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Liam Scarlett on Frankenstein: ‘It’s essentially about love’


Rose SlavinAssistant Content Producer for Royal Opera House talks to the choreographer of Royal Ballet: FrankensteinLiam Scarlett, in a very revealing interview about why there’s more to his new full-length ballet than horror.

For choreographer Liam Scarlett, the story of Frankenstein is about more than the monster that has become so iconic in pop culture:

“People have a very stereotypical view of what they want they presume Frankenstein to be and actually I don’t think many people really know the heart and soul of the story”, says the choreographer, who has created a new full-length ballet adaptation, opening in May 2016. “It’s essentially about love.”

Liam’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s iconic Gothic novel is his first full-length piece for the Royal Opera House main stage, and the choreographer sees the title character very much as a child, looking to a parent for guidance:

“He’s like an infant — he can’t speak and can’t figure out how to walk. He’s desperately seeking a parent or loved one to take him through the world and teach him all these things. He’s an incredibly vulnerable creature who is shunned by his creator.”

The Royal Ballet’s new production is set at the end of the 18th Century, at the time in which Shelley wrote the novel. As Liam explains, it was a time in history full of scientific advances, which re-shaped our understanding of the world:

“The Romantic ideals were being thrown out and it was the dawn of science, a crossover period where confusions and tensions run high.”

The ballet has been created with music by American composer, Lowell Liebermann, who also wrote the score for Liam’s earlier work Viscera, which was first performed at Covent Garden in 2012.

“There’s always been an easy dance quality about his music”, says the choreographer. “I listen to it and steps really pop into my mind.”

Liam is confident that audiences will respond to his reading of the tale:

“I think the best pieces of art are ones that say something enough but also give room for interpretation”, he gleams. “I want people to feel something when they watch the work.”

Captured live on stage in Covent Garden, London, Royal Ballet: Frankenstein screens at Riverside Theatres 3 July at 1pm.

This interview was originally published by Rose Slavin on Royal Opera House’s blog.


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