New theatre 新剧
Dreams within dreams 梦中梦
A haunting vision of Haruki Murakami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”
Aug 27th 2011 | EDINBURGH | from the print edition
ADAPTING a novel for the stage requires courage, vision and a spirit that refuses to kowtow to the original author. But few novels can have been as hard to rework as “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”, Haruki Murakami’s surreal and unwieldy 600-page exploration of fear. Stephen Earnhart’s adaptation (written with Greg Pierce), seven years in the making, had its world premiere at the Edinburgh festival on August 21st. Like a dream, it is wondrous, incomprehensible and poignantly memorable in all sorts of unexpected ways.
First published in English in 1997, this Japanese novel was immediately hailed as a masterpiece, despite its fierce resistance to explanation. Mr Earnhart, a former producer for Miramax Films, has applied some cinematic flourishes to this production, which often recalls the bizarre cinema of David Lynch. The novel’s hallucinatory world is evoked through film projections, puppets and music. The mood is haunting and confusing, and peppered with bewitching details, like a white bird that suddenly flutters from bedsheets and flies away.