The stage play adaptation of a blockbuster movie is having its moment. It’s the format that has spawned the likes of Stranger Things, the prequel, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, with more cult favorites on the way. While this trend is more common in Japan, where theaters are packed with film-to-stage adaptations, it’s a new frontier for US audiences. But what is it about stage plays that entice fans to flock to them when they might have preferred another type of remake?
While it wasn’t the musical version of the book series and film franchise that fans had fervently wanted, The Hunger Games is finally getting its chance to go live on stage. The first play based on Suzanne Collins’ novels and the hugely successful film series will open at a London theatre next year.
Irish playwright, screenwriter, and director Conor McPherson (Girl From the North Country, The Pillowman) has adapted for theatre the first book in Collins’ young adult dystopian trilogy and the first film from “The Hunger Games” Lionsgate movie franchise, which starred Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen. No word yet on the premiere date for the London production, which is scheduled to run through the fall of 2024.
The book and film series describe a future in which the people of the nation of Panem are oppressed and downtrodden by their authoritarian government, the Capitol. Every year, as a form of punishment and to mark their subjugation, the Capitol forces each of its 12 districts to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to compete in a fight to the death called the Hunger Games. The televised spectacle is watched by people all over the world, and it’s in this arena that the reluctant hero Katniss Everdeen emerges as a symbol of rebellion.
Dunster, who is also set to direct the upcoming Broadway revival of Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, said that he was “honored and inspired” by being asked to adapt the books and film for the stage. “To receive Suzanne’s blessing to do so is both humbling and inspiring,” he said in a release, adding that he felt that the story had an enduring appeal.
McPherson added that he must bring the book’s themes to life on the stage, including “the underlying message about the importance of resistance to injustice.” The London production will highlight the themes of the series while still honoring its edgy tone and the voice of its protagonist.
No word on who will star in the London production, which is slated to open in the fall of 2024. The cast will likely include a mix of familiar faces from the film and book series, such as Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. For more details on the play, head to its official website.