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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Read it Before They Stage It

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 3:31 PM

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The next few months sees a metric shit ton of theatrical productions adapted from or inspired by books. Here's a handy reading list for the overachievers in the room.

Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett. Jessica Wallenfells, Betsy Cross, and Elizabeth Klinger are adapting Patchett's book for the Fertile Ground festivalTruth and Beauty is an intense, almost uncomfortably honest account of Patchett's friendship with another writer, a disfigured poet who died at age 39 of a drug overdose. And if Fertile Ground isn't already on your radar, it should be—the ten-day arts festival in late January is essentially a fringe festival that focuses exclusively on locally developed new work.

The Book of Men and Women by David Biespiel. Biespiel is a local poet and head of the Attic Writer’s Workshop—his collection The Book of Men and Women was recently named one of the best poetry books of the year by The Poetry Foundation. For Fertile Ground, Biespiel and Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer Gavin Larsen are collaborating on an original piece called Incorporamento.

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
. An adaptation of Guterson's post-WWII novel about racial tensions on a small Puget Sound Island opens in two weeks at Portland Center Stage—the adaptation was developed at Seattle's Book-It Rep.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Profile's got a staged reading of Lee's Pulizter-Prize winner running January 14-24.

Spider Web by Agatha Christie. Lakewood Center for the Arts opens Spider Web on January 15. It's actually an original stage play by Christie (not, like And Then There Were None, adapted from an earlier novel), but since Christie's books are basically interchangeable, you might as well pick up... Oh, Murder on the Orient Express, let's say. Or the ironically titled Elephants Can Remember, an analysis of which was recently used to support the claim that Christie suffered from Alzheimer's-related dementia toward the end of her life.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok, which I think is like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, only with Jews and boys? That's at Portland Center Stage in April.

AND! Oregon Children's Theater has two plays based on the works of Louis Sachar: A world-premiere adaptation of Small Steps (a sequel to the popular Holes), adapted by the author, in April; and Sideways Stories from motherfucking Wayside School in May.

(Hat tip to Powells' blog for that headline, which I brazenly ripped off.)

UPDATED THURS 4:12 PM:

Two more!

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez, and—take note, Spanish majors!—a bilingual adaptation of Cervantes' Don Quijote , both at the Miracle Theatre.

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