By Jacob Nelson
Cory Sandrock had some important advice for the cast of his theatrical production of Frankenstein, now playing at Asbury Hall in Elmhurst.
“What I want is stunned silence,” Sandrock told his cast. He explained that, unlike comedy, where the cast gets a payoff in the form of a laugh at each funny line, it’s tougher for actors to read how they’re doing when performing a drama.
“It’s a tough concept to explain until you have a room of 90 people stunned silent,” Sandrock said, “They don’t breathe for a moment.”
That’s just what the cast received at the opening weekend performances, which began in October. After a few sold out performances, the show is now in its final week, with performances on Nov 5, 7, 8 and 9.
“What I wanted to do in writing this adaptation was make this story accessible to both ends of the spectrum,” Sandrock said, “People who never read the novel, seen the movie or at the other end read the novel before many, many times.”
The production is being put on by GreenMan Theatre Troupe, a community theater in Elmhurst that Sandrock has been involved with for years. He first got the idea to adapt Mary Shelley’s horror story about a man who creates a monster seven years ago, after adapting the works of Edgar Allen Poe for the same theater.
“At the time we talked about what could be other literary works we could adapt that we think would work well for our stage,” Sandrock said. “Frankenstein came to my mind right away. I wanted to make it closer to the novel — less about the grunting guy with the bolts.”
A Northwestern alum who majored in theatre, Sandrock has always been interested in live performance. After college, he moved to New York and then Chicago to pursue a career producing, writing and directing plays.
“I always felt like I was not explaining the business part of it correctly, so a couple of years into that arc of my career I went to go get my MBA,” Sandrock said. “Interestingly, when I got my MBA I really liked the economics and finance classes, and so ever since then the quest has been how do I keep both sides of my personality happy.”
Sandrock, who now works as a vice president at Northern Trust, will be teaching an Masters in Science for Leadership in Creative Enterprises course this winter about finances in the creative industries. He wishes the MSLCE program had been around when he was in college. His advice for aspiring theater professionals?
“Continue learning and looking for new opportunities to do interesting work regardless of where that interesting work is,” Sandrock said. “You can always find a way to do the parts of your life you want to be involved in.”
To buy tickets for Frankenstein, click here. The show is now in its final week, with performances on Nov 5, 7, 8 and 9.