Verse Novel Adaptations

We all know that good books make for good adaptations – some of the time anyway. Film makers, playwrights and TV producers all look to successful books for material to adapt to a performance format.

Gemma Yates-Round as Anna in Goodbye Jamie Boyd (pic by Heidrun Lohr)

So where are the verse novels adaptations? If I had to answer in one word I would say: Australia. Australia seems to have had a run on stage adaptions of verse novels lately with Elizabeth Fensham’s GOODBYE JAMIE BOYD being adapted recently for the stage. The production is getting some great reviews actually and I kind of wish I was in Australia to see it!

This is not the first verse novel to hit the stage in Australia. Other verse novels adapted for live performance in Australia include Autobiography of Red by the North American writer Anne Carson and Geoff Page’s verse novel written in the style of a screenplay, Lawrie and Shirley: The Final Candanza. One of the best known Australian verse novelists, Steven Herrick even got into the act with an adaptation of his book The Simple Gift. This adaptation was recently chosen as one of the top five best loved Australian plays.

The Monkey's Mask PosterAussie verse novel adaptations are not limited to the stage either. The late Dorothy Porter’s verse novel THE MONKEY’S MASK  was adapted to the screen in 2000.

Also on stage, and outside Australia, are a few operatic verse novel adaptations. Ludlow by David Mason and The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth have been recently adapted into operas. In addition the classic novel in verse EUGENE ONEGIN by Alexander Pushkin has been performed as an opera for over 100 years.

I have heard rumors about CRANK by Ellen Hopkins being optioned for film and I for one CAN’T WAIT! I also heard of Hopkins’s IMPULSE being done on stage. Hopkins’s verse novels seem a natural choice for adapting into works for performance. What other novels in verse would you like to see on stage or screen?



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