Lebanon Community Theatre will present Frankenstein on Oct. 20-23 and Oct. 28-30, just in time for Halloween. The process of constructing the show started about a year ago.

“I started probably a year ago planning the production,” Gene Hole, director of Lebanon Community Theatre’s Frankenstein, said. “Getting the script, going over that and figuring out how I want to stage things, figuring out all the details of setting up the production, finding people to be on the production team to take care of different aspects, like lighting, sound design, costumes, so organizing all that, and when it came to auditions, casting the roles, all that was my responsibility.”

A peek inside a recent Frankenstein dress rehearsal. (Provided by Gene Hole)

The auditions for the show were held around the end of July.

“We tend to schedule auditions for shows like halfway in … the run of the previous show because everyone’s kinda coming to the theater regularly and aware of what’s going on,” Hole said.

He added, “[The Lebanon Community Theatre’s board] planned earlier than that as far as what the season’s shows would be. But then they did reach out and kind of ask if I had any preferences about which version to use because Frankenstein has so many different adaptations. I actually read through about 17 different scripts that are available and gave them a couple ones … and the board went and chose the final script that we are working from.”

Victor Frankenstein constructing his creature. (Provided by Gene Hole)

Hole then illustrated the audition process.

“We invite the public and anyone who’s interested to come out and audition for parts. So, it’s open to anyone who wants to try out,” Hole said. “For my show being a play, I have people reading sections of the scenes as the different characters that they might be interested in playing. And I do often have them come with a prepared monologue just to get a sense of what a performance is like when they’ve had a chance to actually prepare ahead of time and be familiar with the material.”

Frankenstein’s creature coming to life. (Provided by Gene Hole)

Hole finished casting within a week of auditions and scheduled rehearsals a month out from that.

“I gave out scripts early,” Hole said. “And had them sit down and read through together just to be all on the same page, sort of speak. And then just gave them and said, ‘Hey, come to the first rehearsal familiar with this material.'”

Another shot from the dress rehearsal. (Provided by Gene Hole)

On average, the cast met for three to four three-hour rehearsals per week. Lebanon Community Theatre’s Frankenstein cast had to coordinate its auditions, rehearsals, shows, and other logistics with the cast of The Rocky Horror Show.

“And the set probably is one of the biggest bears to take upon with this show because it’s got a castle and a cottage. Pretty much everyone in the cast pitched in, as well as members of the cast of Rocky Horror Show, which we’re also doing this October, overlapping schedules,” Hole said. “It’s kind of an interesting thing we’ve never really done before, where we’re using the same set for both shows.”

Hole added, “And actually, three members of the cast are in both shows, which is quite startling, their ability to take on that and do so well.”

The Frankenstein set includes a castle, cottage, bookshelves, and a tilting table. (Provided by Gene Hole)

To bring the show to life, Hole used his experience as a director of two previous shows at the Lebanon Community Theatre and an actor at the theater for the better part of a decade.

Hole’s pillars were his longtime assistant director, as well as set and lighting designers who have experience at theaters in Mount Gretna, Lebanon County, Hershey, Harrisburg, and Lancaster County.

Three actors are involved in both Frankenstein and The Rocky Horror Show, which is a spooky feat. (Provided by Gene Hole)

“I think that a lot of people hear ‘Frankenstein’ and they think, ‘Oh, it’s just a monster movie for kids,’ or something,” Hole said. “But the play that we’re working from goes back to the roots of the book that it’s based on, and kind of pulls elements of the popular version that we think of in our heads, and combines the best elements of both so that you have characters that are really rich and meaningful and a story that touches deeper thoughts and truths about life.”

Hole continued, “We’ve got some actors here that are doing some really amazing things that I’m excited to have people see because the performances they’re delivering are really moving.”

Show and ticket information for Frankenstein and The Rocky Horror Show, which is for mature audiences, can be found on the Lebanon Community Theatre’s website.

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Lexi Gonzalez is a reporter for LebTown. She is currently completing her bachelor's degree at Lebanon Valley College.