Mary Robinette Kowal is Bringing Alastair Reynolds’ Diamond Dogs to the Stage with Puppets

The House Theatre of Chicago has announced its first production for 2017: Diamond Dogs, adapted from Alastair Reynolds’ 2003 novella of the same name. Set in the hard-SF space opera Revelation Space universe (named for the first book in the series), Diamond Dogs is a take on the deadly-maze story, tracking a group of explorers into a mysterious alien structure called the Blood Spire. But that’s just half of it: The House Theatre is teaming up with SFF author and puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal to reimagine Reynolds’ text through the lens of puppetry. If you have ever wanted to hear the words “Blood Spire” and “puppet” in the same sentence, you’re in luck.

The description of the novella gives you more of a sense of the source material:

The planet Golgotha—supposedly lifeless—resides in a remote star system, far from those inhabited by human colonists. It is home to an enigmatic machinelike structure called the Blood Spire, which has already brutally and systematically claimed the lives of one starship crew that attempted to uncover its secrets. But nothing will deter Richard Swift from exploring this object of alien origin…

Theater company Althos Low (a pen name for Shanghai Low Theatricals), which adapted the play from Reynolds’ novella, has also adapted a number of other SFF properties for the stage, including George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles; future commissions and projects include adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. More about this latest production:

Diamond Dogs is a classic deadly-maze story set in Reynolds’s Revelation Space Universe. This world premiere production at The House Theatre of Chicago marks the first of Reynolds’ works to be adapted for another medium. We follow a future team of humans and transhumans as they investigate a mysterious alien tower, bent on brutally punishing all intruders. Each crusader will make dangerous, eye-popping sacrifices to get to the mysteries atop the spire. Blood will spill.

Artistic Director Nathan Allen teams up with The House’s most inventive designers to bring this unique universe to life. Body modification is the norm in the 26th century, and award-winning puppet designer Mary Robinette Kowal articulates and re-shapes our actors’ human forms into powerful mechanized players battling for their lives.

Presenting transhuman forms augmented by body modification through puppetry is a fascinating choice and brings to mind a recent production from New York City’s experimental theater company La MaMa: Phantasmagoria; or, Let Us Seek Death!, a retelling of Mary Shelley’s first inspiration to write Frankenstein, which similarly utilized puppetry to put the famous monster on the stage.

For a sense of Kowal’s prowess in puppetry, check out her Sesame Workshop audition video, in which she performed Lewis Carroll’s “The Jabberwocky” in about a billion different character voices.

Diamond Dogs will run from January 13-March 5. Find out more here!

via Broadway World

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