Frankenstein - A Post-Modern Prometheus by Marie Miguel
CAST OF CHARACTERS
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN: A brilliant doctor, obsessed with ideas of glory
and knowledge. Mids 2os. Brother of WILLIAM FRANKENSTEIN, son of
ALPHONSE FRANKENSTEIN, friend to HENRY CLERVAL, fiancee to ELIZABETH
ELIZABETH LAVENZA: Stunningly beautiful, intelligent, strong
childhood friend and fiancee of VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN. Mid 20s.
HENRY CLERVAL: Childhood friend of VICTOR. Dedicated, curious, loyal
and truthful. Fiancee to JUSTINE MELBOURNE. Mid 20s.
MONSTER: VICTOR'S genetically perfect creation. Must fit the
definition of perfection. Tall, strong, handsome, intelligent, all
too much as to be horrifying.
JUSTINE MELBOURNE: Longtime family servant of the FRANKENSTEIN
family. Best friend to ELIZABETH and protector of WILLIAM
FRANKENSTEIN. Fiancee to HENRY CLERVAL. Genuinely good and truthful.
Sees the good in everyone. Mid 20s.
ALPHONSE FRANKENSTEIN: Father to VICTOR and WILLIAM. Scientist and
lover of knowledge. Fiercely devoted to his family, both extended and
immediate. Wants nothing more than for those around him to be happy.
WILLIAM FRANKENSTEIN: Younger brother to WILLIAM. Handsome,
intelligent, much loved. 7-10.
FELIX: Poor farmer, making a living for himself, his sister and blind
father in a poor cabin in the woods. Brother to AGATHA. 20s.
AGATHA: Sister to FELIX. Hardworking and eager to please. Makes the
best of the situation she's in.
MOTHER: Blind MOTHER of FELIX and AGATHA. Loving, trusting and kind.
Plays the flute. 60s.
WOMAN BUYER, FRUIT SELLER, BUYERS, SELLERS, PRIEST, JUDGE, LAWYER,
SERVANTS, ANNA, MAN 1 &2, HOMELESS 1-4, PERSON 1-10, MRS. MANSFIELD,
WOMAN, OFFICER 1 &2
Dark stage. From rear, one light slowly rises. In the shadow is
revealed a silhouette of a body on a bed, with another figure hunched
over. The hunched figure shudders, either in anger, fear, or sadness.
The figure pounds on the chest of the body in frustration and sinks
to the floor, weeping. As music begins to swell, the figure on the
bed slowly sits up. It looks around, confused. It stands slowly and
shakily, like a newborn. It gains its balance, then shuffles away
from the safety of its birthing bed. It takes one step, then two,
finally standing fully erect. The figure finally notices the other,
huddled on the ground. It stands over the figure. The huddled figure
looks up from its suffering, sensing the shadow over him. The huddled
figure looks up, then slowly rises, staring at his creation. He seems
pleased. The "child" holds out his arms looking for comfort. The
lights slowly brighten. As they do, the audience can see that this
creature is perfect, too perfect. The father sees it, too, and his
happiness turns to disgust. He turns from his creation and exits.
The "child" watches him leave, reaches out, tries to speak, then
falls to its knees, weeping. Fade lights and music.
Lights up. VICTOR is seen making frantic notes in a large binder. He
then begins pacing in a sterile lab. He moves from table to table,
seemingly to hide his work. He is rapidly cleaning up test tubes,
computer drives, etc. Obsessively, he stops, looks towards SR, as if
he hears a noise. He is maddened, obsessed, paranoid. His complexion
is sallow, his eyes sunken and haggard. It is clear he has been
eating and sleeping only sporadically. There is knock, Off . VICTOR
jumps, quickly shuts and hides the binder under a pile of trash and
crosses . Enter HENRY CLERVAL, VICTOR's longtime friend and
HENRY: (As he enters, overly happy, hiding deep concern) VICTOR!
Thank god! You have no idea how happy I am to see you!
VICTOR: (As he shakes HENRY's hand, looks nervously off.) Henry!
I am so glad to see you. It's been too long.
HENRY: It has. I have been working endlessly at my father's
accounts and have had little time for my own interests. He finally
got sick of my endless requests for time off to pursue my "silly
concerns", as he calls them. He allowed me to take some time, but
made me promise to stop rattling on about unnecessary knowledge. And
so, here I am. ( As he speaks HENRY looks about the disheveled lab.)
VICTOR: And as I said, I am very glad to see you. (Glancing
nervously off again.) Tell me, how are my father, brother and of
course, my Elizabeth?
HENRY: Very well, and very happy, however, concerned that they
haven't heard more than a few words from you in some time. You've
been away from home for two years, and all we've received is a few
short, courteous emails and scribbled off Christmas cards. No phone
calls, no visits, no invitations. It's as if we ceased to exist.
(Looking very closely at VICTOR and realizing how terrible he looks.)
And now I realize why. Victor, you look terrible. And so does this
lab. What have you been up to? (HENRY walks around the lab, looking
at the trash cans, disturbed by what he sees.)
VICTOR: (Moving away from HENRY, staggering a little as he realizes
how mortally tired he actually is. HENRY rushes to his side and helps
him to a chair.) Honestly, I can't remember. I've been obsessed
with a project that I thought was going to be my grand discovery. It
was going to change to the world.
HENRY: You thought . . .
VICTOR: (Looking again, off.) Yes. Two years of experiments and
simulatíons and conjecture, and for what? Failure! (VICTOR stands,
and begins to tear apart his lab.) What have I done!? I've wasted
the last two years of my life on assumptions of intellectual
superiority. I believed I would be able to solve the final mysteries
left to mankind. And here I am-two years later with a pig sty of a
lab and nothing to show for it except notebooks full of useless
scientific drivel. What was I thinking? I am just another hack who
will slink home and disappear into scientific oblivion, whose only
usefulness is teaching drooling schoolchildren who would rather be
locked into their electronic habitats than deign to show the slightest
bit of curiosity about anything other than themselves. (VICTOR
collapses into a chair.) I am nothing.
HENRY: (At VICTOR's side.) Victor, you need to relax. I'm sure
there is something you can salvage from all this. No scientific
investigation is ever failure-you told me that. Now come on.
Let's get out of here, grab some food, and get some sleep. I'm
sure you'll feel better about it tomorrow.
VICTOR: (After a long pause.) Maybe you're right. (Rising.)
VICTOR and HENRY move to exit. VICTOR pauses and looks off as HENRY
VICTOR: Just a minute . . . (He speaks this offstage, then rushes off
to check on the MONSTER. He is gone for several moments, and we hear
commotion offstage, as if VICTOR is looking for something, or someone.
He reappears, seemingly more relaxed than earlier, and exits. Lights
Dim light up on lab. The MONSTER slowly enters, walking hesitantly.
He seems scared, much like child. He peeks into the room, looking for
someone, not really sure what he will find. He moves slowly into the
room, and begins to look around. He doesn't really know what he's
looking for—he's like a lost child. As he moves around the room,
the audience gets a better view of him. He has wrapped a thin medical
sheet around himself, but the audience can see his perfection. He is
something that everyone claims they want to see or be, but when faced
with the reality of perfection, they are frightened by its pure
absurdity. He looks through papers on the tables, hits at buttons on
the computer, unable to get it working. He finds discarded clothing
of VICTOR'S draped over a chair and puts them on. He looks through
the trash cans, still searching. He finally sits in the chair
recently vacated by VICTOR and simply stares. He looks at his hands,
not really sure what he's looking at. After a moment, he stands
again, and moves to the pile of trash under which VICTOR hid the
binder. He fumbles through it and finds the binder. He opens it and
leafs through it. It is clear that he does not understand it, but he
also can sense that it is important. A noise from off makes him jump.
He stops and stands completely still, not sure what to do. When he
is sure that no one is coming into the room, he looks around, like a
trapped animal. Still holding the binder, he exits, like a thief.
VICTOR'S bedroom. It is sparse, the bedroom of a man obsessed with
knowledge, not comfort. Books are stacked everywhere. VICTOR is in
bed, sick with an unknown illness. HENRY sits at his bedside,
reading. His reading is broken by three things. One, his concern,
where he checks VICTOR'S temperature, wipes his forehead, gives him
sips of water or broth—general nursemaiding. Second, phone calls
from VICTOR'S concerned family. Third, the rantings of VICTOR is
his fever-ridden sleep.
Lights up. VICTOR'S in bed, feverish.
VICTOR: If only there was a way . . . disease need not exist . . .
it's all in the DNA.
Lights out. Phone rings. Lights up.
HENRY: Oh, hello sir. . . I'm not sure what he's been doing.
He won't tell me. . . . He is unfortunately very ill and is some
sort of a feverish sleep. He cries out in his sleep and talks about
many things, but none of it makes any sense. . . . Yes, the doctors
have been in to see him. They don't really know what to do for
him—there doesn't seem to be anything physically wrong with him. .
. . I'm at his bedside day and night. I'll be sure to tell him
you called. . . . I'll keep you informed of any changes. . . .
Yes, sir. Thank you. (HENRY hangs up the phone. Lights out.)
VICTOR: I have it! It's been staring at me all along! How did I
not see it! Now . . . the process.
Lights out. Phone rings. Lights up.
HENRY: Elizabeth, my darling! So good to hear your voice . . . No,
I'm afraid he's sleeping. . . . It's been several weeks now,
and I am getting more and more worried by the day. . . His times of
clearness are getting longer, so hopefully, we are nearing the end. .
. . How are you? . . . And little William? . . . That's wonderful.
And Victor's father? He was ill last time we spoke. . . Glad to
hear it. . . . I don't think you should come. There is nothing for
you to do here but sit and watch, and Victor has enough of that. . .
. I promise to let you know the minute there is any change. . . . I
know he does . . . Love always. (HENRY hangs up the phone. Lights
VICTOR: I just need to . . . with just enough . . . (VICTOR sits
bolt upright in bed.) No! No! (HENRY pushes him down, mops his
forehead as he weeps in his fever. After a short time.) Oh god!
VICTOR: Do not ask me! He can tell! Save me! Save me! A MONSTER!
(As he speaks, VICTOR seems to be attacked and held down by an
invisible force. VICTOR kicks and flails at his "attacker".)
HENRY: (standing, and screaming at VICTOR, and tries to calm him,
trying to stop his kicking and flailing.) Victor, what is it? Let me
help you. Victor, please! There's nothing there. It's over,
whatever it is it's over!
Just as suddenly, VICTOR stops and relaxes into bed again. HENRY
checks his head, and it seems that his fever has broken. HENRY signs
with relief and settles back into his chair. As the lights dim, we
see him dialing the phone.
The MONSTER has just left the safety of VICTOR'S lab. As he moves
through the theatre, everywhere he goes he encounters horror and
The MONSTER awakens from a restless sleep. He rises and looks about
him. He hears the commotion of a local market. He is drawn to the
noise. He hovers on the outskirts, watching the people move about,
buying and selling.
FRUIT SELLER: Apples. Fresh apples. $1.00 a pound.
FEMALE BUYER: (As she approaches the seller.) I'll take two
pounds. (The SELLERS bags her apples and money is exchanged. The
MONSTER watches all this, curious, learning by watching. It is clear
that he is very intelligent, just unsure. She leaves the table and
more and more people mill about. We here the cacophony of selling and
These next two sets of dialogue are to be done simultaneously. Pacing
should be at the notion of the actors and the directors, and should be
chaotic and loud, to give the impression of a busy street on market
SELLERS: Fresh vegetables, Fresh fruit. Just picked. Fresh eggs.
Best pork anywhere. $5.00. That'll be $10.00., etc. (Actors will
ad-lib throughout the scene.)
BUYERS: Are you sure these are fresh? His are cheaper. Isn't that
a little too much for these small fruit? I'll take 1 pound. I'll
take the lot. Do you have change, etc. Actors will ad-lib throughout
As this continues, the MONSTER gains confidence. He straightens up
and moves into the crowd, keeping his head down. He approaches the
apple seller. The crowd should continue moving and talking, but
should be subdued so the focus is pulled to the MONSTER.
MONSTER: (Hesitantly, not sure of his own voice.) One. He holds up a
finger as well, looking at it—contemplating its meaning.
FRUIT SELLER: (As the MONSTER approaches, he is restocking, so he
does not see him at first.) Speak up, can't hear you.
FRUIT SELLER: One pound?
FRUIT SELLER: (Frustrated, thinking the MONSTER is an idiot. With
his back still turned, Hey buddy, do you want one pound or what? At
that moment, he turns and sees the MONSTER. He stares at him, not
sure. He is not horrified, but at the same time, he feels
uncomfortable.) Look buddy, I don't know what you want, but I think
you need to move on.
MONSTER: One. (He holds out his hand for the apple.)
FRUIT SELLER: (Still uncomfortable, and still confused.) Look, I
said, move on. Get away from my stand.
The MONSTER stares at him, not understanding. The seller gets more
and more angry, then screams at the MONSTER.
FRUIT SELLER: Go! Are you a moron? I said, move! Get away from my
stand, now! (The seller bends down and grabs a baseball bat from
under the table. He starts to come out from around the table as the
MONSTER just stares at him. The MONSTER realizes that this is not
good and starts to move away. As he moves away, he bumps into a
WOMAN, causing her to drop her bags of food.)
WOMAN: Idiot! Why don't you watch where you're going? (The
MONSTER stares at her as she squats down to pick up her items. He
quickly realizes that he should help and moves away a little to gather
up a piece of fruit that has rolled away. As he hands it to her, she
looks him squarely in the eye. She is confused, then a look of
disgust creeps into her eyes.) Get away! Don't look at me like
that! Get away before I scream!
The MONSTER stares at her for another moment, and then runs through
the market, bumping into people and tables, making chaos. As he exits
the area, he trips and falls, knocking another WOMAN down, and landing
practically on top of her. She looks at him and screams. Lights
Lights up. The MONSTER continues to walk the streets. It is now
nighttime, and the bad elements are out in the former cheerful
marketplace. A group of HOMELESS are gathered around a fire. He
approaches them in the shadows, afraid to join them. One man sees him
and beckons him to come towards them.
HOMELESS MAN 1: Hey, you cold? Come on over.
The MONSTER hesitantly creeps up to them, trying to remain in the
shadows. The men around the fire pay him no mind, just move over to
allow him to get closer to the fire. The MONSTER scoots in, keeping
his head down, holding his hands out to the fire. He warms himself
for a time, and starts to relax. One HOMELESS glances at the
MONSTER's hands, and realizes that his skin is pure white, flawless,
hairless and perfectly smooth—almost alien. They almost glow in the
firelight. He looks at him more closely—the MONSTER does not
notice—he is enjoying the warmth from the fire. The HOMELESS steps
away from the MONSTER slightly and nudges his buddy.
HOMELESS MAN 1: Hey, do you see that?
HOMELESS MAN 2: What?
HOMELESS MAN 1: That guy. Look at his skin. It's not right.
Both men stare at the MONSTER's hands, and try to look at him all
HOMELESS MAN 2: It's like he's glowing. I don't like it.
Let's get out of here.
HOMELESS MAN 1 walks away from the MONSTER. HOMELESS MAN 2 walks to
the other side of the fire, whispers to the other two men with them.
They all stare at the MONSTER, and then leave quickly, following
HOMELESS MAN 1. The MONSTER has noticed them leaving, and sits downs,
crying, not understanding why everyone is afraid of him. Lights out.
Lights up. The MONSTER has fallen asleep near the fire, which has now
gone out. He shivers as he wakes to the sound of a fight. nearby,
two men are menacing ANNA. The MONSTER watches.
MAN 1: Come on sweetheart, I know you've got it.
ANNA: I swear I don't.
MAN 2: Don't lie. Allen told us he left it with you. He described
it in detail. Now give it to us, or there's going to be trouble.
ANNA: Well, Allen is a liar. I haven't seen him in days.
MAN 2: Well, then, I don't know who to believe. Allen, my buddy,
who always has my back, or you, a no-good tramp who just happened to
hook up with Allen. He's told us about you. (The two men look at
each other and laugh, giving each other a knowing look.)
MAN 1: Oh boy has he told us about you! (They continue to laugh.)
ANNA: Well, he is a liar. We didn't ever hook-up. Allen likes to
talk. We're just friends. But whatever he says, the truth is the
loser hasn't called me in weeks. We had a few dates, and then,
nothing. If you see him, tell him that ANNA says to crawl back into
the sewer he came from. I've had more fun with my comatose MOTHER
than I did with him. (She turns to walk away. MAN 1 grabs her arm.)
MAN 1: Where do you think you're going?
MAN 1: I don't think so. . . . (MAN 2 joins MAN 1 and they both
grab ANNA. MAN 1 slaps ANNA, hard. When the MONSTER sees this he
stands and moves out of the shadows. The men see him and are
startled. They let ANNA go, and she runs towards the MONSTER.)
ANNA: Oh, thank you, sir! Thank you. (She pauses when she gets
closer to him, looking at him fully.) What are you? (The MONSTER
just looks at her, not really knowing. She looks at him, then back at
the men. The MONSTER moves towards her.)
ANNA: (Screams) Get away! (She runs back towards the men, even
though they are going to hurt her. They grab her as she runs into
The MONSTER watches as they grab her, and they drag her away,
screaming. We hear a slap as the light fade. He walks away, head
down. Lights out.
The MONSTER stands in spotlight, center stage. Lights move around
the stage, illuminating a PERSON who has shown fear or loathing
towards him. The tempo is slow at first, and then speeds up to a
PERSON 1: Get away!
PERSON 2: No! Not here!
PERSON 3: Oh my God!
PERSON 4: Heaven help us!
PERSON 5: Out!
PERSON 6: Please go away!
PERSON 7: What are you?
PERSON 8: Screams
PERSON 9: Help!
These people recite these lines individually at first, then together,
overlapping, at least 3 times. Gets louder and faster. As the
MONSTER hears them, he physically flinches with each word and you can
see him reacting to each word. As the lines are at their loudest and
most frenetic, blackout on all except center MONSTER.
MONSTER: (Screams.) STOP IT!