La MaMa presents the world premiere of this horror-themed puppet spectacle, conceived and directed by Obie Award winner Randolph Curtis Rand. More…
A rainy night in a Genevan castle. Debauched poetry and too much wine. A teenage girl writes a spooky story. On the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s creation, 'Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus,' 'Phantasmagoria' assembles a swirl of puppetry, biography, and storytelling into a market of ghosts. Part of La MaMa's 2016 Puppet Series.
"Gives Shelley the attention she so rightly deserves...The cast members prove themselves to be talented at taking on multiple roles, using puppetry, and providing differing voices and sound effects...The truly unique 'Phantasmagoria' provides plenty of spooky fun, but, through its discussion of Mary Shelley and her work, also plenty of brain food that will leave you cerebrally stimulated long after the actors have taken their bows." Full Review
"The story comes to life onstage through ten-foot-tall puppets, ghastly projections and voice modulation that is still giving me the chills on a nice, warm day...Much research has gone into this interesting production. As the characters suggest, they were indeed embracing what today would be called free love and non-monogamy. A modern and fresh feel comes from the cast: youthful, handsome in Kima Baffour’s costumes, and ethnically diverse." Full Review
"The entanglement of the narratives works well in the second half of the show, however the first act has some trouble finding its feet...As the play becomes more ephemeral and ethereal, with heavy ambiance and puppet work, the story finds its pace and drive. Perhaps with a little more time, 'Phantasmagoria' will develop a first act that performs to the level of its second. The promise of a strong ensemble cast and compelling design has the potential for a spectacular spectre-driven experience." Full Review
"Overall, 'Phantasmagoria' is messy. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s blessed with good (and pleasingly diverse) actors, but cursed with a script that’s having an identity crisis at all times. It manages to both over-explain and under-explain, to do several things right, but also to do many things wrong. Some of the puppetry is good, some terrible. It’s insightful and yet also painfully non-self-aware. It is self-contradictory in almost every facet of itself." Full Review
See it if you want to be transported by a visceral experience; you don't mind not "rationally" understanding everything as long as you are entertained
Don't see it if you need linear storytelling, or only appreciate "traditional" theater that can be squared away by your rational mind.
See it if you don't mind sitting through a lot of confusing dialogue, you know the story of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein
Don't see it if you expect a lot of puppetry (it only comes out in Act 2), you want something easy-to-understand
See it if you know a lot about Mary Shelly and want to see aspects of her life on stage.
Don't see it if you're looking for a either a cohesive biographical play or retelling of Frankenstein.
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