AND LIGHTNING STRUCK by Robert Weibezahl

£5.00

WINNER – 2020 PLAYWRITING CONTEST – THE GRAND THEATRE, CARTERSVILLE, GEORGIA

And Lightning Struck: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Creation by Robert Weibezahl is an atmospheric historical drama that delves into the intimate life of Mary Shelley, the writer of Frankenstein. It is a story about Mary herself—not an adaptation of Frankenstein, but rather the story of how this literary genius came to write it. Mary Godwin Shelley was only eighteen years old when she first “gave birth” to her classic story and the creature at the heart of it. Along with her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their friends, including Lord Byron, Mary was part of group of freethinkers who lived life by their own rules, often provoking scandal. But tragedy dogged Mary Shelley’s life—her mother died when she was born, all but one of her children died as children, and by age twenty-five she was already a widow.

And Lightning Struck begins in 1831 as a publisher asks Mary to write a new introduction to a new edition of Frankenstein. As she reluctantly tells him the fascinating story of how she came to create this classic tale during a ghost storytelling contest, she tries to puzzle out the source of her own genius. As the action unfolds, the play re-imagines this incredible true story as the older Mary looks back on her life and is visited by the ghosts of memory—including her husband, her father William Godwin, her stepsister Claire Clairmont, Lord Byron, the doctor–poet John Polidori, and, of course, the fictional Victor Frankenstein and the “creature” he/she created. The Creature gives voice to Mary’s beliefs about creation, humanity and art as he descends into the vengeful madness of the novel’s plot. At the play’s end Shelley seems to reject the past—or does she?

Description

CHARACTERS

Mary Godwin Shelley (female, 35). Reserved, intellectual, thoughtful, yet passionate. A woman who knows her mind, but conserves her emotions—until forced to confront them.

Younger Mary (female, 18-20). Intelligent and thoughtful. Already displaying traces of the extraordinary talents she will share with the world, but still essentially a young woman in the throes of love.

Matthews (male, mid-20s). Matthews is intelligent and enthusiastic, polite but emphatic about what he wants, both an ardent fan and a determined businessman.

Polidori (male, 20s). a young doctor and aspiring poet, is more enthusiastic than talented, a romantic who wants very much to be accepted as part of the “in” crowd.

The Creature (male*, age flexible, 30-60. *If Godwin is cast with a separate actor, the casting of Creature could be gender neutral). The Creature is the true embodiment of Mary Shelley’s vision—not the Hollywood stereotype. Brooding, intelligent, cursed by fate. Role requires great physical presence and physicality.

Godwin (male, age flexible, 30-60) is a specter: Mary’s memory of her father, stern and disapproving, but cares deeply for his daughter.

Shelley (male, 25-30). Shelley is dreamy, intelligent, romantic. An artist dedicated to ideals of love and beauty.

Victor (male, 25-30). Victor is Shelley’s counterpoint—a genius who has, quite literally, lost control of his own creativity.

Byron (male, 25-30). Dashing, self-possessed, sardonic. Accustomed to being the star.

Claire (female, 18-20). Romantic, unrealistic, wily, but a bit needy. A woman without discernible talents of her own, living among geniuses.

 

AND LIGHTNING STRUCK is ideally performed by seven actors, with parts doubled as indicated

Mary Godwin Shelley

Younger Mary

Matthews/Polidori

The Creature/Godwin

Shelley/Victor

Byron

Claire

 

PRODUCTION HISTORY

AND LIGHTING STRUCK was commissioned by Lit Live and given its first performances at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center in Simi Valley, California, opening on February 9, 2017. It was directed by Austin Robert Miller. Executive Producer, Brenda Miller and Production Manager, Kaelia Winterstein.

The cast was as follows:

Mary Shelley                           Kay Capasso

Matthews/Polidori                  Cole Wagner

Creature/Godwin                    Tom Mesmer

Younger Mary                         Jennifer Ridgway

Shelley/Victor                         Schafer Bourne

Byron                                      Evan P. Smith

Claire                                       Alyssa Villaire

REVIEWS

“Just as Shelley wrote of alchemist Victor Frankenstein giving life to an inanimate object, so has Weibezahl in his new play … an intelligently written examination of her creative process, utilizing flashbacks, historical personages from her life (including Shelley as a young girl) and the two antagonists from her book.” – Yhousand Oaks Acorn

https://www.toacorn.com/articles/lit-live-explores-the-crackling-creativity-of-mary-shelley/
VC On Stage

Lit Live Dramatizes The Life Of The Author Of “Frankenstein”

 

“Those who love the creation of literature, Shelley’s classic novel ‘Frankenstein,’ or just a good ghost story will delight in Weibezahl’s new creation. Part biopic and part product of a vivid imagination, ‘Lightning’ achieves the unique balance of being wildly entertaining without bogging down in history.” – VCReviewer Dotcom

https://vcreviewerdotcom.wordpress.com/2017/02/

 

“Rich in atmosphere and period detail, Robert Weibezahl’s ‘And Lightening Struck’ recreates the world of Mary Shelley, and how she came to write ‘Frankenstein.’ It’s a romantic, poetic, and intimately fascinating work, opening up a new perspective on an old classic, and the woman who brought it into the world.” – Doug DeVita, plawright, New Play Exchange

RUNNING TIME

90 minutes – 2 hours

 

PREVIEW

Preview available here

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