Wednesday, 1 September 2010
As I might well have remarked before, in our day all art aspires to the condition of the musical. Or rather almost anything is liable to end up being turned into a musical. Take, for example, Kazuo Ishiguro's fastidious tale of emotional repression below stairs, The Remains of the Day. This, I learnt on the Today programme this morning - though the story's been out there for months - is the latest novel to be adapted for the musical stage (and Ishiguro's more than happy about it). The mind initially boggles at the prospect, but then musicals aren't what they were (more's the pity) in terms of either story or music. With modern 'serious' musicals (yes I mean you, Stephen 'no tunes' Sondheim) nothing happens, and you're likely to leave the theatre humming the programme notes rather than the dreary up-and-down-the-scale recitative that passes for song (naturally I speak from a position of near total ignorance here - c'est mon metier). So, as neither happy-ending storyline nor singalong tunes nor showstoppers are required, almost anything could be grist to the musical mill. Ishiguro's own The Unconsoled could make a terrific night out at the theatre, don't you think? And mining the back catalogue, there must be rich pickings in Samuel Beckett's novels, late Henry James, Proust of course, Virginia Woolf... Any thoughts?