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  • Watch: The gruesome influences that shaped the staging of The Royal Ballet's Frankenstein

Watch: The gruesome influences that shaped the staging of The Royal Ballet's Frankenstein

Designer John Macfarlane gives an up-close look at the ballet's sets which include a full-size anatomy theatre complete with gory prop cadaver.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

20 May 2016 at 11.13am | Comment on this article

In this film, production designer John Macfarlane shows audiences how he created the period staging for Liam Scarlett's adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

The ballet is set during the era in which the novel was originally published – when scientific discoveries were challenging people's ideas about the world.

For the production Macfarlane created a full-size anatomy theatre, where Victor Frankenstein brings the creature to life, complete with full-size skeletons, a cadaver and jars of organs.

'That was how anatomy was taught,' he explains. 'Cutting off bits, putting them in formaldehyde, and saying "That’s what a kidney looks like". There are two gifts in this show. One is the mad inventor gift and the other an anatomy room!’

As well as medical paraphernalia, the set also features a replica of a 19th century electrostatic machine, used by Frankenstein to bring the Creature to life. Macfarlane used the antique as inspiration for an enlarged version fit for the stage, created by the Props Department at the Royal Opera House.

'I wanted a Steven Spielberg thunder and lightning storm', says the designer. The electrostatic machine reflects the huge public excitement about research into electricity in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Watch more films like this on the Royal Opera House YouTube channel:

Liam Scarlett’s new production Frankenstein was relayed live to cinemas around the world on 18 May 2016.

The next live relay of the 2015/16 Season will be The Royal Opera's new production of Werther on 27 June 2016. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

20 May 2016 at 11.13am

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged BP Big Screens, by Liam Scarlett, Cinema relay, design, designs, Film, Frankenstein!!, John MacFarlane, Liam Scarlett, Mary Shelley, Production, props, relay, YouTube

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