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LAB Theater Project Presents CREATING MONSTERS This Month

Creating Monsters runs for three weekends, August 25 through September 11. 

LAB Theater Project Presents CREATING MONSTERS This Month

LAB Theater Project will present Creating Monsters, a new play by Tampa playwright Owen Roberson. Set in 1816, the play explores the turmoil surrounding Mary Shelley that influenced her creation of the monster in her masterpiece, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, a story that has been electrifying the public through multiple media for over 200 years.

The playwright, Owen Robertson, is the founding Creative Director of LAB Theater Project, a company that exclusively produces new works and nurtures playwrights to bring their ideas to life. This is his sixth play to be presented on stage. Creating Monsters is directed by beloved regional director and actor Roz Potenza, and features local actors Eddie Gomez, Emma Hurlburt, Shaun Memmel, Maurice Parker and Newt Rametta. Costume design is by Caroline Jett, set design by Robertson, scenic art by Cas Hardy, lights by Wayne Linderman and sound by Jonah Robertson.

"When I first read Owen's Creating Monsters," Director Roz Potenza said, "I was drawn to the story because it wasn't as much about Frankenstein's monster as it was about the woman-child who wrote it. Owen gives life to the 18-year-old Mary Shelley's journey, from the emotional badgering by her unique family, through the self-satisfied intellectual fervor of the men around her and her own striving for purpose in life, to the burst of creative energy that brought us one of the most popular books in history. To be given the chance to direct a strong historic female character is a boon these days. Owen captures her determination, and I am excited to bring that to life. I had no such ambitions at her age, and I marvel at both her talents and her fortitude in pushing her work, in what he vividly shows us was a man's world."

About the play: It is 1816, the Year without a Summer, and the greatest ghost story of all time is about to begin. But in order for that to happen, Mary must work through her self-doubts of womanhood, her place as a writer, her conflict with her dead mother, and Clara, always Clara there in her life, as well as Percy, Byron, and the boyish advances of Dr. John Polidori. Tucked away in Byron's villa in Switzerland, these five people are present at the inception of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein. Discover how a young girl becomes an independent woman, a free thinker for the ages, navigates a complicated love life, and establishes herself as one of the greatest female storytellers of all time -- not to mention dealing with the ultimate bad boy, Lord Byron.

Mary's own life had all the drama of a Victorian novel. As Robertson says: "In 2013, I sat in a gothic literature class reading the 1831 introduction to Shelley's Frankenstein, where she discussed how the book came to be, and in that instant a story began to form. Two years of research later I had the first draft of Creating Monsters. There have been many iterations since then."

"This production highlights those days when Mary surrounds herself with the people who pushed her to set her words free" adds Potenza. "That she dared to push the boundaries of "decency and morality" was a testament to her creative genius as well as her need to release her own inner demons. As Mary herself wrote, 'Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good - misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.'"

Creating Monsters runs for three weekends, August 25 through September 11. Live performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday matinee at 3 pm. Performances will also be available on demand September 1 through 15. Audience members who purchase on-demand tickets will be emailed a link to the video site. LAB reserves the right to adjust the number of seats available in response to CDC guidance, to protect the health and wellbeing of our audiences, cast and crew.

Tickets are $28 and are available through LAB's website,®id=101& For questions or interview requests, please contact the Box Office at 813-586-4272, or email us at

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