Thursday, 18 June 2009

Donal McLaughlin on Staging The Reader

You may recall David Hare's article on adapting Bernhard Schlink's The Reader for the recent film, which I for one found slightly less revealing than it could have been.
Back in the year 2000, the Scottish Germanist, writer and translator Donal McLaughlin was closely involved in the first adaptation of The Reader - for the stage. Now he's finally had a heart and posted some of the real nitty-gritty stuff Hare didn't share, on his website. It's a fascinating read, as Donal explores all the many difficulties of transporting the novel from the pages of a German book to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Part of his job as advisor to the production was to provide the background information to the novel that your average English-language readers just don't have, specifically the German student movement, which plays an unspoken role all of its own. You can also find out how the press reacted, what other challenges the novel posed for stage adaptation - and how there should have been more nudity. Pubic wig, anyone?

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