Stage & Dance

Playwright might be creating a monster career

Bo List has walked the monstrous path as a playwright before with Dracula ... A Variation, his 2007 amalgamation of all the other variations of the Dracula story he had seen before, from Bram Stoker's novel to the Mel Brooks' comedy Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

As similar as adapting Frankenstein might seem, List said, he had a different focus with his version of Mary Shelley's tale that had its world premiere this week at SummerFest.

"Dracula was my own weird take on it, where my efforts here have been to stay true to the spirit, if not the letter, of every moment of the book," List says from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he is working as managing director of River Valley Rep, a professional summer theater company based at Marist College.

The SummerFest script came about, List said, after he spent years bugging Trish Clark, director of Kentucky Conservatory Theatre, which produces SummerFest, about presenting a version of Frankenstein. Turned out it worked perfectly into the event's "monster" season, including last week's Richard III and next week's The Rocky Horror Show.

List's different approaches to his two monster stories were in part a product of circumstances, but they also came from his view that Frankenstein is a more substantial literary work.

"Mary Shelley set out to write something very special, not just about a monster — in fact, she was very careful to call him The Creature," List says. "She wrote a story in which man tried to be more than man, tried to be the creator of life, and it doesn't work out when you try to play God."

As for his own writing, List might look for something a little different next time.

List says, "I need to be careful what my next project is going to be, lest I get pigeonholed in gothic horror."