The Family Frankenstein...
The creation of the concept of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster was almost as outrageous as the creation of the monster itself.
That an eighteen year old English girl, of 'good' family, was wandering around Europe in the company of her lover was shocking enough in the early 1800s. Her parents, although forward-thinking intellectuals, cannot have been at all happy about it. Then the girl - Mary Godwin - and her lover went to stay in Switzerland with that most scandalous of men - George, Lord Byron, whose love affair with the equally scandalous Lady Caroline Lamb was the delighted gossip of London (it was bad enough when Lady Caroline, a married woman, dressed up in man’s clothes to pursue Byron in the guise of his page; when she took all her clothes off for a surprise appearance among the dishes on the dining table she certainly got everyone’s attention - except that of Byron who had been doing his best to avoid her for some time.)
Byron, Mary Godwin and her lover, Percy Shelley (they later married), and John Polidori, Byron’s personal doctor, decided to pass the time in their Swiss villa by writing horror stories. The two poets did well - the two amateurs did better: Polidori eventually produced the first vampire story, and Mary Godwin wrote the story of Frankenstein, the scientific genius who builds a monster and electrifies him into life.
Since then, Dr. Frankenstein’s monster has spawned an entire genre. The story was copied, plagiarised, turned into a theatre play (none of the profits went to Mary) and appears to be as popular today as it ever was, 200 years ago.
With the 200th anniversary of the story, in 2014, the Monster gained a new lease of life and one result was that two of the theatre groups in the Algarve both decided - quite independently - that Frankenstein’s monster was just what was needed to liven up the winter months. The Algarvians are putting on Frankenstein - the Panto, in March 2016, and the same month sees the birth of Dr. and Mrs. Frankenstein’s little boy in Aperitivo’s Transylvania Dreaming.
We in Aperitivo are not restricting ourselves to the troubles of the Family Frankenstein, however. Working on the principle that you can never have too many monsters, we have cast our net wide and dragged in vampires, werewolves, King Kong, Gollum and a very odd band of foxhunters. Aperitivo’s annual winter extravaganza has the reputation of being a little crazed, and Transylvania Dreaming certainly continues the trend.
Tickets - 8euros for theatre alone, or 12euros including chilli and a Bloody Mary - are available for the following performances:
Museum, São Brás: Friday February 26th, Saturday 27th February 2016
Clube de Tavira: Saturday 5th March, Sunday 6th March
Casa do Povo, Moncarapacho: Saturday 12th March