The Santa Monica College Theatre Arts Department is pleased to announce the return of live performances with the world premiere production of “Broken Mirror – A Frankenstein Odyssey,” by G. Bruce Smith and directed by Perviz Sawoski.

Inspired by Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” the play explores how societal pressures create monsters. With dance, vivid imagery and powerful storytelling, “Broken Mirror” tells the heartbreaking tale of creatures in two different worlds with tragic consequences.

Performances are Oct. 29-31 and Nov. 5-7 in the Studio Stage, Theatre Arts Building, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays. All performances are free, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations are being taken.

Audience members are required to wear masks during the performances and must show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test result within 72 hours before the show date.

“‘Frankenstein’ made us examine the nature of loneliness and how social ostracism affects an individual,” Sawoski said. “‘Broken Mirror’ follows through on this concept. By interweaving a parallel tale with Shelley’s classic, we are made to look again at how society shapes a being and who are the real monsters.”

“Mary Shelley’s novel ‘Frankenstein’ has been grotesquely distorted by Hollywood over the years,” Smith said. “At its heart, her novel is a love story, not a cartoonish depiction of a monster. Indeed, hers is a heartbreaking tale of an intelligent creature who feels all the human emotions but who is doomed to being an outcast, created by a man with god-like ambitions.”

He added, “In writing ‘Broken Mirror,’ I endeavored to create a story that is true to the spirit of Shelley’s novel, while adding a somewhat parallel narrative that gets to the nature of true monstrousness – whether in the early 19th century in Europe or in the middle of the 20th century in America.”

This is the fourth time that Sawoski and Smith have collaborated on new plays for the SMC Theatre Arts Department. In 2008, Theatre Arts presented, to critical acclaim, “Butterfly Wings.” In 2012, Sawoski asked Smith to write a play called “Heart Mountain” about a Japanese-American family relocated during World War II to an internment camp. That play went on to be selected for the prestigious Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in 2012 and was presented during the festival at the Los Angeles Theatre Centre in early 2013. Last year, the pair collaborated to bring Smith’s “The Seven Ravens” to life as a play-on-film, for which actors shot themselves at home and footage was edited with music and CGI backgrounds. The play was made available on YouTube for several months.

There are 17 actors and dancers in the multi-cultural, multi-national cast of “Broken Mirror.”

Sawoski is an award-winning SMC theatre instructor and director of dozens of acclaimed shows, including several world premieres such as the musical “Cesar and Ruben,” which was co-directed with Ed Begley, Jr. Several of her productions besides “Heart Mountain” have been selected for the prestigious Kennedy Center/American College Theater Regional and National festivals, including “Once on this Island,” “Quartet: Four Short Plays by Samuel Beckett,” “Flamenco Macbeth,” and “Cesar and Ruben.”

Smith is the award-winning author of 25-plus plays of various lengths and two screenplays and has production credits in California, Minnesota, India and Paris, France. Most recently his play, “Where the Dead Men Lost Their Bones,” was presented in 2018 in Hollywood. He has won numerous playwriting awards all over the U.S., including the National Playwriting Award from the American Renegade Theatre in Los Angeles for his play “The Last Pitch,” which garnered “Pick of the Week” from L.A. Weekly.

Submitted by G. Bruce Smith, Smith Writing & PR