|Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.|
The stage play of The Master Butcher's Singing Club is now playing at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, scheduled to end Nov. 6 . This new work is the idea of Broadway director Frances Zambello, who was in town two years ago to stage "Little House on the Prairie" at the Guthrie. She asked a bookstore employe for suggestions of books by local authors. She bought a copy of Louise Erdrich's 2003 novel and (as she told a newspaper interviewer) "when I first read the book, I actually saw it as a theater piece. It has a sweeping arc of unconventional love stories, the mixing of cultures and the sense of community in a place where everyone feels like an outsider, It had a big kind of message".
So Zambello called Marsha Norman (Pulitzer prize and Tony award-winning playwright) to seek artistic collaboration on the idea of adapting the 2003 novel to the stage, (Norman had adapted Alice Walker's The Color Purple for Broadway.) After pondering a while on how to do it, Norman hit upon making Step-and-a-half, a survivor of Wounded Knee (1890 massacre of Lakotas in South Dakota) who has been walking the plains ever since, the narrator. Norman sees her as the major moral compass of the show.
One hopes that as this tale of Fidelis Waldvogel (German immigrant with a suitcase full of sausages) and his wife Delphine (a vaudeville performer in North Dakota) moves "from page to stage" , it will turn out to be one of the better such adaptations.
Her books are so dense and satisfying. Some are favorites of mine, The Beet Queen, The Bingo Palace, the Antelope Wife, Tracks and the unforgettable, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse.
I swapped for a copy of Butcher's Club, I had better get reading!