With performances just DAYS away for The Frankenstein Project, we took a few minutes to talk to the collaborators about their process.
Today we hear from Joe Jung and Jessi Blue Gormezano about their piece, “It Worked!”, which Jessi wrote and Joe is directing with actor Michael Irish.
Smith Street Stage: What section of the Frankenstein story are you using as your jumping off point?
Jessi Gormezano: The moment after Dr. Frankenstein achieves success and brings life into his creature.
SSS: Do you have a favorite line or image from that section?
JG: I love the moment when the creature’s eye opens for the first time.
Joe Jung: One eye opens and the whole world changes.
SSS: What about that particular line/chapter/scene inspired you?
JG: In the film that moment is HUGE!
Lighting and thunder and Dr. Frankenstein howling, “It’s alive!” I was really surprised by how small and intimate the arrival of the creature’s animation is in the book. In fact, I think that’s one of the moments that Beth Ann [Smith Street Stage Artistic Director, Beth Ann Hopkins] talked about when she first shared her idea for The Frankenstein Project. I guess it stuck with me!
JJ: Me too. The unexpected simplicity and fragility of Frankenstein’s mental state in this moment is extraordinarily human. Who hasn’t been filled with doubt at a moment of great achievement?
SSS: How did you approach the task of “re-imagining” or “adapting” a classic story like Frankenstein?
JG: Joe and I took that very small, yet pivotal moment of the Doctor witnessing life appear in the creature and imagined what might have been running through his head. It was also really striking to us that once life emerges in the creature, the Doctor doesn’t celebrate – he immediately runs in a closet and hides! That completely unexpected response – directly following a possibly grotesque or beautiful moment – was fun for us to explore.
JJ: I’m fascinated by Frankenstein’s internal world at this moment, the moment when he realizes that for months he had all the answers.
He knew how to give life, it was just a matter of time and effort. He struggles putting the body together but knows exactly what to do to succeed. Then the creature awakens and Frankenstein is flooded with self-doubt and questions. What does that do to a scientist? Where does his mind go?
SSS: What interests you most in creating new work?
JG: What you set out to write may end up being dramatically different then what you end up creating – I love that.
JJ: The notion that we as artists, along with the audience, get to experience this journey for the very first time.
Jessi Gormezano is a writer, producer, and casting director. She is the writer of an original commissioned work called Remarkably Normal, and has been the producer of OUR BAR since 2009, a monthly site-specific show created with Project: Theater. As a casting director she has worked recently with The Gallery Players and The Pearl Theater. She is the Associate Artistic Director of Project:Theater.
Joe Jung is an actor, director, and musician. He performed in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (The Public Theater/Broadway) and Unity:1918 (Gene Frankel Theatre). He has performed his music at Joe’s Pub among other venues. Joe is the Artistic Director of Project:Theater, where he directed Ken Ferrigni’s Mangella in 2011 and OCCUPATION in 2013.
Get your tickets to see “It Worked!” by Jessi Gormezano, directed by Joe Jung and featuring Michael Irish* as part of The Frankenstein Project by clicking here.
*Appearing courtesy of AEA