David Greig is to adapt Stanislaw Lem’s classic science fiction novel Solaris, in a co-production between Edinburgh’s Lyceum and Melbourne’s Malthouse theatres.
The production will open in Melbourne as part of the Malthouse 2019 season before transferring to the Lyceum, where Greig is artistic director.
Directed by Malthouse artistic director Matthew Lutton, Solaris will feature both Australian and Scottish actors. Already cast is Eamon Farren, whose recent credits include Richard Horne in Twin Peaks.
Solaris is best known through Tarkovsky’s long and elegiac film version. It is set on a distant space station orbiting an unknown planet.
Greig told The Stage that he is returning to the novel for his production, which he said had comic elements to it.
He said: “The book has much more in common with Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and even things like Red Dwarf. It is funny, it is mischievous, it is witty and it is philosophical.
“There have been four people in a place, a single location and one has disappeared. To investigate this another arrives, our story begins and they all remain trapped in this single location until this story plays out to its end.”
Written in 1961, the novel has a retro-futuristic feel to it, with cigarettes, paper books and reel-to-reel tape recorders.
While Greig will retain this to avoid the pitfalls of “tin foil” theatre, he told The Stage that he was modernising the characters, saying it is perfectly conceivable that people of all backgrounds, genders and abilities will be in space.
He said: “It struck as a really great chance as producers – we could say that any of these characters could be any gender or background, so let us put an interesting group of people together to make the show.”