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Red Rain and Monsters: A 200th Anniversary of the Shelleys and Byron at Lake Geneva

  • Armory Theatre 305 Harrison Street Seattle, WA, 98109 United States (map)

We are proud to introduce ourselves at a free event on July 17, generously funded by Humanities Washington:

"Red Rain and Monsters: A 200th Anniversary of the Shelleys and Byron at Lake Geneva"

1816 was the "Year Without a Summer," a time of global, catastrophic climate change resulting from a massive volcanic eruption in Indonesia. At the same time, the Napoleonic Wars had only just ended, leaving much of Europe ravaged. It was in a gloomy atmosphere of incessant red rain and darkness and postwar disorientation that the writers Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Godwin Shelley, Lord Byron, Claire Clairmont, and Dr. John Polidori crossed separately through the continent to meet at Lake Geneva. There, storms and shadows led them to tell one another Gothic stories over several famously manic days, resulting in the seeds of "Frankenstein" and early vampire fiction. Those summer weeks also yielded some of Percy Shelley's and Byron's greatest poetry. 

"Red Rain and Monsters" is an examination of the full story of these young individuals' origins, the complicated connections between them, the lives they were fleeing, and the deep intellectual influences and radical principles they were trying to embody. This event will feature a staged reading by six accomplished Seattle actors, and is directed by Gianni Truzzi. A post-reading commentary by critic Robert Horton (author of "Frankenstein," an overview of the myth's cultural endurance) and a dialogue with the audience follows.

The event is free but an RSVP is important as seating is limited. Please contact us at by July 6 to ensure a seat.

Day and date: Sunday, July 17
Time: 7pm
Place: Armory Theatre, formerly Seattle Center House