11 Ways to Celebrate 200 Years of Frankenstein in the Twin Cities

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was first published in 1818, and 200 years later Mary Shelley’s monster is firmly embedded in pop culture. There have been practically endless references and adaptations in all kinds of media, including multiple Frankenstein movies and a Mary Shelley biopic just in the past few years. (For better or for worse, the planned Bride of Frankenstein remake starring Javier Bardem and Angelina Jolie is on indefinite hold.)

Although the official anniversary happened back in January, there are a lot of events going on this fall to mark it—and why not? It’s definitely seasonally appropriate. Here are some of the ways you can immerse yourself in monster madness in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Mary Shelley portrait and Frankenstein title page

Richard Rothwell’s portrait of Mary Shelley and the title page for the 1818 edition.

Mary Shelley and Frankenstein Mini-Exhibition

When: September 7–September 23, 2018
Where: Minneapolis College of Art and Design

As part of the 2018 Faculty Biennial at MCAD, SuperMonster市City! is presenting a “mini-exhibition” of original artwork as well as vintage items from the collection of SMC cofounder David Barnhill—all centered on Mary Shelley’s classic.

Frankenstein: Playing with Fire

When: September 15–October 27, 2018
Where: Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis)

This adaptation by Minnesota playwright Barbara Field envisions Dr. Frankenstein confronting his creation at the end of his life. (Watch for our review, coming soon.) As a bonus, if you go to one of the performances on Saturday, October 13, you can also attend a panel discussion between the shows featuring medical experts from the Mayo Clinic that will try to answer some of the key questions of the work: “What does it mean to be human? What are the limits and responsibilities of human creativity and invention? What does it mean to be an ‘other’ outside the bounds of what society defines as ‘normal’?”

Frankenstein: Playing with Fire promotional image

Guthrie Theater

Frankenstein: Jerkface with Reverend Matt’s Monster Science

When: October 1, 2018
Where: Roseville Library

Reverend Matt’s Monster Science, which hosts shows about mythological monsters at venues throughout the Twin Cities—“part science, part comedy, all monsters”—tackles Frankenstein’s creature on October 1 at the Roseville Library. Expect pop-culture history, jokes, and PowerPoint.

Reverend Matt's Monster Science logo

Reverend Matt’s Monster Science

Frankenstein at 200 Series

When: September 25–November 5, 2018
Where: University of Minnesota (Minneapolis)

The English department at the University of Minnesota is marking the anniversary with a series of public readings, screenings, and talks “that will explore many monster creations and honor the woman who wrote the first ever science fiction novel.” Dates and topics are below; follow the link above for descriptions, times, and venues.

  • September 25: “Early Monster Movies”
  • October 23: “Monster Readings”
  • October 31: “Ghost Stories”
  • November 2: “The Rights of Monsters: Allegory and the Body Politic”
  • November 5: “The Monsters of Beowulf”

Frankenreads Series

When: October 29–October 31, 2018
Where: University of St. Thomas

Like the U of M, St. Thomas is hosting a series of events to celebrate the anniversary, in this case as part of the larger Frankenreads project—including reading the entire novel aloud throughout the day on Halloween together with participants at other universities around the world.

  • October 29: Film screening and discussion, Spirit of the Beehive
  • October 30: Lecture, “The Biology Behind, and Ahead of, Frankenstein”
  • October 30: Lecture, “Reflections on Frankenstein, Film, and Black Atlantic Autobiography”
  • October 31: Frankenreads, reading the entirety of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

St. Thomas students can also enter the Frankenstein essay contest for the chance to win a $100 prize (details at the link above).

Cinema Book Club

When: October 14, 2018
Where: Trylon Cinema/Moon Palace Books (Minneapolis)

Moon Palace Books’ Cinema Book Club is reading Frankenstein for October. See James Whale’s 1931 movie adaptation starring Boris Karloff at the nearby Trylon Cinema, then gather for a discussion at the bookstore. (See below for more information on movie screenings.)

Frankenstein Spooky Poetry Reading

When: October 26, 2018
Where: Fair Trade Books (Red Wing)

Fair Trade Books in Red Wing is hosting a poetry event that will kick off with Frankenstein in verse form. Sign up to read something featuring a monster or a “monstrous event” or just come to enjoy everyone else’s readings (and the treats and spooky music).

Elsa Lanchester as Mary Shelley and Boris Karloff as the Monster

Elsa Lanchester and Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein. Universal Pictures

Frankenstein on the Big Screen

When: October and November 2018
Where: Various

Multiple theaters around the Twin Cities are screening Frankenstein movies this fall.

The Trylon Cinema in Minneapolis is showing the Boris Karloff classic Frankenstein and its sequels, Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein, October 12–14. SuperMonster市City!, whose exhibit is mentioned above, will have a display at the theater during the screenings. Click here for times and tickets, and also see above for information on the related event at Moon Palace Books.

Alamo Drafthouse in Woodbury, which opened in August—click here to read all about it—is also showing Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein (both October 7) as well as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (October 28). All are part of the theater’s series showing two Universal monster movies every Sunday in October.

MSP Film Society is screening both versions of Nick Dear’s Frankenstein stage play, directed by Danny Boyle and recorded live at the National Theatre in London in 2011, at the St. Anthony Main Theater in Minneapolis. Catch Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature on October 22, October 24, or November 19; Johnny Lee Miller is on October 29, October 31, and November 26. Fathom Events is also doing a more limited run at the AMC Rosedale and Southdale theaters and the Emagine Willow Creek, with a single screening date for each version: Cumberbatch on October 22 and Miller on October 29.

Aquila Theatre in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

When: November 1, 2018
Where: St. John’s University (Collegeville)

New York’s Aquila Theatre brings its stage adaptation of Frankenstein to St. John’s University as part of a national tour. SJU promises, “Aquila Theatre brings to life this timeless and gruesome tale in an innovative interpretation that gives audiences spellbinding chills. You’ve never experienced Mary Shelley’s frightful story quite like this.”

Aquila Theatre Frankenstein banner

Aquila Theatre

Ramsey After Dark: Victorian Gothic Novels

When: November 2, 2018
Where: Alexander Ramsey House (St. Paul)

In its monthly Ramsey After Dark series, the Minnesota Historical Society invites you to “explore the superstitions, customs, and other hidden aspects of Victorian society . . . through excerpts from letters, parlor games, and more.” Although Frankenstein is considered the first science-fiction novel, it’s also a Gothic novel, and that’s the topic for November’s event. Catch it at one of two tour times: from 7:00 to 8:15 or 8:30 to 9:45.

Frankenstein at the Bakken Museum

When: Ongoing
Where: Bakken Museum (Minneapolis)

Minneapolis’s Bakken Museum gets its name from Earl Bakken, who credits Frankenstein for sparking a childhood interest in electricity and medicine that would eventually lead to him creating the first battery-operated wearable pacemaker and cofounding Medtronic. The museum owns a number of Frankenstein-related items in its private collection and has two installations related to Mary Shelley and her creation. In Mary and Her Monster, which opened in 2016, visitors can view books and artifacts from Shelley’s time, solve a puzzle related to the story, and interact with a “living portrait” of the author to learn about her life and how she wrote the novel. Frankenstein’s Laboratory has been part of the Bakken for much longer and introduces visitors to Frankenstein through a sound and light show.

Visitors interact with the exhibit

An interactive “puppet show” is part of the Mary and Her Monsters exhibit. The Bakken Museum

So what will you be doing to celebrate this classic book?

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