Feminism Takes the Stage: The Hippodrome Presents “All Girl Frankenstein”

Dr. Frankenstein played by a female? That’s never been seen before, and especially not in Gainesville. The original tale of Frankenstein was given a modern feminist update in this year’s Halloween special at the Hippodrome State Theatre in downtown Gainesville.

The play, which came just in time for Halloween, gave one of history’s most classic and cherished novels a twist that is relatable to this century. The creators and directors of All Girl Frankenstein opted to stray from the original scheme of the play by choosing an all-female cast with actors Candace Clift, Jorgia McAfee and Marissa Toogood all playing male characters in the show.

It seems like the Hippodrome is trying to bring back their reputation for edgy theatrics. This adaption of the story, which actually originated from an all-female acting company in Chicago called The Chicago Mammals, was later adapted by playwright Bob Fisher. Even though All Girl Frankenstein is still purely based on the classic by Mary Shelley, Fisher aimed to bring a new perception to the old tale.

More than 200 scripts were submitted and considered for this year’s eight-show season at the Hippodrome, but this one managed to stand out to the play’s director, Lauren Warhol Caldwell.

"It’s not going to be anything you think it’s going to be," said Marissa Toogood, who plays William, the youngest Frankenstein.

While many think of Frankenstein as a story containing a monster, gore and plenty of guts, this play brings forth a side of the story that has been unexplored for decades. The all-female cast has been able to bring new interpretations of the characters that haven’t been brought forth by male actors. The play has been taken to new heights by emphasizing the underlying themes of sexuality and complex family dynamics that have been able to reveal the beauty of an all-female cast while altering the way the audience views the classic story.

“It was brilliant the way these female roles were used in what was a predominantly male storyline,” said Steven Butler, the artistic director for Gainesville’s Actors’ Warehouse. 

Many believe that the inspiration for Mary Shelley was perhaps her own life and trying to figure out the issues of parenting, reproduction and injustice. Stephanie Lynge, one of the show’s actors, seems to believe the same.

When describing the character she portrays, Lynge said, “She’s not a monster. She’s a woman struggling to raise her children in what she would consider a proper way.”

All Girl Frankenstein will be playing until Nov. 7 in downtown Gainesville’s Hippodrome State Theatre. Dates and times vary but prices and more details can be found here.

Photo credit: www.thehipp.org