The play that was Thursday.Posted: February 13, 2012
Jay asked me to read The Man Who Was Thursday to see if I’d be interested in adapting it for the stage. I finally got to it on my downtime in gusty Monteverde. I absolutely loved it…right up to the point when it went all Christian Allegory with an anticlimactic thud. (The character “Sunday” getting in a hot air balloon and throwing down bits of paper with cryptic writing? Mehhhh.)
This is an odd reaction from me—I was raised Catholic and feel at home in its traditions, and I love The Chronicles of Narnia—so why would I object to Christian allegory? Maybe because I had been hoping it would actually be an exploration of the nature of anarchy, like it seemed to be at first; I don’t know much about anarchy and tend to pooh-pooh it, and want to be better educated. So for it to derail and swoop into the familiar bosom of Christianity really annoyed me.
So I proposed to Jay that instead of writing a conventional adaptation, I’d write a play about the experience of reading it. I’d call it The Play That Is The Book That Was The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton by Monica Byrne. (Or just Thursday for short.) I’m thinking that it’ll begin with me in an armchair and a tweed coat, by a fireplace, smoking a pipe, acting surprised when the lights come up. And that all the characters are women who nevertheless protest that they are men, a la Ursula‘s short story “Intracom.”
I got the green light. Queue the Charlie Kaufman movies…!