By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 1, 2010 at 2:13AM
Actors Will Reverse Roles Of Doctor And Monster On Alternate Nights
While our hearts remain with the cinema, The Playlist have been known to venture into other areas of culture every so often. We sometimes read books without pictures, for instance, and we've even been known to attend the opera, if someone else is buying the tickets. But if we're not found in some fleapit movie house for an evening, we're most likely to be at the theater, particularly when a notable big-screen actor or director is walking back on to the boards.
Having finished up his survival drama "127 Hours," which begins to roll out in limited release on Friday, director Danny Boyle's returning to live performance, where he originally made his name, having started out as a theater director at the likes of the Royal Court Theater in London. In 2012, he'll oversee the opening ceremony for the Olympics in London, but first up, as announced earlier in the year, the Oscar-winning director will helm a new adaptation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" at the National Theatre in London.
With the show opening at the Olivier, the biggest of the three auditoriums there, in February, a few details have emerged on the production, most notably the casting of the two leads. According to Baz Bamigboye at the Daily Mail, Boyle will reunite with one of the cast of "Trainspotting," Jonny Lee Miller, who'll join Benedict Cumberbatch ("Atonement") in the play. Intriguingly, the two will play both Dr. Frankenstein and his creation, swapping the roles on alternate nights. It's not an unheard of technique -- Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly did the same in an acclaimed production of Sam Shepard's "True West" a decade ago -- but it's certainly an unusual one, which Boyle hopes will keep the production fresh.
Boyle also revealed that the adaptation, by playwright Nick Dear (best known for his play "The Art Of Success"), will keep its period setting, and will actually tell the story from the monster's point of view, separating it from most versions, which focus on Victor Frankenstein. Supposedly, it'll "explore the principles of life and examine how something conjured from body parts taken from graveyards and slaughter houses could observe how others live and behave, and take on the traits of man: good and bad."
They're both good choices for the roles, although we're a little concerned that Lee Miller will be overshadowed by Cumberbatch, who's been going from strength to strength recently, both on screen as the titular detective in Steven Moffat's "Sherlock," and on stage, where he recently gave an outstanding performance, also at the National, in Terence Rattigan's "After The Dance." Either way, the prospect of Boyle returning to the stage, and with a play that seems particularly suited to his talents, is an enticing one, and we'll be booking our tickets as soon as they go on sale. (The National also have a production of "Twelfth Night" with Rebecca Hall and Marton Csokas coming up that we're equally excited about).