By Mily Mumford
1398 Cartwright St. Granville Island,
Vancouver BC V6H 3R8
Preview October 24th 8pm October 25-28th 8pm
October 29th and 30th 2pm and 8pm
Set in post World War II Berlin, Frankenstein, 1945 explores the world of Victor Frankenstein, a young doctor who has recently severed ties to the Nazi medical experiments, and Elizabeth, a young Jewish engineer returning home to Germany. In trying to make peace with the horrors they have witnessed they try to develop a way to bring back the dead. Frankenstein, 1945 is a stage-noir thriller about the monsters created by us and within us… and what happens when we let them loose.
“The original book Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is very important to me as a writer,” says Mumford, playwright and director of the piece. “I fell in love with it from a young age and it is arguably the first true work of science fiction, which is my favourite genre to create in.” Mumford’s academic background is in sciences, specifically biotechnology and neuroscience “so the story appeals to me from a scientific point of view as well,” she says. “The themes in the novel of mortality and the ethics of medical and scientific advancement are still so important and relevant to both today and the setting I chose for this adaptation- the Nazi medical experiments and Nuremberg Trials. I also wanted to combine my love of the text with my love of film noir, which inspired the aesthetic and style of the play,” she adds.
Frankenstein, 1945 features a talented cast including Munish Sharma (The Invisible Hand), Pedro Chamale (Bull) and Anais West (Dry Land). Madelyn Osborne, playing Elizabeth says: “This show excites me because as an artist I get to not only explore a true classic but I get to play an empowered, badass woman in a time when many women were being oppressed. We often only really hear one side of Germany in the 1940’s and having the opportunity to explore further what it was like for German citizens during and after the war feels like a real gift.”
About the Play
The story follows Victor Frankenstein, a young doctor whose internship landed him in the Nazi medical experiments under neurologist Herta Oberheuser, and a young Jewish engineer, Elizabeth Lavenskova, who has been posing as Victor’s cousin to avoid prosecution. Frankenstein leaves the medical experiments as soon as he realizes what they are doing to people in the camps, but he is haunted by the horrors he witnessed. He wants to use the techniques he learned from his supervisor for good, and bring people back from the dead. He gets Elizabeth on board to help with the electrical engineering component of the reanimation process. They succeed and create the creature, and of course all hell breaks loose. Meanwhile a British and American spy who have been partnered under Allied military intelligence have started tracking what Frankenstein is doing.
The relationship in the show between Shelley and Mathilde.
“Shelley is a spy for MI6 working with Allied forces to track Nazi war criminals. Mathilde is a german nursing professor who has been employed by the Nazi Medical Experiments through her work at the university. They are both women who fought for esteemed positions in a period of time where neither were seen as capable of doing the things they do best. And on top of this they are queer. They have to hide a part of themselves in order to keep positions in society that could be taken from them already at any time due to their gender. Historical fiction and playwriting, like historical documentation in general is dominated by straight, male views. Lesbians existed in the 1940’s, queer people existed. Women fought for positions of power and esteem just like they do today. I wanted to include these stories in the play because they are important.
When the Nazi party came to power, a lot of progress that was made during the Weimar Republic in Germany was undone. Women who held positions of esteem in academia and other professions were stripped of titles. Queer visibility, which was considered fringe but still very much acceptable in the Weimar Republic, was criminalized.”
ABOUT NEBULA COMPANY THEATRE
Nebula Company Theatre strives to create and produce theatre works from diverse voices that are intellectually innovative and politically charged.
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About the Playwright/Director
Mily Mumford is a local playwright/director/performer originally from Victoria BC. She has had work produced with companies across BC such as Theatre Skam, Puente Theatre, Intrepid Theatre, Delinquent Theatre, Little Mountain Lion Productions, Atomic Vaudeville, Firehall Arts Centre, and The Only Animal. Mumford was recently a playwright-in-residence with Delinquent Theatre with her show Love is for Superbeasts, a writing and production intern with Atomic Vaudeville with her show Generation Post Script (full production in April 2016) and was a director in Rumble’s 2016 Director’s Lab under Kim Collier. She is a graduate of biotechnology and creative writing from Camosun College and Neuroscience from the University of Victoria.
A Word with the Director/Playwright
The original book Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is very important to me as a writer- I fell in love with it from a young age and it is arguably the first true work of science fiction, which is my favourite genre to create in. My academic background is in sciences, specifically biotechnology and neuroscience so the story appeals to me from a scientific point of view as well. The themes in the novel of mortality and the ethics of medical and scientific advancement are still so important and relevant to both today and the setting I chose for this adaptation- the Nazi medical experiments and Nuremberg Trials. I also wanted to combine my love of the text with my love of film noir, which inspired the aesthetic and style of the play.
“Frankenstein 1945” and WW2
The story follows Victor Frankenstein, a young doctor whose internship landed him in the Nazi medical experiments under neurologist Herta Oberheuser.
Nazi human experimentation was a series of medical experiments on large numbers of prisoners, including children, by Nazi Germany in its concentration camps mainly in the early 1940s, during World War II and the Holocaust. Chief target populations included Romani, Sinti, ethnic Poles, Soviet POWs, disabled Germans, and most prominently of all Jews from across Europe.
Nazi Physicians and their assistants forced prisoners into participating; they did not willingly volunteer and no consent was given for the procedures. Typically, the experiments resulted in death, trauma, disfigurement or permanent disability, and as such are considered as examples of medical torture.
At Auschwitz and other camps, under the direction of Eduard Wirths, selected inmates were subjected to various hazardous experiments that were designed to help German military personnel in combat situations, develop new weapons, aid in the recovery of military personnel who had been injured, and to advance the Nazi racial ideology. Aribert Heim conducted similar medical experiments at Mauthausen. Carl Værnet is known to have conducted experiments on homosexual prisoners in attempts to “cure” homosexuality.
After the war, these crimes were tried at what became known as the Doctors’ Trial, and revulsion at the abuses perpetrated led to the development of the Nuremberg Code of medical ethics.
Herta Oberheuser (15 May 1911 in Cologne, German Empire – 24 January 1978 in Linz am Rhein, West Germany) was a Nazi physician at the Auschwitz and Ravensbrück concentration camps from 1940 until 1943.
Oberheuser worked at concentration camps under the supervision of Dr. Karl Gebhardt, participating in gruesome medical experiments (sulfanilamide as well as bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration and bone transplantation) conducted on 86 women, 74 of whom were Polish political prisoners in the camp. She killed healthy children with oil and evipan injections, then removed their limbs and vital organs. The time from the injection to death was between three and five minutes, with the person being fully conscious until the last moment. She performed some of the most gruesome and painful medical experiments, focusing on deliberately inflicting wounds on the subjects. In order to simulate the combat wounds of German soldiers fighting in the war, Oberheuser rubbed foreign objects, such as wood, rusty nails, slivers of glass, dirt, or sawdust into the cuts.
Herta Oberheuser was the only female defendant in the Nuremberg Medical Trial, where she was sentenced to 20 years in jail. It was later reduced to 10 years in prison.
She was released in April 1952 for good behavior and became a family doctor in West Germany. She lost her position in 1956, after a Ravensbrück survivor recognized her, and her license to practice medicine was revoked in 1958. She died in January 1978.
“The story is fictitious but set in a real time in history and against real events. I took the backdrop of the Nazi medical experiments at Ravensbruck, post war Berlin, and the Nuremberg Trials and placed the characters of Frankenstein within them. So of course many things that happen in the play actually happened. Herta Oberheuser, for example, who is Victor Frankenstein’s supervisor, was in fact a real neurologist at Ravensbruck who did nerve grafting experiments—but she never had a student who used her methods to reanimate the dead. It’s all a blending of true events and how these characters would have reacted to them.”
– Mily Mumford
The Nuremberg trials (German: die Nürnberger Prozesse) were a series of military tribunals, held by the Allied forces after World War II, which were most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, judicial and economic leadership of Nazi Germany who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in The Holocaust and other war crimes. The trials were held in the city of Nuremberg, Germany.
The first, and best known of these trials, described as “the greatest trial in history” by Norman Birkett, one of the British judges who presided over it, was the trial of the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT). Held between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946, the Tribunal was given the task of trying 24 of the most important political and military leaders of the Third Reich, though one of the defendants, Martin Bormann, was tried in absentia, while another, Robert Ley, committed suicide within a week of the trial’s commencement.
Not included were Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels, all of whom had committed suicide in the spring of 1945, well before the indictment was signed. Reinhard Heydrich was not included, as he had been assassinated in 1942.
The second set of trials of lesser war criminals was conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 at the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT), which included the Doctors’ Trial and the Judges’ Trial. This article primarily deals with the IMT; see Subsequent Nuremberg Trials for details on the NMT (the second set of trials).
Frankenstein through the years
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley that tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a grotesque but sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition of the novel was published anonymously in London in 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared on the second edition, published in France in 1823. Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. At the same time, it is an early example of science fiction.
Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, and the famous character of Frankenstein’s monster have influenced popular culture for at least 100 years. The work has inspired numerous films, television programs, video games and derivative works. The character of the monster remains one of the most recognized icons in horror fiction.
The first film adaptation of the tale, Frankenstein, was done by Edison Studios in 1910
The Edison version was followed soon after by another adaptation entitled Life Without Soul (1915)
There was also at least one European film version, the Italian Il Mostro di Frankenstein (“The Monster of Frankenstein”) in 1921
The first sound adaptation of the story, Frankenstein (1931), was produced by Universal Pictures
Its sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is probably the best regarded of all the Universal horror films.
It was followed by Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Anais has performed in August: Osage County (Arts Club), Kosmic Mambo and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Studio 58), Shakespearean Rhapsody (Carousel Theatre for Young People), Dry Land, (Rumble Theatre’s Tremors Festival) and Umizoko (The Only Animal’s Generation Hot). As a playwright, Anais has had a reading of her play Gunpowder Girls (Playwright’s Theatre Centre) and will be workshopping Kill Your Lovers, a video/play hybrid she is co-creating with inderdisciplinary artist Shauna Griffin, in early December at Progress Lab under the direction of Fay Nass. Anais is part of the Wet Ink Collective of female playwrights.
Ryan is an actor and a sound designer with a Bachelors Degree in Performing Arts from Capilano University. He is also a part time superhero (check Instagram). Past acting credits include The Foreigner (Arts Club/Pacific Theatre), The Rainmaker, Crime and Punishment (Pacific Theatre), Romans In Britain, The Country Wife, Children’s Hour, and Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Ensemble Theatre Company). He has all appeared in film and TV on shows like The Man in the High Castle, Aftermath, and Hailey Dean Mysteries.
Munish is thrilled to be part of Frankenstein 1945! When Munish isn’t acting he is the Host and Co Proudcer of one of Vancouver’s most popular Variety show nights Gastown Cabaret, which takes place at Guilt& Co every second Tuesday of the month. Next up Munish will be in Men in White written by Anosh Irani for the Arts Club in the New Year.
Madelyn Osborne is a Vancouver-based actor, director and creator. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Monster Moon Theatre. Through MMT she runs Epiphany, a monthly emerging artist event open to creatives of multiple and various disciplines. Through Epiphany and other such events Madelyn plans to build her career as a producer and networker, becoming someone who can connect people and resources to each other. She is a graduate of Douglas College and the University of Wales. Recent credits include: Cherry (The Beaux Stratagem, United Players), Woman (Morning, About Love Festival) and directing Disposable Generation (Monster Moon Theatre). See more at: www.madelynosborne.com
Jess moved to Vancouver in 2010 to study acting at SchoolCreative. When she graduated she ran away to try Toronto, and promptly ran back to Vancouver because she missed all of those west coast things (Mountains! Ocean! You know.). She (kind of) recently played Wendy in the absurdist/gothic play “Petr Pann,” Queen Beatrix and the healer Maeria in VAST Studio’s video game “Dream of Ruin,” an incarnation of the demon Lilith in the short film “Soft Touch,” and the sociopathic pirate Lady in the indie feature “Gristle’s Peak.” Jess has undying love for sci-fi, indie movies, and most things tofu-related.
Originally from Calgary, Natalie is a queer theatre artist with a passion for interdisciplinary performance and community arts engagement. She holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta and has most recently performed and created in challenging new forms of theatre such as The Stranger with DLT Teatro, and MACHiNE NOiSY’s PROX:IMITY RE:MIX project, where she also has worked as a youth mentor. Select favourite acting credits include Ingrid in Blavatsky’s Tower (Studio Theatre), The Street Singer in The Threepenny Opera (Studio Theatre), and the title role in Lysistrata (University of Alberta).
Gregory is ecstatic to be playing the role of dr.Frankenstein among such a talented cast. A great shift from his last role as jack Archer in the Beaux stratagem directed by Kathy Duborg, but not such a large detour from his part the third soldier in Howard Brenton’s the Romans in Britain, under the direction of Richard Wolf. Now that he’s done his time at Studio 58, he looks to make Vancouver his home, and give more to the city that’s given him so much. You may look for him at some university soon enough, as he is invigorated by his education so far to study more. Loads of love to his family, teachers, And lovely lady.
Zach is a graduate of the BFA Acting program at UBC, and has completed Canada’s National Voice Intensive. Recent credits include: Rapunzel’s Prince Into The Woods (Fighting Chance Productions); Mr. Sowerberry Oliver (TUTS), Perchik Fiddler on The Room (RCMT), Mercutio Goodnight Desdemona (Awkward Stage Productions), and Bassianus TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy (Awkward Stage Productions). Zach is an improviser and performer with Instant Theatre Company, and Off Key Musical Improv. Zach is the improv teacher at Actorium.
Brennan is a Canadian actor, dancer, and director. He is currently based in Vancouver where he worked as the Clown Whisperer for SmartyPantz Entertainment and as the Apprentice Director for Pericles (Bard On The Beach) this season. Brennan has been acting for the last sixteen years of his life. Highlights include: touring Macbeth and The Tempest (Theatre Prospero), performing in NightTime (Cowardly Kiss Theatre), Hybrid Moments: A Romantic Black Comedy (NFG Film) and choreographing in Here There Be Dragons (Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre). He has performed professionally in Australia, Japan, and Canada.
Pedro Chamale is a first generation Canadian theatre artist who received his BFA in Theatre Performance from SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. In 2010 Pedro co-founded rice & beans theatre with fellow SFU Alum Derek Chan. Pedro believes Theatre should speak to who we are as humans, it should connect us and reveal all facets of the world around us. Pedro drives the theatre he creates to expand audience’s perspectives and values, all while telling interesting and evocative stories. Selected credits include: Bull (Tremors Festival), Walking Projects (Battery Opera), Are We There Yet? (Neworld Theatre), The Show Must Go On and Poetics: a ballet brute (Push Festival).
Meaghan Cate- Props Designer
Meaghan is a new to Vancouver theater student at SFU. She comes from San Francisco, California and has worked in theater for 6 years. She has set, costume, hair/makeup and prop designed; also stage managing and scenic paint Some of her recent credits include: Romeo & Juliet, Arsenic and Old Lace, How to Succeed, Pirates of Penzance for LLHS; Rent, Avenue Q, West Side, Les Mis, and Footloose for Stars 2000; Going to Saint Ives and Raisin in the Sun for Flight Deck and Aluminous; The Fantasticks and New Girl in Town for OMG, and many more.
Daniel Tessy- Lighting Designer
Daniel Tessy is a multifaceted designer in Vancouver. He’s also the props master at Douglas College by day and a musician by night. Some of his favorite past credits include sound design/original composition for Hamlet (Blackspear Productions), lighting design for The Laramie Project (tomosuru productions), and producing/writing/production design for his theatre company’s inaugural production Herm and Gertie (Brain Apple Theatre). He’s very grateful to the folks at Nebula Theatre for giving him the opportunity to make his spookiest, most shadowy design yet.
Jared Raschke-Set Designer
Jared is delighted to be working with Nebula Company Theatre for the first time! Some recent design credits include: Set design for Wizard of Oz/Munsch Upon a Time (Project X Theatre), Set/Lighting design for Kolejka (star star theatre) Super Zeroes (Chimera Theatre), and The Diary ofAnne Frank (Westsyde Secondary).
Diana fell in love with theatre while in high school, when all the cool kids were doing it. Since then, she has had the pleasure of stage managing/ASMing shows such as Marrow (Resounding Scream/Alley Theatre), Love is for Superbeasts (Little Mountain Lion Productions) and Macbeth (Crooked Teeth Theatre) at the Vancouver Fringe Festival, as well as The Drowning Girls (Stone’s Throw Productions), and Slaughterhouse-Five (Little Mountain Lion Productions). Diana is currently studying History, Labour Studies, and Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.
CJ McGillivray is an emerging interdisciplinary artist from Vancouver, British Columbia. She has a passion for immersive design that subtly complements the drama unfolding on stage. Recent sound design credits include On My Walk (Carousel Theatre), Any Night andThe Drowning Girls (Stone’s Throw Productions), Amsterdam (Wilde Bunbury), Last Night (Sacred Space Festival) and Antigone (Theatre Pandora)
What the actors are excited about:
“Historical lesbianism! And retelling historical narratives in ways that pass the Bechdel test and include female characters with agency”
– Anais West
“World War II is a fascinating and mysterious point in history to study, and mixing that with the story of Frankenstein makes it that much better.”
– Ryan Scramstad
“I’ve never done a show with monsters in it.”
– Munish Sharma
“This show excites me because as an artist I get to not only explore a true classic but I get to play an empowered, badass woman set in a time period that many women were being oppressed. We often only really hear one side of Germany in the 1940’s and having the opportunity to explore further of what it was like for German citizens during and after the war feels like a real gift.”
– Madelyn Osborne
“I’m thrilled to be playing a strong female character as we go back in time to the 1940s. I think the show offers a new and exciting take on the tale of Frankenstein, just in time for Halloween!”
– Natalie Davidson
“I feel like I was a mad scientist in a past life, or a dream, but either way, it’s one of the types of character I became an actor for.”
– Gregory Radzimowski
And from our sound designer…
“The world of film noir offers such a fascinating backdrop for the narrative and their is so much room for creativity in the sound design.”
– CJ McGillivray
And production/stage manager…
“I love Mily’s work because she almost exclusively writes strong, powerful women who we don’t often see in historical fiction. And she’s so committed to spotlighting women and minority groups (LGBT, POCs, etc)”
– Diana Bartosh
By Mily Mumford
Director • Mily Mumford
Stage Manager/Production Manager • Diana Bartosh
Sound/Projection Design • CJ McGillivray
Lighting Design • Daniel Tessy
Set Design • Jared Raschke
Interior Set Design and Props • Meaghan Cate
Costume Design • Shelby Wyminga