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AUK Students Successfully Resurrect Frankenstein's Monster

In the Fall 2014 semester, Alison Larkin Koushki, faculty member in the Intensive English Program at the American University of Kuwait (AUK), introduced her students to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," the canonic novel about the scientist who succeeds in bringing to life a monster he created out of body-parts of the deceased. The novel inspired the students to create a monster of their own - a monster of a performance, that is - which they had managed to prepare for the members of the AUK community in time for Halloween. This performance marked the fourth time that Koushki has inspired her students to engage in a novel and then "Bring Reading to Life" through the arts of drawing, video collage, choreography, and acting.

There were three stages to the performance. In the first stage, student actors performed the scene in which Frankenstein's monster comes to life, attacks his Creator Dr. Frankenstein, and a struggle ensues. This gave the students an opportunity to display their interpretation of the emotions and reactions of that iconic scene. "During the reading [of the novel], students empathized with the plight of the characters in the Frankenstein family, getting involved with their hopes and dreams, as well as their fears and frustrations," explained Koushki.

The second stage of the performance took the story to the 1980s, where dancers dressed as ghouls interrupted the scuffle between Frankenstein and his monster, and the cast began a choreographed dance to Michael Jackson's 1980s hit "Beat It!". When the song reached the end, 5 actresses dressed as the Brides of Frankenstein emerged from the Sciences Building and each paired with a dancer as the music switched to the tune set for the third stage.

The third and final stage was interactive. As the music had switched to the theme song from the movie "Saw," audience members were caught off-guard when the performers suddenly pounced on them to generate genuine reactions.

It required several teams of students managing different areas in addition to acting and choreography, such as artwork and academic writing, among others, to work closely together to produce this student-led performance. AUK President Dr. Nizar Hamzeh attended the performance, along with Dr. Rawda Awwad, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Ms. Sandra Stein, Director of IEP.

To celebrate the success of the event, Mrs. Alison arranged for a ceremony to recognize the students' contributions to the "Bringing Reading to Life" show by distributing AUK Certificates of Appreciation to all who participated. "Whether their task was acting, choreography, academic writing for display, arranging artwork, costumes, publicity, photography, project management, or security, everybody had a direct hand in the success of this initiative, and it was a pleasure to have IEP Director Ms. Sandy Stein present at the ceremony," expressed Mrs. Alison.

Images from the Event

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 22nd January 2015

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2015

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