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'Frankenstein' comes to stage

The Creature, played by Tanner Yocom, strangles Victor Frankenstein's fiancée Elizabeth. The Creature's makeup is a work in progress and will only be unveiled at the opening performance of Frankenstein. (Brian Basham / Record)1 / 2
Victor Frankenstein, played by Bryce Dutton, discusses murder with the gypsy girl, played by Veronica Foltz in the DLHS production of Frankenstein. (Brian Basham / Record)2 / 2

It's the story of companionship. It's the story of prejudice. It's the story of misery. It's the story of The Creature. It's "Frankenstein."

Detroit Lakes Public Schools presents its spring play, Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," April 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. in the George Simson Auditorium, Detroit Lakes Middle School.

The play is only a section of the original book and "starts after The Creature has been created," Director Mark Everson said. "He comes back because he's had a miserable life and wants Victor to create him a companion."

It's really a story of prejudice, Everson said. The Creature isn't malicious by nature, but he becomes that way because of how he's treated. It could be compared to racial problems happening now, he added.

But, the horror genre is definitely present as well, he guarantees.

With a small cast of eight, Everson said he's always wanted to do "Frankenstein" and show what happens when science goes wrong.

Although he likes to do comedies, he said, it's getting to be more and more of a challenge to find one that is appropriate for high school students. So, there's a "little over the top" gestures in "Frankenstein" to bring some laughs.

But don't get too excited because the next moment there could be a murder.

It's the up and down dynamics of the play that drew Tanner Yocom to the lead as The Creature.

"He was created with no real foresight," Yocom said of his character. "The role is by far the most bi-polar role I've had to do.

"I've always loved acting and I've read through the play before and the character intrigues me," he said. "I knew Mark (Everson) would do it justice."

"There's a lot of time and resources on making him as hideous as possible," Everson said of The Creature. "He's shunned for how hideous he is; he better be hideous."

Yocom said the three to four hour make-up session "is rather extensive but not an issue." Shaving his hair off for the part might be though. He said he's hoping he doesn't have to, but he's willing to if needed for the best effect.

The Creature is miserable and comes back to his creator, Victor Frankenstein, to ask him to put him to death. But The Creature overhears Victor and his fiancée talking so sweetly to each other and decides maybe a bride would be a better solution than death.

They begin to create a female companion for The Creature -- the comic portion of the play with stray hands and such in the lab -- but Victor comes to his senses and tells The Creature he can't do it and kills the bride. This, of course, angers The Creature.

He promises to be back to haunt Victor and his bride on their wedding night. Only those attending the play will know if he fulfills his threat or not though.

Victor, played by Bryce Dutton, is "very dark and twisted and has a lot of problems," Dutton described. Which results in "a constant Debbie Downer" for Dutton to play.

The Creature ends up murdering some people close to Victor, and "he hates him but yet he connects because he created him," Dutton said.

Rachel Lindemann plays Elizabeth, Victor's fiancée.

"She's trying to get him to open up cause he's always distraught," she said of her character.

The rest of the characters get to experience the rollercoaster of emotions, but Elizabeth doesn't much.

"Being the sweet girlfriend is hard," Everson said of the role. "She has to be even all the time."

One who's not even though is Ashley Morben's Sophie, the housemaid.

"She's snoopy, and by snoopy, I mean very," she said. "She's a pretty fun character to play. She has a broad spectrum of emotions -- a well-rounded character."

Cara Berger plays Victor's mother.

"She's different. She loves her son but doesn't know how to deal with him," she said. "She's a fun character to play."

Her stern moments are more fun to play than the sad ones, she added.

Bryan Lee's Henry Clerval is Victor's assistant.

"He starts off the play with higher morals than Victor, but he's drug down by the animosity of the whole thing," he said. "The big challenge is to keep him up."

Veronica Foltz and Tre Martinez round out the small cast as the gypsy and the inspector, respectively.

"I liked her character because she's very passionate. Desperate, pleading for my eternal soul -- it's a good time," Foltz said facetiously.

The inspector is just in it for the hunt of The Creature.

The group agreed that memorizing their lines was the most difficult part of the play this spring.

Being the scientific type, they had words that the actors, and adults, didn't know the meanings of and had to look up in a dictionary.

To make up for the difficult words though are the fun props -- a human skull, heart, hands and two octopuses.

"The only thing we don't have is the two-headed pig," Everson said.

"Frankenstein" is April 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Middle School George Simson Auditorium.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students at Central Market.