Innovative theater company to perform horror classic

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October 22, 2018


One of the more innovative theater companies will present one of the most innovative science fiction novels ever written.

Aquila Theatre presents a new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, Saint John’s University. The production is part of the 2018-19 Fine Arts Series at the College of Saint Benedict and SJU.

Written by Shelley in 1818, “Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus” was the first true science fiction novel. Years ahead of its time, the story has since become the inspiration for countless film and stage adaptations, according to theatre’s website.

Aquila Theatre’s production of this timeless classic will be bold and thrilling – while paying homage to the original, frightening writing of Shelley. The piece raises an important universal question about the nature of innovation - just because it can be done, should it be done?

Victor Frankenstein is a Swiss scientist with a mission to create an artificial human being. Without considering the consequences of such progress, he succeeds with terrifying results.

After wandering the world alone, the monster eventually comes for Frankenstein’s family. Horrific events unfold until the doctor tentatively agrees to create a mate for the creature.

Ultimately, the doctor refuses in an effort to spare humanity but bears the terrible and personal penalties of his decision. Two hundred years later, Frankenstein still poses a myriad of critical ethical questions.

Founded by Peter Meineck in 1991, Aquila Theatre Company's first production in the United States was a touring production of Aeschylus's “Agamemnon.” It then ran for four weeks at the Bridge Lane Theatre in London.  The company went on to build up an extensive international touring circuit.

Aquila moved to New York City in 1999, becoming an established part of the New York theater scene with its first production of “Iliad: Book One” at the Clark Studio at Lincoln Center, followed by long running Off-Broadway productions of “The Comedy of Errors” and “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Aquila is the foremost producer of touring classical theater in the United States, visiting 50-60 American cities per year.

“The theatre’s mission is to make classical works accessible to the greatest number (of people),” according to its website. “A play becomes ‘classical’ because people recognize that after a time it transcends the original culture it was created for. It retains the power to provoke the central question of what it means to be human.

“As a company dedicated to the classics, we feel a responsibility to acknowledge and explore newfound classical works,” the website concluded.     

Tickets for the performance are $30 for adults, $27 for seniors, CSB and SJU faculty and staff $23, youth/student (with ID) $15 and CSB and SJU students $10. The event is sponsored in part by Microbiologics and El-Jay Plumbing and Heating.

For tickets, order online or call the Benedicta Arts Center Box Office at 320-363-5777.

The performance is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.