On the night before Halloween, National Theatre Live gave Fairfield University all treats and no tricks when they screened the deliciously frightful rendition of “Frankenstein.”
It is directed by Danny Boyle and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller and showed at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts for the third year in a row.
“We thought it was the perfect timing to show it for Halloween,” explained Lori Jones, assistant director of programming and audience development at the Quick Center. “We air it the night before to put people into the holiday spirit.”
The production, first performed in the Royal National Theatre in London in 2011, is wildly popular among the NT Live audiences. It has been brought back to cinemas around the world multiple times by popular demand.
There were two screenings at the Quick Center, a matinee at 2 p.m. and a night showing at 7. At the 2 p.m. showing, the monster was portrayed by Jonny Lee Miller and Victor Frankenstein was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, while at the 7 p.m. showing it was the other way around, an ingenious way to play up Victor and his creature as foils to each other.
The show opens from the creature’s perspective, building sympathy for him right off the bat. He enters the world confused and alone and attempts to assimilate, but is greeted with nothing but hatred and scorn. Victor is portrayed as cruel and unfeeling towards his creature, completely abandoning him. This causes the creature to become darker and more despicable and Victor to become more of a tortured soul.
The production continues to build sympathy and disgust for both Victor and his creature, and is brilliant from start to finish.
Fairfield resident Phyllis Schneble commented positively on the production.
“It wasn’t what I expected; it was a little more gruesome and creepier, but I liked it.”
Schneble, an attendee of many of the past NT Live screenings, said she likes to see the Broadway productions for much less money. “It’s more comfortable and easier to expose the kids to it.”
NT Live productions have been screened in the Quick Center since 2009. The audiences have responded in an overwhelmingly positive way to such screenings. The packed Quick Center was filled with an enthusiastic crowd of about 100 people. According to Jones, about one-tenth of the audience is typically Fairfield students.
“The screening is on the same day as a Theatre Fairfield performance and two water film screenings,” Jones said. “It’s an interesting challenge. Students have so much to select from. I prefer to look at it as a positive thing.”
Upcoming NT Live screenings to be held in the Quick Center include “Of Mice and Men” starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd on Nov. 6 and “Skylight” starring Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy on Nov. 13. Tickets are $15 for Fairfield University students.