Sunday, January 8, 2012

Doppelgangers and Alternate Versions

Ebenezer Singh. Tongues, 2008. 15ft X 9ft. Fiberglass, resin, pigments and sequins.
I talked a few weeks ago about some artistic choices we made for Chatterbox's adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Markheim." Thanks to the blog post, I remembered that, in the process of creating the show, I had come across several other audio interpretations of the story.

Chatterbox adapts a lot of classic stories that have been around for dozens (or, in some cases, hundreds) of years. It's fun to see what other audio drama producers, both contemporary and OTR, have done with the same material. Today I thought I'd point out some alternate versions of shows in the Chatterbox catalogue.

The OTR Shows Weird Circle, Hall of Fantasy, and Theatre Royal all took on "Markheim" back in radio's Golden Age. The Weird Circle version updates the story to (then) modern day and gives Markheim's uncle a prominent role. Similarly, Hall of Fantasy makes a character out of Markheim's betrothed. The Theatre Royal version stars Sir Lawrence Olivier. In the 1970s, the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre gave another spin on the tale, calling it "Markheim: Man or Monster?"

One of our first shows was an adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." The classic OTR series Suspense also produced the story, in a version starring the immortal Agnes Moorehead.

Speaking of our early shows, "Bartleby the Scrivener" also appeared on the OTR show Favorite Story in a version titled "The Strange Mr. Bartleby."

Remakes of existing shows are, of course, a different beast than two shows that share a common ancestor. But if you've heard, say, Chatterbox's production of "The Thing on the Fourble Board" and haven't heard the original Quiet, Please broadcast, you should definitely check it out. I'm confident other contemporary groups have remade this story, by the way, though I haven't come across any links.

Likewise for our recent production of "The Shadow: The Little Man Who Wasn't There." The original 1945 broadcast is still a great deal of fun. To hear another contemporary group's take on The Shadow (albeit different adventures), check out Pendant Audio's double feature of "The Blind Beggar Dies" and "The Poisoned Death."

So, while it's true that we do our best to steer clear of stories that have been adapted too often, it's certainly fun to hear what others have created using the same source material! More links as I run across them.

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