Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Frankenstein Sundae, 355

And while she was away, yet another play appeared on the London stage (the Adelphi Theatre*), another play based on her most famous story, a play called Frankenstein; or the Model Man.[1]  
The play opened on December 26, 1849, ran for fifty-four performances (a lot for those days), earned positive reviews, and closed on February 27, 1850.

This play was a musical parody of it all—written in a rollicking iambic pentameter. Early on, one character says
You must excuse a trifling deviation
From Mrs. Shelley’s marvellous narration.[2]
The university was called Crackenjausen; the creature was called The What Is It. And Victor Frankenstein himself is aware he is both in and out of the story.
Blockheads, aren’t I the hero of the piece?
And haven’t I a right to clear the stage
When in soliloquy I engage?[3]
We see the creation of the creature, who, upon awakening, sings a song;
I’m a gent
I’m a gent. I’m a gent. I’m a gent ready made,
Sprung up in a moment, a parvenu blade.
I’m a regular swell from the top to the toe.
But how I became so, I’m hanged if I know.
I’ve got no connexions not even a ma,
And I’ve no recollection of having a pa.[4]
The foolishness ends with the creature totally socialized and looking for a situation in life (a job, a position), and Frankenstein assures him that this is more than possible.[5]
As we know this was hardly the last time Mary’s story would undergo a transformation; the versions continue to this day (as I’ve written about earlier). Not that long ago (June 9, 2017), in a newspaper cartoon The Argyle Sweater, cartoonist Scott Hilburn shows us Victor Frankenstein and Igor (who, of course, does not appear in Mary’s original story)—Igor, who has misunderstood some information about the creature’s desire to marry, about “asking for the hand” of the Bride, and he has transplanted the bride’s hands onto the creature’s arms.
Oh, what a creature Mary created—and how it has lived, on and on and on and on! 

[1] In Hideous Progenies: Dramatizations of Frankenstein from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, by Steven Earl Forry (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1990), 227–50.
[2] Ibid., 229.
[3] Ibid., 230.
[4] Ibid., 239.
[5] Ibid., 249.

*The Adelphi is still there--but it has been rebuilt several times since Mary's day.

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