Frankenstein, Alberta Ballet

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& Woman Created Monster

A work of breathless horror, featuring the “most beautiful and moving” of all monsters, 18-year-old Mary Shelley’s astonishing literary masterpiece, Frankenstein is celebrating its 200th birthday.

On a small table at the centre, a monster slouched, waits to be born.
— Mary Shelley

Considered the first science-fiction novel ever written, Shelley’s disturbing tale of man’s usurpation of science and woman’s procreative power may have birthed the first genuine myth since the ancient Greeks.

“Did I request thee, maker, from my clay to mold me man? Why am I here and who am I?” asks the Monster, whose demented birthing leads us to make the chilling realization that we may indeed exist in a world without God.

A highly-anticipated world premiere, showcasing six leading-edge designers, Jean Grand-Maître’s Frankenstein will feature a massive multi-media set design, sophisticated state-of-the-art projections, and a powerful, haunting soundtrack.

Jean and his illustrious team of designers will transpose Shelley’s terrifying “fairytale for adults” to North America in 2019. For Jean, Shelley’s prophetic narrative seems even more achievable in our modern world than it would have two centuries ago.

“The designers and I believe that by transposing this terrifying story to our present time we will have a more indelible effect on our patrons. It will somehow connect stronger because of how the audience is going to relate to the technology, the advance of artificial intelligence, stem cell research and cloning,” Jean said. “It also reinforces the brilliance of this masterpiece. She was quite ahead of her time. In every way this book captured something that was of its time but was also eternal.

“Looking at the period when this was written, there was all of this fear in society. Industrialism was beginning and science was moving very quickly, so there was just an explosion of knowledge that threatened the social values. Frankenstein also warns its readers of the importance of ethics in science and of the responsibility we have towards each other’s well-being,” said Jean.

“We were deeply inspired when we started fantasizing about how Shelley’s narrative would associate with our present time. It became a much more interesting odyssey for us as designers to explore this aesthetic. We had a feeling it could be more powerful and would resonate more deeply with the audience.”

As for the dancing, Jean promises powerful performances featuring a mix of both contemporary and classical ballet styles – a combination Alberta Ballet dancers, as well as fans and followers of the Company, have come to expect.

“The monster’s movements will need to be hideously discombobulated, so that’s going to be interesting to choreograph. It’s going to be very athletic and dramatic,” he said. “For those who want to see a scary ballet for Halloween and experience a beautiful production with exquisite designs, they’re going to enjoy it. But if you’re someone who appreciates Frankenstein on a more intellectual and literary level, there’s going to be a lot of meat on the plate for people who think of horror stories as more than just entertainment.”

Jean warns that this may not be a production suitable for the whole family or even the faint of heart. His vision for his first-ever horror ballet is shaping up to be terrifyingly gory, which may be too overwhelming for younger children.

CHOREOGRAPHY: Jean Grand-Maître

SOUND DESIGN: Claude Lemelin

COSTUME DESIGN: Anne-Séguin Poirier

SET DESIGN: Guillaume Lord






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