Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
This is not a new story, as is being made abundantly clear in Cinnabar Theater's production of The Creature, Bay Area playwright Trevor Allen's take on Mary Shelley's novel "Frankenstein." For it is only when the creature created by the young genius Viktor Frankenstein is spurned by society, teased and tormented because of his appearance that he lashes out. All he wants is what any of us want: to be loved, to have a friend, to share in the company of our fellow beings.
Allen (ably assisted by director Jon Tracy) explores this theme of human connection and abandonment in a way that is both true to the spirit of Shelley's novel, yet still coming at the story in his own way. Though there is plenty of drama here, there's very little action, as the three actorsRobert Parsons as The Creature, Tim Kniffin as Viktor Frankenstein, and Richard Pallaziol as Captain Walton (and others)spend most of the two+ hours seated on simple black wooden chairs on Jon Tracy's almost infinitely spare set, meant to mimic the arctic ice floes where Shelley's book began and ended.
The first incarnation of The Creature was as a radio play, and the origins show through. This is to be listened to almost as much as it is to be watched. Allen has created a compelling structure for the first act, as Captain Walton sets the scene, and then Frankenstein and his Creature tell the somewhat parallel stories of their childhoods and educations. It's fascinating to discover how similar are their pathsdespite being very different in very many ways.
Parsons is wonderful as The Creature, deftly embodying the sense of longing for a connection he can never have. Kniffin is likewise skilled at portraying Dr. Frankenstein not as evil, but simply a brilliant man whose desire to discover out-paced his ability to predict the consequences of his efforts.
This is a beautifuland spookyevening of theater, perfect for the Halloween season.
The Creature runs through November 1, 2015, at the Cinnabar Theater, 3333 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 general, $15 for those 21 and under. There is a $5 surcharge for the October 31 show. Tickets and additional information are available at www.cinnabartheater.org or by calling 707-763-8920.