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This was yesterday's book, so tomorrow I'll do today's and tomorrow's and then I'll be caught up.

This is a pretty straightforward theatrical adaptation of Dahl's classic children's novel, with most of the text taken directly from the book and many of the more lyrical passages of the book given as soliloquies to the narrator. There are really two things which make it interesting. The first is Dahl's introduction, which describes the rather harrowing circumstances under which he wrote the novel (his infant son had been in a terrible accident, and the child's survival was still in doubt for the entire time of writing; he did live). Dahl describes the book as an act of total escapism which probably saved his sanity, and this does make me understand the novel better.

The other interesting thing is the suggestions for staging, blocking and costuming. George's adaptation is meant to be performed by children, if possible, and is assumed to have a budget of slightly under nothing; given the sheer number of effects that seem to be required, how does one do it?

Well, it's amazing what you can do with cardboard. The suggested costumes for the insect characters are entirely cardboard-based, and I have to say I think they would look pretty good. But the thing that impressed me the most is the giant peach itself: it is incredibly simple and I would never have thought of it.

It's a spotlight. You train the light on the appropriate spot on the peach-tree and make it larger and larger for the growing peach, and then of course when everyone is having scenes inside the peach you have them all standing in it with the other lights down, and when they're having scenes on top of it you bring the other lights up, slap an orange filter on the thing and have them stand just upstage of the light circle. I could see this being very effective indeed and it eliminates ninety percent of the effects from the production in one easy stroke.

In short, then, though this didn't have much new content, it was as I had hoped it would be useful for getting me to think about what goes into making a successful theatrical adaptation.


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March 2017

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