Friday, July 6, 2012
The Word For Snow to premiere in London
Heavyweight US novelist Don DeLillo's unpublished one-act play The Word for Snow is set to receive its European premiere in London next week. Don DeLillo, born November 20, 1936 in New York, is an award-winning American author, playwright, and essayist. His works have covered subjects as diverse as television, nuclear war, sports, the complexities of language, performance art, the Cold War, mathematics, the advent of the digital age, and global terrorism. He currently lives near New York City in the suburb of Bronxville.
Originally commissioned by US theatre company Steppenwolf in 2007, the play is DeLillo's response to climate change and tells of an Earth where the physical world is disappearing, with only the words describing that world left in their place. The title is drawn from a question asked during the play: "Are you saying children will build a snowman with the word for snow?" The play, which will show at the London literature festival from 10-12 July, will be directed by Jack McNamara of new company Future Ruins, complete with music, video and projections.
"We're going all out, bringing in a choir, live music, video," said McNamara. "It seems from talking to Don that it hasn't really been staged in a full way before – there have just been quite sparse, simple readings of it, so this is the first time it has really been turned into a full evening."
The director said his copy of the play was "straight from DeLillo's typewriter". He had to personally convince the author of Underworld and White Noise "that this strange and beautiful piece was something that people had to see".
The play tells of a modern pilgrim who visits a scholar on a remote mountain to ask "what is happening?", as the physical world begins to disappear. "It's a writer really thinking about writing, and the immortality, or mortality, of language," said McNamara. "I think this piece is very close to his novels in its style, in comparison to his other plays – his unique type of dialogue is here, and what people love about his more edgy novels like White Noise is characteristic of this play. [And] just like his great novels, it is packed with mind-expanding ideas, beautifully dry humor and is composed of some of the most stunning lines of dialogue you are likely to hear on stage this year."
DeLillo's other plays include Love-Lies-Bleeding and Valparaiso, the latter of which was also directed by McNamara to critical acclaim.