30 March 2010

Dhalgren on Stage

Here's a nice birthday present:
On April 1 — [Samuel R.] Delany’s 68th birthday — the Kitchen will begin staging an adaptation [of Dhalgren] called Bellona, Destroyer of Cities. Its director and writer is Jay Scheib, an MIT professor and rising theater-world star who’s been obsessed with Dhalgren for years. He once devoted an MIT course to the book, and has even adapted it into a play in German.
That news comes from a good, basic overview of Delany and Dhalgren in New York Magazine. I thought the description of the novel as "like Gertrude Stein: Beyond Thunderdome" was pretty amusing. (It made me want to see a picture of Gertrude Stein with Tina Turner hair.)

The play is not strictly an adaptation of the novel, it seems:
The Kitchen adaptation aims to be the next cycle of Dhalgren: It begins where the novel ends, with a new character—a woman instead of a man—entering Bellona. "In the novel," Scheib says, "when the narrator shows up, he has sex with a woman who turns into a tree. And then he has sex with a guy, and then with a girl. Then another guy. Then a guy and a girl. So we try to keep that spirit alive."
Bellona, Destroyer of Cities runs April 1-10, and there will be a post-show discussion with Chip on April 3. I would love to be there, but it's not possible. If anybody attends the show, I'd love to hear what you think of it!