The Alliance Public Library will present the first in a series of “Living Books” on Thursday, October 17 at 7 p.m. In keeping with the Halloween spirit of October, the book being brought to life is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus. Considered the first true science fiction novel, the book relates the story of Victor Frankenstein and the creature he brings to life, which results in the ruination of his own life. “We are all familiar with the B movie Frankenstein – the mad doctor with his hunchbacked assistant, Igor, and the feared but ultimately harmless – or at least blameless – monster he brings to life,” said Elaine Connelly Bleisch, who is organizing the evening.
“However, the novel is very, very different. Victor is not actually a doctor, for example, and no one else even knows that he has created this creature. Igor is not in the book at all, and the creature is actually very intelligent, and articulate.”
The book will be brought to life with the help of the Main Street Players Community Theater. David Kuskie will portray Victor Frankenstein, Chris Obershaw will play the creature, and Jason Wentworth will narrate as the ship’s captain to whom the story is originally told. In addition to adapting and directing the piece, Bleisch will appear as Mary Shelley, who will speak about her life and the creation of the book.
“I think the story of Mary Shelley is more fascinating than the book she wrote,” Bleisch said. “She was born to famous parents – both were writers, philosophers, and political activists in a time when literary giants were major celebrities. She never knew her mother – Mary Wollstonecraft - but as a child, her mother’s fans would visit just to look at Mary, as some sort of novelty. And her parents were radical – her father was an outspoken anarchist and neither one believed in many of the conventions of civilization, including marriage. Their ideas were absorbed by their daughter, who ended up running away as a teenager with a married man – the poet Percy Shelley, who later became one of the most celebrated poets in history.”
After the presentation, there will be a question and answer session, first with Mary Shelley and the characters from the novel, and then with the performers. Light refreshments will be served, courtesy of the Alliance Public Library Foundation. For more information, contact the library at 762-1387.