Adaptions of movies, books and real events to stage are hugely popular and most of them go on to run the longest on stage. ‘Les Misérables’, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’, ‘Come From Away’, ‘Glasgow Girls’ and ‘War Horse’ are to name but a few of the adaptions to stage that are hugely successful. Therefore, we asked some of our writers to tell us their dream adaptions.
‘The Radium Girls’ (Katie Daniel)
My pick for a dream stage adaptation would be the book ‘The Radium Girls’ by Kate Moore which is based on the real-life story of female factory workers in the 1920s and their decades long legal battle against corporations that valued their profits over the girl’s lives. Back in the day, radium used to be painted onto clocks because it would glow in the dark. The ‘radium girls’ working in the factories were instructed to use their mouths to make the brush point finer, without being made aware of how dangerous radium poisoning could be. The girls’ health starts to mysteriously deteriorate and there were some odd diagnoses from doctors paid off by the corporations to keep the women in the dark. They begin to fight their corner while racing against the clock with their poor health and ultimately force the corporations to admit their wrongdoing in court. Between the time period, the visual possibilities of the glowing paint and the fact that it’s a story of strong women fighting for what’s right, I think would make it a brilliant musical! It’s a story that will make you furious, sad and fiercely proud. (Yes, there is also a 2018 film called ‘Radium Girls’ but I wouldn’t bother with that as it barely scratches the surface and doesn’t put focus on the right elements, I think, to be as impactful as it should be.)
‘Scream’ (Keiran McLean)
My adaption to stage pick is the 1996 horror classic, Scream. Scream is a universally known slasher movie that became one of the biggest horror franchises in recent history. My choice of Scream stems from a love of multimedia styled plays. Companies like Wooster Group have changed the dynamic for multimedia performances by tackling movies and in some cases simultaneously reenacting the movies on the stage step by step. I think adapting a multimedia movie into a multimedia play would be an amazing project and end with a very fresh, unique take on the style. During my time at university, myself and a group of fellow students touched on this exact project for a module and managed to work and create a 20 min adaptation which we were extremely proud of. Taking inspiration from this, I believe utilizing phones, spotlights, projections and incorporating the actual movie footage into the play would allow a team to make such a gripping, horror genre play which is, right now, lacking in the UK.
‘La La Land’ (Sam Eastop)
My choice of stage adaptation is the 2016 film release; La La Land. I know this film isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but this film changed my perception of cinema back in 2016 when I first saw it in theatres. It’s unimpeded devotion to live music and the effects of music on emotion make it perfect, in my eyes at least, for a rather potentially beautiful stage adaptation. The tap sequence where Mia and Sebastian fall for each other in front of an LA Sunset backdrop would make for rather magnificent stage design and a great challenge for actors and stage designers alike. This musical that is so theatric in its execution yet so realistic and down to Earth in its final result would make for an emotionally challenging, yet starkly realistic theatre experience for all. The ambition of fame and fortune is a slightly eye-opening look at the desperate, hopeful lives of creatives in Los Angeles and lovers all across the globe and would make for a truly revolutionary theatre experience.
‘The Conjuring’ (Lewis C. Baird)
Plays are really hard to make mainstream, if you have a play that is known by someone who isn’t the average theatre goer, then you’ve produced a beauty. Most of the biggest plays are adaptions of motion pictures or books. One of the play genres I am really interested in, is horror. It’s such an experimental genre for theatre, it allows actors, creatives and tech teams to really go to town with creating a truly complex environment. I believe this genre would really thrive in an immersive setting. A dream adaptation for me would be ‘The Conjuring 2’ based on the Enfield Hauntings to be adapted to stage. The horrifying characters of The Nun and Bill Wilkins being brought to life on stage would be truly spine chilling, I believe it could rival ‘The Woman in Black’. The overall movie screams theatrics with great dialogue, a fairly neutral setting, with lighting and imagery being the true devices for terror. If this was to be adapted to stage, I would be first in line for a ticket.
Stonewall Riots (Lewis C. Baird)
Okay, I know this is my second pitch but I have a book’s worth of ideas. I believe that important points in time do deserve to have their story put on a stage and really investigated through narrative which is based on true accounts. But, one thing I believe really compliments and lifts the piece is taking some creative liberties. As we know, recently one of the biggest TV shows is Russell T Davies’ ‘It’s A Sin’, which is based on true accounts but has also got a fictional narrative lined throughout it. I believe there should be a similar idea in the shape of a stage musical which tells the stories of people involved in the Stonewall Riots that took place 28 Jun 1969 – 3 Jul 1969. The music featured could be entirely original, however, the idea I had was adapting the music of LGBTQ+ icon, Lady Gaga, to fit the narrative. This may be an outlandish idea, however Gaga’s music has had an influence on the community for most of the 21st Century, therefore she would be the best musician to have their work featured on a musical tackling such an important event for the LGBTQ+ community.