‘Young Frankenstein’ to bring hilarity and horror to Brookings Quad

| Staff Reporter

Starting this Thursday night, All Student Theatre will present its annual show on Brookings Quadrangle and its first musical since 2009: “Young Frankenstein,” a comedic sequel to the horror story we all know and love.

Actors perform on stage in Brookings Quad for the All Student Theatre show “Young Frankenstein.” The show runs all weekend at 8 p.m. in Brookings Quadrangle.Courtesy of Katie Goldston

Actors perform on stage in Brookings Quad for the All Student Theatre show “Young Frankenstein.” The show runs all weekend at 8 p.m. in Brookings Quadrangle.

The musical, based on Mel Brooks’ 1974 comedy film of the same name, tells the story of the late Dr. Victor von Frankenstein’s grandson, Frederick. He has inherited his grandfather’s estate and must travel to Transylvania Heights to take care of the property. When the grandson of Victor’s henchman, Igor, convinces him to carry on the family business of reanimating the dead, the story takes a hilariously dramatic turn. In a total parody of horror, the resulting monster is far from Mary Shelley’s disaster. With a series of surprising love affairs, the musical is ironically charming, despite its stormy and foreboding setting.

All Student Theatre selected the play and director, sophomore Zack Schultz, at the beginning of this academic year, and the cast and crew have been developing the production ever since.

Schultz submitted to direct “Young Frankenstein” at the suggestion of a friend.

“I realized this show would be the perfect mix of scary, spooky mystery bookended by Brookings Quad, and comic hilarity,” Schultz said, after watching the movie as well as the live version online. This is Schultz’ first time directing a full show.

For the past several weeks, students have been building the set for the play on Beaumont Pavilion Stage in Brookings Quad, under the direction of technical director and freshman Kendall Carroll. Rain or shine, the construction has continued, with at least two students on the Quad at all times and at least three sleeping there every night. AST has an eight-person tent, so nights on the Quad have become a bonding experience for the cast, which can only rehearse after sundown so that the lighting is visible (Read more about the set-sitting experience in Scene).

younggood-3Courtesy of Katie Goldsto

Senior Robert Landis, who plays Frederick Frankenstein, discussed rehearsing outside.

“So there is kind of this weird balance with nature, because with this musical specifically, it’s all about thunder, lightning and creepy things in the night,” Landis said. “It’s really great when you look outside and see that it’s raining because it creates a real setting.”

On the other hand, members of AST have had to take extra precautions to make sure that their set and technical equipment were not destroyed in various thunderstorms over the past few weeks.

“What makes [staying outside overnight] possible and what makes it worthwhile is having your friends there with you. We always have plenty of blankets and pillows, and we try to make it comfortable and fun,” Landis said. “It’s also interesting to see [Washington University] at 2 a.m. just because it’s different from being in Olin all night. We’ve seen people coming back from formals, architecture kids walking back from studio, always something new.”

Landis started acting and stage-managing at Wash. U. during his freshman year through the Performing Arts Department, but this is his first year with Student Theatre. After joining the Executive Board for AST in the fall, he also decided to audition for “Young Frankenstein,” as he was not already performing in or stage-managing a PAD show.

younggood-1Courtesy of Katie Goldston

“One of the things AST tries to do is get as close to the professional standard as we can, in terms of how much practice we put into a show,” Landis said. “The rehearsal schedule is pretty similar to that of the Performing Arts Department, which is about 15-18 hours per week with more during tech week.”

Audience members who have previously seen the movie version of “Young Frankenstein” can know what to expect from the plotline, but seeing it live in the Quad will be an entirely new experience.

“If anything, this show is like a current of electricity or a bolt of lightning—constantly moving, crackling and dancing with life,” Schultz said.

AST will provide blankets and space heaters to audience members to make the outside viewing experience as comfortable as possible.

The performances are April 9-12 at 8 p.m. at the Beaumont Pavilion Stage in Brookings Quad. Tickets cost $5.

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