Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I have a little dilemma. I'd like to advance the great round-robin we've got going, but, well, I advanced it last time. If I follow my own round with another round, doesn't that make it more of a flat-robin? So instead I think I'll blog about adapting literature to the stage.

*cricket, cricket*

No, no! Hear me out. I'm an actor, you see, and I have an audition coming up with a local theatre that does nothing but adapted works of literature, complete with narration. It's a very specialized style. A twisted little part of me thinks it would be a hoot to use a piece from my first novel, but that's a little too self-centered even for me. ;-> Although when I wrote it, it was very much a movie playing in my head, complete with most roles being played by local actor friends of mine. But on stage... That's a different medium entirely. Books get turned into movies plenty: Harry Potter; Lord of the Rings; Brokeback Mountain; White Oleander. The list goes on and on and on and... Hollywood seems to have one original idea every other year. But I digress.

What would The Ballad of Jimothy Redwing look like on stage? Naturally it wouldn't be so sexually graphic, but how would a director envision it? Would they do it in the style of this local theatre or would the take a more traditional adaptation approach? It's all just wild speculation, of course, since even if it would ever happen (beyond unlikely!), the actors I'd want wouldn't be the right ages anymore. But it's fun to imagine the possibilities. How would the set designer create the countryside? the city? the interior sets? How would the actors play the characters? How would the lighting designer, the costumer, the props person create their parts of the theatrical equation?

And if not my own book, what other book would I like to see on the stage? Something by Ally Blue, maybe. I think her Untamed Heart would kick ass on stage. Or a sport-themed season with K.A. Mitchell's Diving in Deep and T.A. Chase's Out of Bounds. Or a series of one-acts adapted from like-themed short stories. My brain's gone all spinny with possibilities!

So tell me: If you could choose a book to be adapted to the stage, what would you choose and why?


Anonymous said...

This was a difficult question for me. I often think of books I like as movies but rarely consider them for the stage.

My first thought was "One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night" by Christopher Brookmyre. But then I realized that it was too big. The first third of the book is introducing characters and how they got to the reunion.

Then I though "Bimbos of the Death Sun" by Sharyn McCrumb. It takes place in a hotel so it might be easier to adapt. It might work with minimal staging and people going on and off stage to change rooms. The costumes would be fun.

Then I came to "The Flanders Panel" by Arturo Perez-Reverte. It was made into an okay movie called Uncovered (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111549/)

I think it might work on stage. The story revolves around a painting that the main character is asked to restore. The picture is of two men playing chess and a woman behind them looking out a window." The restorer finds "Who took the knight?" written under a layer of paint.

The rest of the book is figuring out the mystery. Learning the history of the people in the painting, playing the chess game backwards, etc. In the middle of this people start dying so it becomes a murder mystery.

It think it might look good on the stage. I can see the stage being divided at times with the present being acted out upstage right with the past being played downstage left. Or somesuch. :-D

Maia Strong said...

Thanks, Madison. :) I love Bimbos of the Death Sun! What a great suggestion! And that third one you mention sounds really interesting. I need to go find a copy and read it, methinks. As for the first one being too big - the theatre I'm talking about did Moby Dick and it was really good, so you never know. ;)

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