It was a rainy November night when a monster came roaring to life. Its creator was so horrified by his creation, he ran away.
For those who have read author Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” this is a moment, at which point the novel’s central message conjures questions for many to ponder.
“What drew me most to it was doing a scary play because I’ve never done anything like that,” said Sean Gallagher, a Mokena resident and a fourth-year Lewis University student, who plays the role of Frankenstein’s monster.
Gallagher said it brings great meaning to know “Frankenstein” will be his final performance to cap off his senior year.
“There is a little bit of an added pressure, I guess,” he said. “No, I wouldn’t say it’s nerves, but it’s definitely … the [production] to go out on.”
And for one Mokena Intermediate School student, the impression left from reading that novel-turned-play is hoped to resonate with audiences when Philip Lynch Theatre puts on its adaptation for people to sit in on.
“I think that they will have second-thoughts about creating things,” fifth-grader Elliot Bilus said.
When Bilus learned that Philip Lynch Theatre was set to put on “Frankenstein,” he was excited to get another opportunity to demonstrate his acting chops as Frankenstein’s younger brother.
“I like that since I’m so tall, my character is supposed to be tiny,” Bilus said. “I like how it’s a challenge to be an 11-year-old trying to play a 9-year-old.”
“Frankenstein” will take people back in time to the regency era between 1811 and 1820 to indulge in the story of a scientist who brings s a monster to life, all while touching on the themes of knowledge, love and free will.
“Honestly, I love the book,” said Christy Carlson, a Lockport resident and a third-year Lewis University student. “I read it a couple times. … When I heard we were doing ‘Frankenstein’ for the show, I was just intrigued with what the script was going to be like and see how the playwright adapted it from the classic. When I read it, it was, like, super eerie and really fun. It just sounded like a lot of fun because a lot of times you see a lot of horror shows in TV or movie form, [but] you don’t see them a lot in play form in the theatre. So, I just think that it [would be] a lot of fun to be involved in.”
Carlson plays a countess and serves as part of the ensemble in the Philip Lynch Theatre production. She said it is challenging to bring her roles to the stage, especially considering the dichotomy of playing one of the tavern wenches and the countess.
“It’s like you’re upper-class then lower-class, and it’s just so different,” Carlson said. “It’s fun because you change the way you walk, the way you [assume] how would your character think, how would she move, how does she respect herself, all these different mentalities going. These are two very different characters.”
Auditions were held in December for “Frankenstein” and rehearsals for the cast followed in January.
Philip Lynch Theatre Manager Jo Slowik said she thinks the cast is ready to take to the stage.
“It’s one of those things that once they’re in front of an audience, it’s really going to grow,” she said. “I think their performance are really going to grow, change and continually improve with an audience. An actor with an audience is just that energy, that adrenaline push that you get with an audience that you don’t always have in a rehearsal. You always act like it, but it’s different.”
“Frankenstein” runs for its second round Thursday, Feb. 22, through Sunday, Feb. 25, at Philip Lynch Theatre, with shows at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Gallagher’s other acting credits include Gibson/Sideshow Bob/Itchy in “Mr. Burns, a post-electric play”; Robin Goodfellow and Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; Luther Beatty in “Inspecting Carol”; the title role in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”; Howie in “Rabbit Hole”, Dr. Bennett/ensemble in “Big Fish”; Robby the Stockfish/UGC Executive No. 2 in “Urinetown, the musical”; Boy and others in ‘The Arabian Nights”; and an ensemble member in “Another Day”.
Bilus has previously been on the stage as: Young Will in “Big Fish”, an Oompa Loompa in “Willy Wonka, the Musical”; guard in “Sleeping Beauty”; trumpeteer in “Cinderella”; Young Shrek in “Shrek, the Musical”; younger brother in “Breakfast Club”; and Young Kristoff in “Frozen, the Musical”.
If you go…
Where: Philip Lynch Theatre, 1 University Parkway, Romeoville
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, through Saturday, Feb. 24; 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25.
For more information: visit www.lewisu.edu/plt or call the box office at 815-836-5500. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $9 for seniors and students.