Oct. 31 - Nov. 9, 2019. A loose adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Reading Frankenstein was produced at UC Irvine in the Experimental Media and Performance Lab (xMPL). I created the projections and co-wrote the script for this piece about an artificial life scientist named Mary Shelly who discovers that one of her life-creation experiments is running amok at the same time the novel Frankenstein is haunting her imagination. Originally produced in 2003, it was thoroughly reimagined and rewritten for the 2019 production, with a new focus on the ethics of genetic engineering. My collaborators included co-creator and director Annie Loui and lighting designer Lonnie Alcaraz, with neurobiologist Jidm Fallon serving as scientific consultant.
This production takes the story into the not-too-distant future, with a plotline turning on the increasing autonomy of AI and the accelerating advances of CRISP-based genetic engineering. The Creature begins as a virtual being and becomes flesh in the course of the production, which features actors playing only two principal roles, Scientist and Creature. The set consists almost entirely of projection screens and monitors, so that the Creature can appear in many different forms from live video feed to a videogame character.
Mary Shelly (right): Kaden Kearney
Creature (left): Abel Garcia
All above photos by Steve Zylius/UCI.
Two photos above by Jesús López Vargas (jelopez-stage.com).