I am Frankenstein
Maumelle High School
Maumelle High School - Maumelle, AR
Maumelle High School will present the world premiere of John Hamans haunting and entertaining play I am Frankenstein in two public showings scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct.31, Halloween night, and again at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 in the acclaimed Maumelle Performing Arts Center.The production is directed and designed by MHS teacher Bob Birdsong of Conway. Haman wrote and developed this unique adaptation of Mary Shelleys 1818 novel Between July 2017 and June 2018. Its the story of two tortured creatures, says Haman. Victors famous monster, and the novels troubled author, Mary Shelley. Haman, a long-time Arkansas journalist and 15-year wealth-management advisor in Little Rock, held developmental workshops of the play at Bubble and Squeak Theatre Collective in London, England; the theater department of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville; Biloxi Little Theatre in Biloxi, Miss.; Lakeside High School in Hot Springs; and Maumelle High School, which was chosen to present the plays world premiere. This is a first for us, says Birdsong, an original adaptation of such literary merit. While the script stays true to the source material, the addition of Mary Shelleys tortured early life, her demons if you will, coupled with the fact that she wrote this amazing novel at such a young age, makes this a unique take on the story. At its heart, this is a feminist play, while not sacrificing the unsettling nature of the reanimation of a corpse. For those that prefer the novel, John has retained the language of the time, and for those that love the movie, our creature is, at times, terrifying, and at times very sweet and child-like. There are a few moments of violence in this show, so it may not be for the youngest children. It is a horror story after all. I am so grateful, however, that my students this year got to experience this, and I am certain they will remember it for a long time.In its most unique twist, the play features a haunting, all-female Greek chorus known as The Blackbirds, played by Cayce Blackwell, Lyric Roberts, Jamie Jewell, Hattie Gore, Arriana Teem, Hannah Davis, Sarah Morrison, and Emilee Millerd. Other portrayals include Kevin Shipp as The Creature; Elisha Summer as Victor Frankenstein; Falon Scott as Elizabeth; Miller Wright as Henry; Katharine Nelson as Mary Shelley/Mother; Ravin Lussier as Capt. Walton; Ember Reynolds as Professor Krempe; Alannah Sampson as Byron and Father; Jakobi Oliver as Percy Shelley; Sonny Mathews as Lucia; Grace Pederson as Sailor 1; and Zakei Allen as Sailor 2. Elizabeth Teem serves as costume designer, Ember Reynolds is light designer, and Patrick Hobbs sound designer. Sade Hendrix and Yaniz Fuentes are student assistant directors.We set out to produce a fall play this year to coincide with Halloween, but also, we wanted a piece of literature that the students could learn from, and we feel we have succeeded in this. The overall tone of this show is dark, brooding, and at times, threatening to the characters on stage. Funny enough, but this all started with an idle conversation we had in the department about doing a silly Halloween show for our fall offering, while at the same time John and I were becoming better friends through Facebook, and a collaboration just sprang from that. This is a very special work and we are honored to be the first production.Haman is a 1983 graduate of North Pulaski High School and a 1987 theater arts graduate of Hendrix College. This school year, four different high schools in two states are scheduled to produce his plays. His play Edgar: A Ghost Story was chosen as the best one-act-play production for Lakeside High School in February at Arkansas Thespian Festival, then received a standing ovation at the International Thespian Festival in June, 2019. Tickets to the play are purchased at the door. Admission is $5 for students and $7 for non-students. Reservations are not necessary, since the auditorium has a capacity of 1,200.