The Modern Prometheus is an intensive workshop in collaboration with the Danish arts school Kulturentreprenør with the aim of exploring Frankenstein by Mary Shelley by viewing it through a Transhumanism lens.
Shelley’s book is subtitled The Modern Prometheus referring to the Greek myth where a Titan steals the sacred fire from the gods to give it to humans. Many consider the myth of Prometheus to be the first notion of Transhumanism; thanks to the control of fire, human beings obtained a power that allowed them to develop and achieve unimaginable advances. With these ideas as a basis, workshop participants must dive deep into the Gothic novel and create a performance with their own interpretation of Frankenstein‘s plot.
After some warm-up and group cohesion exercises, the participants have a first meeting in order to find the most interesting elements of Frankenstein, which will allow them to lay out the conceptual foundations of their performance. The main key points are:
· Transhumanism: the improvement of the human condition through science and technology.
· Experimentation: Doctor Frankenstein’s process until he creates life, including the failed tests.
· Jealousy: the creature’s envy of the human condition and the beings that are not considered monsters.
· Love: the creature is not loved by anyone, and lack of love leads to hatred and destruction.
· Society: the creature’s frustration comes from its lack of acceptance, from how society turns its back on everything it considers different or abnormal.
With all this in mind, the participants are divided into working groups and begin to develop the actions and scenes that will shape their final workshow. They are given free rein to take the argument as a guide, without having to make a literal adaptation of the novel and exploiting the elements that most appeal to them with total creative freedom.
The action begins in one of Èpica Foundation’s basements, where the audience can see the projection of a silent film that reveals Doctor Frankenstein’s tragedy: one night, a thief entered his house and ended up killing his wife. The Doctor swore to bring her back to life and began to experiment with the corpses of animals, giving them electric shocks to try to revive them. He soon moved on to human bodies; after several tests, even with living beings, he managed to bring his wife back from the dead.
The experiment does not seem to be entirely successful: Mrs. Frankenstein, now a living dead, immediately kills the people who revived her. Aware of what she has just done, she gathers several viscera and takes them to a manufacturing plant in series of bodies to manufacture her husband.
The new Doctor Frankenstein wanders, confused, among a crowd that yells at him. The only person who seems not to be frightened by his presence is a girl sitting by a lake. Unfortunately, when he approaches her, the girl ends up falling and drowning. An angry mob chases Doctor Frankenstein with torches, calling him a murderer and taking the girl’s inert body to celebrate her funeral.
Once the girl has been buried, Doctor Frankenstein and his wife enter the scene and bring her back to life. The girl looks at her new parents and takes them by the hand. The new undead family leaves the Foundation in the middle of a storm; on top of them, the audience can see a silent movie title card just like the ones from the first scene, containing what could be both a closing text and the beginning of the same story: “To be continued”.
May 13th to 23rd, 2019
Èpica Foundation, C/Velázquez 36-56, Badalona, Barcelona