought to light. It brings great understanding as to why Frankenstein is a classic work with many levels that continue to both frighten and amuse.