Here at Loony Literature, we know that if children are introduced to the classics in a fun way, before they have to study them, they will find the whole experience fun instead of daunting or boring. I wrote the play “Frankenstein‘s Revenge – a play full of shifty manoeuvres and time travel” to introduce 9-12 year olds to Frankenstein. The play is written for children to understand the basic concept of Frankenstein and to experience acting for themselves in a relaxed atmosphere. The play also explores prejudice so even though, it is silly and fun, it does have a social message which gives lots of scope for discussion. Below is the beginning of the play so that you can choose who you are going to be and then simply read your parts or you can actually pretend to be in The Laboratory and act it out. This is followed by questions so that you can determine if the children have understood the plot so far. Next, there are questions about how Doctor Frankenstein acts so that the children can explore the concept of character in the play. Finally, there is a fun speaking and listening activity which encourages children to act and improvise. It doesn’t all have to be done at once, it can be broken down into sections if that is preferred. Have fun and let us know what happens.
Frankenstein’s Revenge – a play full of shifty manoeuvres and time travel.
Toadstool – Nearly two hundred years ago, a writer named Mary Shelley wrote a very famous book called Frankenstein. The book is still being read today and has inspired people to write stories, make films and write plays ever since. Frankenstein’s Revenge is a look at what happens when Doctor Frankenstein meets his creator, Mary Shelley.
Frankenstein’s Laboratory. A wolf is tied up.
We see a cake stand with ten body parts on it.
We hear singing to the tune of Ten Green Bottles.
Ten body parts sitting on a plate,
Ten body parts sitting on a plate,
And if one body part should accidentally be ate,
There’d be nine body parts sitting on a plate.
Toadstool picks a body part off the cake stand and gives it to the wolf to eat. He exits.
Setting – Frankenstein’s laboratory.
Frankenstein is looking at body parts in his laboratory. His fiancée, Elizabeth walks in looking like a ghoul.
Frankenstein – Elizabeth – what are you doing here?
Elizabeth – I have come with news.
Frankenstein – It will be news when people see that you no longer wash.
Elizabeth – It is no time for jokes.
Frankenstein – How did you get in?
Elizabeth – The front door was open.
Frankenstein – Where is that wretch Toadstool?
Elizabeth – I didn’t see him.
Frankenstein – I do not know why I pay him. He is useless.
Elizabeth – I did not come here to talk about your servant.
Frankenstein – You should not be here in my laboratory.
Elizabeth – I had to come.
Frankenstein – I’m not sure that it is wise to be seen out looking like that.
Elizabeth – I have brought news which will turn your world upside down.
Frankenstein – Disturbing my important work turns my world upside down Elizabeth. Now go back to Geneva and brush your hair. I am busy.
Elizabeth – I am dead, Victor.
Frankenstein – Elizabeth, I admit you do not look yourself at the moment but I am sure that some water and a cloth will help – oh and if you tie your hair up, perhaps. I must get on.
Elizabeth – What do I need to say to make you listen to me?
Frankenstein – I understand, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth – You do?
Frankenstein – Of course, it must be a dreadful strain waiting to be married to such a brilliant man. You must ask yourself constantly – will I be good enough?
Elizabeth – Victor!
Frankenstein – I really must get on, my dear.
Elizabeth – Tell me what are you doing there?
Frankenstein – It is my secret work.
Elizabeth – You have been hanging around graveyards, digging up bodies – yes?
Frankenstein – Well, maybe – a little.
Elizabeth – You got eyeballs and a skull…
Frankenstein – I will change the world, Elizabeth. I have got the bony fingers, the sloppy liver and the fat, lolloping tongue. Now if you don’t mind…
Elizabeth – You are going to work day and night sewing them all up in a skin.
Frankenstein – I am going to work day and n… How did you know that?
Elizabeth – You’ve done it before. It is what you are destined to do forever.
Frankenstein – What have you been drinking, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth – If a distinguished professor came with news, you would listen to him. Why will you not listen to me?
Frankenstein – I need to finish my experiment. Then I will be…
Elizabeth – You will still be here.
Frankenstein – Everywhere there will be silence as the great scientist, Doctor Victor Frankenstein enters the room.
Elizabeth – Think Victor! You sew your body parts together then what happens?
Frankenstein – My dear, I do not have time for these silly little games of yours.
Elizabeth – You create a monster which makes you want to vomit.
Frankenstein – Ah, you see my dear, there I have you.
Elizabeth – What do you mean?
Frankenstein – My creation will be beautiful. I have been very selective with my body parts.
Elizabeth – Whatever do you mean?
Frankenstein – All the ones with warts and bristles got thrown back into the grave.
Elizabeth – What can I do to get through to you?
Frankenstein – Now you see your silly games have not worked Elizabeth. So run along and let me continue with my work.
Elizabeth – Go back to Geneva and play with your dolls, Elizabeth.
Frankenstein – You are going to be married to the world’s greatest scientist – is that not enough for you?
Elizabeth – Victor, do you not remember abandoning the monster and in return he wreaks revenge on you?
Frankenstein – Oh, who indeed would be clever enough to wreak revenge on the great, Victor Frankenstein?
Elizabeth – You have given me no choice. Elizabeth goes into her bag and brings out a book. She puts it under Frankenstein’s nose.
Elizabeth – You are not the world’s greatest scientist, Victor – you are a character in a book.
Frankenstein – Let me see what jokes you play on me, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth – Come to the sitting room, Victor. I think you will need to sit down.
Frankenstein – Oh your little games…
Frankenstein takes the book and smiles fondly at Elizabeth.
Questions to ask about the scene.
When Elizabeth turns up at Frankenstein’s Laboratory, he is shocked to see her. Why is he shocked?
Elizabeth makes an announcement about why she looks the way she does. What is it?
What has Victor Frankenstein been up to?
Elizabeth tells Victor that he created a monster. How did he feel about the monster once he had created him?
Victor hated the monster; it appalled him so much it made him want to vomit. What, according to Elizabeth, did he do then?
What does the monster do when Frankenstein has abandoned him?
Elizabeth makes a second shocking announcement to Frankenstein. What is it?
Do we like Victor Frankenstein?
Why do we like/ dislike him?
How does Victor Frankenstein see himself?
How do we know how he sees himself?
What problem has Elizabeth got when trying to tell Victor her news?
What do you think Victor thinks of Elizabeth? For instance, does he see her as his equal?
Why do you think Victor sees Elizabeth in the light in which he does?
How do you think Victor is going to respond to Elizabeth saying that he is a character in a book? Why?
Victor Frankenstein thinks that he is so clever he does not need to listen to what anyone else has to say, especially a woman. The objective of the next exercise is to demonstrate how important speaking and listening is.
This exercise takes place on a train. Divide into pairs. One person is to be the ticket man on the train. He has had a bad morning, three teenagers were laughing at the boil on the end of his nose and he feels as if he wants to send all children to Mars. The other person is a child who has bought a ticket at the station but when the ticket collector comes to check it, the ticket is nowhere to be seen. Create a scene between the two where the child decides to tell the truth but the ticket collector will not believe him no matter what he says. After an allotted time the scenes can be acted out. It is also a good idea for the pairs to swap over parts so that each person can experience how frustrating it is to speak to someone who hears us but does not actually listen to what we are saying.
Questions to ask
Why was the ticket collector not listening to what the child had to say?
Is it right to assume that all people will act badly?
How do we feel when someone will not listen to us?
Why is it important to listen to what the other person has to say?
Dare you enter The Laboratory?