Book – Elling
Author – Simon Bent
Year – 2007
Genre – Play
Lent to me by James Sheppard
As I slightly tardily roll in to the three quarter mark of my challenge, it is another play that I have set my sights upon. I start rehearsals tonight for Of Mice And Men in which I have been cast as Lennie, and so a play lent to me by James, a theatre designer playing my opposite number of George, seemed quite appropriate.
Based upon an Oscar nominated film, which in turn was based upon a novel, Elling tells the story of two Norweigan men who are set up in a house of their own in Oslo having just left an asylum. The play follows their attempts to readjust to normal society and meet new people. After a start where I was fully expecting some GCSE like shenannigans involving one character being ‘the inner subconcious voice of the other’ or somesuch nonsense, it actually evolved into a clever little play with some very nice interactions, and left its quota of theatrical cliches at a couple of split scene flashbacks which look to fit very well indeed.
The massive problem with Elling however, is that it is very much a play to be watched and not to be read. The rapidfire dialogue and merging of places in the text makes reading it very confusing, and a not always entirely pleasent experience. However in looking beyond that, it strikes me as a play that would work beautifully on stage – indeed a Broadway version starring Brendon Frazer is currently rumoured – and all in all, rather worthwhile reading.