Brief Adaptations Of Stunning Nonfiction

I was getting coffee this morning in Long Island City’s Sweetleaf when I noticed a flyer for the nearby theater and performance space The Chocolate Factory. Flipping it over, my eyes immediately went to one specific item on the schedule: a theatrical adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, running now through early April. Here’s an excerpt from the description:

Drawing exclusively from audio recordings of David Foster Wallace (readings he gave of his short fiction, essays, and an extensive interview he did for German television), director Daniel Fish and an ensemble of 5 actors seek to re-create the amazing presence Wallace brought to everything he wrote about, be it professional tennis, a boy’s thirteenth birthday, or America’s obsession with entertainment.

I’ll be curious to see what else happens in terms of Wallace’s work being adapted, whether for the stage or the screen. Jon Krasinski’s adaptation of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men aside, much of Wallace’s fiction pretty much cries out for its own annex to Jon Reiss’s recent list of novels that should never be adapted for film. (Oddly, though, I could envision a compelling adaptation of The Pale King — but it would be upwards of four hours long.) His nonfiction seems more ripe to be translated into other media, and the less-than-straightforward approach Fish and company seem to be taking looks promising.

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