Tag Archives: Frankenstein

These UNC students are creating a monster

A group of UNC students is forming a special connection to Frankenstein’s monster. UNC’s graduate costume production program is collaborating with the noted Tom Spina Designs firm to create a version of Frankenstein’s creature that will be controlled via a mobile app. The creation will be on display at Escape Velocity, a celebration of innovation held by the Museum of Science Fiction, near Washington, D.C., in May.

“We are just in the preliminary stages” of the project, says Jennifer Guadagno, assistant costume director at PlayMakers’ Repertory Company/UNC, who’s is leading the project. While Tom Spina Designs — which specializes in movie sculptures, masks and mannequins — is creating the monster’s head and hands based on the monster from the 1931 Boris Karloff film, UNC students will create the creature’s costume, as well as perhaps a dress for a model of Mary Shelley. “These kind of construction techniques are what the graduate students in our program are practicing every day,” Guadagno says.

This isn’t the first project the UNC team has created for the Museum of Science Fiction in Alexandria, Va. Greg Viggiano, the museum’s executive director, said the museum had a team based in North Carolina two and a half years ago and through word of mouth began to collaborate with the UNC group. Since then, the UNC program has created several costumes for the museum’s permanent collection: a stewardess uniform from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” a Neo costume from “The Matrix” and a stillsuit from “Dune.”

“Amazing work … has come out of that program at UNC,” Viggiano says.

Replica costumes from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” left, and “The Matrix” by UNC students. (Courtesy of the Museum of Science Fiction)

“Our reputation for training highly skilled drapers and craftspeople along with UNC’s connection to Playmakers made us an ideal choice for them,” Guadagno says. She adds she hopes the students will have the Frankenstein project ready to ship out in April, in time for Escape Velocity.

The event, which will take place over Memorial Day weekend in National Harbor, Md., celebrates “all things science and science fiction,” Viggiano says. It will mark the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” from the arts perspective and explore scientific innovation — as well as “maybe not a science … [but] the quasi-science, the future science of reanimation,” Viggiano says.

For now the students are hard at work. “Perhaps the biggest challenge comes with dressing mannequins,” Guadagno says. “Some thought has to be put into how to get clothes on a form that isn’t as flexible as the human body.”

Most of the students and staff have read Shelley’s groundbreaking novel. They’re also looking at several  film adaptations, as well as research from the period.

“There are some valuable insights there that we are now just thinking about,” Guadagno says.

Want to see the UNC students’ work? Escape Velocity is May 25-27, Marriott Gaylord Hotel, National Harbor, Md. https://escapevelocity.events. For a 20% discount use the promo code, METRO20.

Jane Austen and Mary Shelley fans: These books, sites and series might be new to you

Have you finished reading “Frankenstein” and “Northanger Abbey” for JASP this summer? If so (or if you’re procrastinating — no judgment!), these recently released or upcoming books and series put a unique spin of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley.

Out now

Pride and Prometheus,” John Kessel

This book, recently released in hardcover, is set after several years after the events of “Pride & Prejudice” and in the middle of the story of “Frankenstein.” In London with Kitty Bennet for the season, 32-year-old Mary Bennet is used to being unnoticed. Then she meets enigmatic Monsieurs Frankenstein and Clerval at a ball, where she and Frankenstein discover a shared love for the natural sciences. What smitten Mary doesn’t know is that the Creature has followed Frankenstein to England.

Frankenstein in Baghdad,” Ahmed Saadawi

This book, recently translated into English, has won France’s Grand Prize for Fantasy and an international prize for Arabic fiction. Set in contemporary Baghdad, the tale follows Hadi, a scavenger who discovers to his horror that his project — piecing together a corpse — has disappeared.

“The Frankenstein Chronicles” on Netflix

The 2015 British historical drama has made its way across the pond. Set in 19th-century London, the series centers on inspector John Marlott (Sean Bean, “Game of Thrones”), who’s on the case after a string of murders hints at a scientist bent on reanimating the dead. The twist here? Mary Shelley herself gets embroiled in the mystery. The actress who plays her, Anna Maxwell Martin, might look familiar: She plays Elizabeth Darcy in the 2014 adaptation of “Death Comes to Pemberley.”

Coming soon

Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan,” Ted Scheinman

This book details Scheinman’s time with the Jane Austen Summer Program. Want to know more? Watch this space in the next few weeks!

Fictional Fares” web series

This may or may not have anything to do with Austen and Shelley, but if you enjoyed “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” or “Emma Approved,” keep an eye out for this new web series. Modeled after the series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” the show will feature characters — from history, literature, fairy tales, etc. — while they grab a ride with an Uber-like car service. Announced cast members include Ashley Clements (who played Lizzie in LBD) and Brent Bailey (who played Knightley in “Emma Approved”). Who knows which characters will show up …

New to you

Jane Austen + Text Posts on Tumblr

This Tumblr blog has been around for a while, but if you’re not familiar with Tumblr, it’s worth checking out. In addition to funny Austen-related memes, the blogger’s responses to questions from readers about Austen’s works, themes and more are thoughtful — and thought-provoking.

Send a valentine from ‘Northanger Abbey’ or ‘Frankenstein’

Happy early Valentine’s Day from the Jane Austen Summer Program! Want to make someone’s day? Just click on one of our “Northanger Abbey”- or “Frankenstein”-themed valentines below, right click on the larger image to save it and send it to someone special.