Michael Stusiak plays the monster in the ONTS production of Frankenstein. / Joe Samorodin Photo

Mission theatre group tackles horror classic Frankenstein

Play deals with issues that are still relevant today

Just in time for the Halloween season, Mission’s Opening Night Theatre Society (ONTS) is turning dark and stormy for its season opener Frankenstein, Tim Kelly’s version of Mary Shelley’s enduring sci-fi thriller.

In it we meet Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant but tortured young scientist who, after many exhaustive months alone in his laboratory, has cracked the secret of creating a human being.

Tragically, his “experiment” is cruelly shunned and hated by all who view its horrific exterior. Cast out by society, it is doomed to wander in isolation, longing for human kindness and sympathy. Abandoned by Frankenstein, the creature’s misery soon turns to hatred, violence and revenge.

Victor, overcome with repulsion and guilt, fears the being will track him down and murder him. Instead the creature implores Victor to create for it a companion bride, to ease its loneliness and suffering.

What will Frankenstein do?

What intrigued director Jennifer Kennedy about Shelley’s 200- year-old yarn (inspired by a nightmare and first published anonymously in 1818) is how strikingly relevant it is to 2017.

Today’s scientists working in the fields of medicine, artificial intelligence, and robotics face the same moral dilemmas as Victor Frankenstein.

“We see the benefits of scientific progress and tinkering with life, but what about the dangers and social responsibilities?” asks Kennedy.

Genetically engineered babies and genetically modified crops spring to mind.

Kennedy further adds how excited she is to see how well the actors embody these intense characters and the complex relationships they have with one another, particularly between the unprepared creator Frankenstein and his rejected and dangerous creature.

Frankenstein promises not only dark entertainment but timeless themes to ponder.

Playing Victor Frankenstein is Connor Drysdale, who last appeared as the troubled youth in the ONTS 2016 Fraser Valley Zone Festival play Mrs. Reynolds and the Ruffian.

Appearing for the first time with ONTS, as the poignant creature, is Michael Stusiak.

Well-known Mission actor Tony Loyer plays Frankenstein’s supportive best friend Henry.

Jessica Dunfield, last seen in Office Hours, is Victor’s perplexed but loving wife, and Frankenstein’s worried mother is played by Danielle Donovan.

Tammy Chrest plays Sophie the faithful housekeeper, Cheyanne Reinelt is Justine the ill-fated gypsy girl and Brian Billo, 2017 Zone Festival award winner, is Ernst, the police inspector.

Producer and set designer is Camille Atebe, stage manager is Daniela Da Silva, lighting and sound designer is Joe Samorodin, costume designer is Susan Crape and makeup designer is Chelsea Banman.

Frankenstein runs Oct. 20 through Nov. 5, Thursdays to Saturdays at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets are buy one, get one free on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2. Tickets are available at openingnitetheatre.com, ontstickets@hotmail.com, 604-826-ONTS (6687) or at the door at 33223 Railway Ave.