If the 1986 film Gothic is anything to go by, the life of Mary Shelley – author of the ultimate gothic horror novel – was as weird and scandalous as her doctor’s monster. Bringing the life of this novelist to light is a new stage production by LAMDA. The play is written by Helen Edmundson, a playwright famed for her take on classic tales and with a track record including productions of Anna Karenina, The Mill of the Floss and War and Peace.
Shelley’s life is a dream to tell, filled with drama and intrigue. Born into an intellectual household, her mother was philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecroft and her father was political philosopher William Godwin. Being raised in a climate of creativity and liberal values prepared Mary for a life of scandal, even by her parent’s standards. She famously fell for a married man at the age of 17, fellow author and poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. They travelled extensively throughout Europe and spent time in the company of similarly passionate writers and intellectuals. The story of Frankenstein is believed to have been the result of a ghost storytelling task set by Lord Byron during a rain-drenched summer break on Lake Geneva and was a recipe that bore both horror tales Frankenstein and The Vampyre, authored by fellow guest physician John William Polidori. Shelley’s life was also filled with sadness, having lost 3 out of 4 children and herself dying relatively early at 53.
This play sheds light on an author, famed now as a feminist icon, and creator of one of the most foreboding tales in the gothic genre – a real treat for literary fans. (Words: Laura Thornley)
On from 29th March. For more info, visit: www.pleasance.co.uk/event/lamda-presents-mary-shelley-helen-edmundson