A unique feature of the production is the use of Bunraku-style puppetry to portray The Creature. Designed and built by Yvonne Stone (Warhorse, His Dark Materials), the full size 6’4” puppet, which needs up to 3 people to manipulate it, adds an exciting new dimension to the retelling of the classic story.
We find out more from Yvonnne in today's blog ...
What do you love most about puppetry as a performance device?
I love the way that puppetry allows you to reassess the everyday. There is a certain wonder in seeing a puppet do even the most mundane things, much in the same way as we marvel at a baby learning to walk and pick things up. I come from an art and theatre background and puppetry is the perfect blend of these disciplines. It is such a complete creative process.
What was it that enticed you to take on Frankenstein?
I was very excited to work with Blackeyed Theatre. It is the first time they have worked with puppetry and they have been so respectful of the process which is such a pleasure. Every show I work on is so different and Frankenstein seems the ultimate making experience - in a way I am Frankenstein beavering away in my workshop creating this monster!
What have been the main challenges with designing and making The Creature?
There have been many challenges with the project. The sheer scale of the tour is a challenge in itself, trying to create something that can do this number of venues with hopefully very little maintenance. Making lightweight puppets is also a huge challenge, particularly if you want them to be this durable as well. I have really tried to push my making skills on this project, trying to create a puppet that can hopefully express real subtleties of movement despite his large size.
For you, what does the use of puppetry for The Creature add to the story?
The story of Frankenstein is all about bringing life to an inanimate object and using puppetry perfectly embodies this. As the electricity enters the creature we see the puppeteers breath life in to him. Puppets also have slightly different rules to humans which gives us so many possibilities.
How do you hope audiences will feel about the Creature?
I've grown really fond of the Creature as I've been making him so I really hope that the audience feel some empathy for him. He didn't ask to be created by Frankenstein and even though he obviously does some terrible things throughout the play he is quite a tortured soul and I hope that comes across.