Frankenstein by Timothy Quigley
Victor Frankenstein, as a young boy (8 - 12)
Elizabeth Lavenza, young orphan (8 - 12)
Henry Clerval, as a young boy (8 - 12)
Dr. Alphonse Frankenstein - Victor's father
Mrs. Caroline Frankenstein - Victor's mother
Victor Frankenstien, age 18 - 26
Ernest Frankenstein, Victor's brother, early 20s
Elizabeth Lavenza, age 18 - 26
Henry Clerval, age 18 - 26
Justine Moritz, age 14 - 26
Captain Robert Walton
William Frankenstein, age 5 - 8
Delacey - an old blind man
Felix - 20s
Agatha - 20s
Safie - Arabian young woman
Ship crewman #1 (double Waldman)
Ship crewman #2 (double Delacey)
Ship crewman #3 (double Magistrate)
SETTINGS: (realistic or suggestive)
Ship deck and captain's quarters
Interior of the Frankenstein villa library
Cottage with adjoining shed
Outdoors - woods
Graveyard with five tombstones and a family monument
Bedroom used for several scenes
SPECIAL EFECTS: wind, snow, lighting, moon with fast paced clouds,
disappearing images, moving arm in glass tank in laboratory, ground
fog, project scene time frames
ACT I / Scene 1 Curtain opens revealing a cutaway of a ship:
Captain's quarters astern with ship's deck above (could revolve to
show ship exterior on one side and cutaway on the other). (another
option to have bedroom on one side and ship on the other) Scene one
starts with the Captain's quarters as the cold wind howls and snow
PROJECTED IMAGE: 1793
ROBERT (seated at writing table) Dearest Sister Margaret. I know not
if this letter will ever find its way to you in London as we are now
nearly ice bound several hundred miles above the most northern point
in Russia. If this be my final resting place, do not grieve, as I am
living my life's dream - even, if I fail to find safe passage to the
North Pacific via the Pole. I have given up everything for this
expedition - fortune and the love of a wife and family. All great
discoveries require sacrifice. The crew wants to reverse course and
sail south the next time the ice shifts. They fear we will be locked
in ice if we continue north. I am determined, however, to stay the
course and persevere to ...
CREWMAN #1 (off stage) Captain! Captain! To the deck Sir. Quickly!
CROSS FADE LIGHTS, (ROBERT exits to deck)
(Stern deck of the ship as the wind increases and snow blows. 3
crewman on deck as the Captain enters from below decks.)
CREWMEN (Ad lib until Robert enters)
ROBERT What is it?
CREWMAN #1 There sir! About a quarter mile distant.
ROBERT (taking the telescope) Good Lord! A man driving a pack of dogs
pulling a sledge!
CREWMAN #2 A man is it, sir?
ROBERT (looks again) A giant of a man.
CREWMAN #2 Or a beast.
CREWMAN #1 A giant of a beast at that. No man would be out on this
ice, hundreds of miles from land with a sledge and dogs.
CREWMAN #2 Seems in a God awful hurry, too. He must have seen the
ship, yet he is fleeing away, so it seems. Not normal I would say.
CREWMAN #1 About as normal as this ship trying to sail through a sea
of ice to find some big magnetic mountain at the North Pole.
ROBERT Keep a sharp eye out as he may use the coming fog to shield a
stealthy approach to the ship and our provisions. (exits below deck)
CREWMAN #2 Hadn't thought of that. As big as he is we better have
two rifles loaded and on hand.
CREWMAN #1 Right. All the more reason to head this God forsaken ship
back to port.
(The wind intensifies and a distant cry/howl is heard. The crewmen
are alarmed as the LIGHTS FADE TO DIM. The ships bell rings as the
LIGHTS COME BACK UP SLIGHTLY. CREWMEN with 2 rifles are talking
excitedly ad lib.)
CREWMAN #3 The fog is lifting ... (yells) Look there! (CREWMAN #2
raises his rifle.)
CREWMAN #1 No! That's not the brute we saw earlier. Just a man this
is, and he looks half froze to death. There is just one dog alive near
ROBERT (enters from below deck) Now what?
CREWMAN #3 (still aiming) Awaiting your orders, Captain.
CREWMAN #2 On the ice flow starboard, sir.
ROBERT (yelling with hands cupped) We'll send a boat over to you.
VICTOR (from off stage, loud but feeble) And, where are you bound
ROBERT To the Northern Pole.
CREWMAN #1 Can you believe it? The man is rescued in the middle of
nowhere, and he wants to know where we are headed!
VICTOR (pause) I'd be pleased to come aboard.
(ROBERT exits to his quarters)
CREWMAN #2 As if he has another choice.
CREWMAN #3 Freeze to death is his only other choice.
CREWMAN #2 And, it appears he considered it.
CREWMAN #1 I hope we have a choice when the time comes.
CREWMAN #3 What time?
CREWMAN #1 Before this ship becomes ice bound and we starve or freeze
to death. That's when.
CROSS FADE LIGHTS to Captain's quarters
(Captain's quarters. A frozen VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN lies on a bunk
covered with blankets. CAPTAIN ROBERT WALTON stands nearby.)
VICTOR How long have I been asleep?
ROBERT Two days.
VICTOR You must have many questions.
ROBERT Such as ... why?
VICTOR I am in pursuit of the one who fled from me.
ROBERT A very large man, also with dogs and sledge?
VICTOR You have seen him!
ROBERT Several hours prior to your appearance, heading north.
VICTOR While I was being refreshed with soup and brandy, you told me
of your expedition. I dreamed of it as I slept. You said you had given
up everything for its accomplishment.
ROBERT One man's life or death is but a small price to pay to
acquire such knowledge.
VICTOR (visibly shaken by those words) Unhappy man! Do you share my
madness? Have you drank the intoxicating draught? Hear me. Hear my
tale, and you will dash the cup from your lips.
ROBERT (pauses) I am intrigued to share your tale. I have often
wondered if I might find a compatriot to share my thoughts with. Maybe
it was fate that brought you to my ship.
VICTOR Perhaps. I once had such a friend and therefore can appreciate
finding ... and losing such a noble companion.
ROBERT Oh, I am so ...
VICTOR You have hope, and the world before you. You have no cause for
despair. I ... I have lost everything, and cannot begin life anew!
(ROBERT gives VICTOR a brandy and motions for him to begin his story)
I am by birth a Genevese; and my family was one of the most
distinguished of that republic. My childhood was a wondrous affair.
As I ...
CROSS FADE LIGHTS to Villa
ACT I / Scene 2 Villa library. YOUNG VICTOR is reading as his mother
CAROLINE Victor, I have that surprise for you, as I promised
yesterday. For you to protect, love and cherish.
YOUNG VICTOR What is it?
CAROLINE May I present Elizabeth Lavenza. (she motions for her to
YOUNG ELIZABETH (enters, followed by Victor's father, ALPHONSE)
YOUNG VICTOR Can you read?
YOUNG ELIZABETH Can you teach me? (she joins VICTOR)
ALPHONSE (takes CAROLINE down stage) She cannot read?
CAROLINE A temporary condition. Look at Victor. He now has someone to
share his endless curiosity. Besides Henry, of course. (as YOUNG HENRY
enters and joins the other children)
ALPHONSE Does young Clerval always just walk in here as though he
ALPHONSE (sits) And, what do we really know of this girl? Her German
mother died giving birth. Her Italian father shackled in some Austrian
prison. She was raised by peasants. Not a pedigree, I think you will
CAROLINE A noble family before their misfortunes. The Austrians
confiscated their villa on Lake Como. The minute I saw her, I knew
she was perfect. It may take you two minutes.
YOUNG ELIZABETH (goes to ALPHONSE) This is a wonderful home.
ALPHONSE A villa.
YOUNG ELIZABETH (sits on his lap and puts an arm around him) May I
call you father? (CAROLINE smiles)
LIGHTS FADE TO DARK
(LIGHTS UP with the three children in the library. YOUNG HENRY is
throwing a ball in the air. YOUNG VICTOR has a clock disassembled on a
table. YOUNG ELIZABETH watches Victor intensely.)
YOUNG ELIZABETH (to Victor) Why did you take this clock apart? ...
How shall we call each other? ... By our names seems impersonal,
don't you think? ... Sister and brother doesn't seem right either.
Don't you agree? ... Cousin. Yes, cousin! What do you think,
YOUNG VICTOR I think that you think of things ... I don't think
YOUNG ELIZABETH Oh, I am sorry.
YOUNG VICTOR No, I like it ... Cousin.
YOUNG ELIZABETH Cousin.
YOUNG HENRY (snapping out of a daze) Cousins? I didn't know you
YOUNG VICTOR and YOUNG ELIZABETH (look at each other and laugh) We
YOUNG HENRY Oh? (looks puzzled)
YOUNG VICTOR (to Elizabeth) I am learning how a clock works.
YOUNG ELIZABETH Why?
YOUNG VICTOR Because I don't know precisely how it works. I have
assumed its mechanics and so far (holds up a piece) I have assumed
YOUNG ELIZABETH To you, all the world is a secret.
YOUNG VICTOR Which I wish to devine. And you, dear Cousin, I assume
are enthralled with the magnificent appearance of things.
YOUNG ELIZABETH And you delight in investigating their causes.
YOUNG HENRY Do you think we might find some cakes in the kitchen?
After, we can act out one of the tales of King Arthur and the Knights
of the Round Table. Elizabeth can be Gwenvere!
YOUNG VICTOR I need to reassemble father's clock before it needs to
strike for tea.
YOUNG ELIZABETH Henry, what type of books do you read?
YOUNG HENRY Oh! (exitedly) Tales of adventure: Robin Hood, stories of
ships exploring new worlds, military engagements.
YOUNG ELIZABETH And you, Cousin?
YOUNG VICTOR Science mostly. Father is not very favored to the
subject, so I have acquired books from various sources. I found a
book by Louis Agrippa at an inn where we stopped for the night on our
way to Italy. I found it fascinating.
YOUNG ELIZABETH Fascinating?
YOUNG VICTOR It dealt with Natural Philosophy. I ordered copies of
all his works, followed by those of Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus.
However, father thinks they are all trash.
YOUNG ELIZABETH Why so?
YOUNG VICTOR Well, they deal with the elixir of life itself. Wealth
and position mean nothing to me.
YOUNG HENRY As long as his father has it, he means.
YOUNG VICTOR (as lightning starts flashing through a window)
(ignoring Henry) What glory it would be to banish disease and render
man invulnerable to any but a violent death.
YOUNG ELIZABETH Such deep thoughts for a boy. You intrigue me,
YOUNG HENRY These are not his only visions, Victor fancies raising
ghosts and devils as purported by his favorite authors.
YOUNG ELIZABETH Really?
YOUNG VICTOR Really. But, my incantations have always been
unsuccessful. Not due to my teachers, but due to my own lack of
knowledge. I must learn more. Learn all there is to know. Then
discover my own knowledge.
CAROLINE (enters, as VICTOR hides his clock operation) There are
black clouds approaching at a rapid pace. Henry, I suppose you shall
stay for tea and not try to return home in the storm.
YOUNG HENRY Thank you Madame Frankenstein. I guess I did not hear the
clock chime for tea. (smirks)
CAROLINE No, I suppose you did not. (looks at Victor) We shall
pretend we heard the chimes and father will be none the wiser.
However, let us hope the supper chimes can be heard by all.
YOUNG VICTOR They will mother. They will.
CAROLINE (calling) Justine. (she enters) Please prepare a room for
Elizabeth at once, if you please.
JUSTINE Yes, Madame. (YOUNG ELIZABETH and JUSTINE exit and walk
slowly toward off stage)
YOUNG ELIZABETH Do you work here.
JUSTINE I am a servant.
YOUNG ELIZABETH Do they pay you?
JUSTINE I was born here. My mother and father were servants here as
well. They were given to a relative of the family Frankenstein a few
years ago. They like their new family and have a retirement cottage
promised in a few years. Father can then play in his garden all day
while mother tends her own sheep and makes wool garments.
YOUNG ELIZABETH You couldn't go with them?
JUSTINE I wanted to stay here. The Frankensteins are wonderful to me.
I love the children. Victor has a younger brother, Ernest. He is
taking a nap at present.
YOUNG ELIZABETH What do you think of Victor?
JUSTINE He is very interesting. A very nice young man, but his mind
works in very curious ways.
YOUNG ELIZABETH Really? I meant, are you sweet on him?
JUSTINE Oh, no mademoiselle! That would not be proper.
YOUNG ELIZABETH And, he is too young for you, eh?
JUSTINE Yes. (they both laugh).
YOUNG ELIZABETH I think we will be best of friends you and I.
JUSTINE Yes, I think we will.
YOUNG ELIZABETH I find Victor very interesting
JUSTINE He will be a handsome gentleman.
YOUNG ELIZABETH He is already. ... I think we shall be married one
JUSTINE (turns to Elizabeth in amazement) Really?
LIGHTS FADE OUT, THEN UP
(YOUNG VICTOR, HENRY &ELIZABETH &JUSTINE are watching the storm as
the lightning and thunder intensifies.)
YOUNG VICTOR I have read much about electricity, but to a great
extent it is still a mystery.
(A bolt of lightning splits a tree in their view - through a window
or as they stand in the exterior doorway or under a covered
YOUNG ELIZABETH (screams) Ahhh! Cousin!
YOUNG HENRY Tremendous!
YOUNG VICTOR I have never witnessed such power.
YOUNG ELIZABETH It was a beautiful tree.
JUSTINE I loved that tree.
YOUNG HENRY I had not yet climbed that one. Pity.
YOUNG VICTOR Such power of destruction. I wonder, can it also be a
power of creation?
YOUNG HENRY Whatever do you mean?
YOUNG VICTOR There is so much to learn. We shall examine the remnants
of that tree in the morning. Maybe we can ascertain the route of
travel the lighting bolt. Maybe a clue as to how it destroyed that
magnificent oak in a fraction of a second.
YOUNG ELIZABETH I can see life will be interesting here on the banks
of Lake Geneva.
YOUNG VICTOR Never a dull moment, I should hope - dear Cousin.
JUSTINE You are going to live here?
YOUNG ELIZABETH Yes,
JUSTINE I hope we can be the best of friends.
YOUNG HENRY The storm looks dreadful. Perhaps I should stay for
supper. (both ELIZABETH and VICTOR give Henry a look)
ACT I / Scene 3 Villa library with VICTOR seated. He is idle, yet
distressed. HENRY enters.
PROJECTED IMAGE TEN YEARS LATER
HENRY I came back as fast as I could from father's commercial
expedition. How is dear Elizabeth.
VICTOR Henry, I am so relieved to see you. Elizabeth is recovering
remarkably well from the scarlet fever. Mother nursed her back to
HENRY A blessing it is. But, Victor, you do not look as relieved as
I feel as blood is now rushing through my heart.
VICTOR (distraught) We pleaded with mother to leave the curing to
the doctor and nursemaids. Mother was already too frail.