When I officially moved to Denver, Colorado last summer I remember driving by the megaplex that is the Denver Center for Performing Arts on Speer Blvd, the largest non-profit theater organization in America. I smiled, pointed my finger to the building and said out loud, “I’m going to work there.” About one year later, here I am cast in my first gig!
This past week I began rehearsals for Frankenstein by Nick Dear at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts! I am so excited to be working in the theater again after working in film and commercials my first year here. It really is something magical.
Normally for the first rehearsal of a theater show, it’s a big meet and greet with the cast, director, artistic team, and usually the staff of the theater company, including the artistic director. After everyone is met, the director and his artistic team talk about the vision of the show and what the costumes, lights, sounds, and scenery will look like. They generally present their ideas through power point, renderings, models, and descriptive language.
Afterward the actors and director gather around at tables and do a reading of the play for the first time so everyone can hear it. After the reading everyone claps and the theater staff heads back to work in the offices. The actors break and return to discuss the play and begin work for the next four weeks before the production opens.
What is so amazingly unique about this play is the role reversal of the main characters Dr. Frankenstein and the Creature, or as we know him, the monster. Which means every night there will be a different Dr. Frankenstein and Creature! These roles will be played by Sullivan Jones and Mark Junek (See below). It was only fitting for the director, Sam Buntrock, to flip a coin to see who would first read for the creature (See Below). They would swap for the second reading in the evening. Frankenstein, originally performed in London at the National Theatre in 2001, directed by Danny Boyle, starred Benedict Cumberbatch, Johnny Lee Harris, and Naomi Harris. This play will be produced for the first time in United States at the Denver Center.
The actors in the cast were very talented and very kind. Some were local to Colorado while others were form New York. I couldn’t help but talk to the director about his work outside of the theater walls. Beforehand I did a little research and found that our director, Sam Buntrock, is also an illustrator and has his own blog! I’d already checked it out and was really inspired by his work, especially his story “The Ending”. I geeked out with Buntrock for a short while on the subject and when back to my business so as not to exceed a normal level of nerdiness on the first day.
If you check out ConfusedDoodles.com you will already see Buntrock’s inspiration from the show with “First Day of School” below. All in all, Im super excited about being part of this production. See below for show info!
by Nick Dear
from the novel by Mary Shelley
Directed by Sam Buntrock
Dates: September 30th-October 30th
Given life from a man with a troubled heart, a creature assembled from corpses sets out into the unforgiving world to discover his humanity. As he uncovers both kindness and cruelty, he seeks out the doctor who created him to demand answers about his troubled existence. Frankenstein features two lead actors alternating performances in the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creature, allowing man and monster to intersect with every chilling performance of this U.S. premiere.