San Diego's Sledgehammer Theatre will turn their mallet on the horror genre classic, "Frankenstein," with their latest, The Frankenstein Project, opening Feb. 7 for a run through Mar. 7, 1999.
The production starts with the voice of Mary Shelley's classic 1817 novel and adds a combination of theological debate and contemporary discussion taken from late-breaking developments in science, medicine and bioengineering.
The Frankenstein Project performs at Sledgehammer's Gothic former funeral chapel, St. Cecilia's (1620 Sixth Avenue), and is offered as a work-in-progress because "this piece is about the act of creation," according to writer/director Kirsten Brandt. "There are just too many ideas and too many places that this material can take us."
Brandt's research for the project included consultations with philosophers, theologians, biologists, plastic surgeons, coroners and genetic engineers. Brandt is also working in a highly collaborative and sometimes improvisational manner with a compact cast of seven. The roles include Mary Shelley and a cosmologist, with women portraying the Monster as well as Frankenstein. Brandt was recently named Sledgehammer's new Resident Director, having previously directed the company's acclaimed musical hit, Sweet Charity, as well as their production of Kelly Stuart's Demonology.
Sledgehammer Theatre (which uses "sledgehammer" as a verb, as in "to sledgehammer theatre") was established in 1985 by Scott Feldsher, Ethan Feerst, and Robert Brill. Over the past 12 years, the company has gained a reputation for producing large shows on small budgets and for their intense dedication to new voices in American Theatre. It has introduced new works by such acclaimed playwrights as Mac Wellman (7 Blowjobs), Erik Ehn (Silver), Kelly Stuart, and Charles Mee. The Frankenstein Project cast includes Sasha Harris, Laura Lee Juliano, Betty Matthews, Creighton Morrison, Walter Murray, Melissa Supera and Tim West.
For tickets ($10-$15) or more information, call (619) 544-1484.
-- By Sean McGrath