It’s quite too horrible.
For sheer terror?
For dreadful – dreadfulness! For general uncanny ugliness and horror and pain.
Oh, how delicious!
Henry James’s famous ghost story Turn of the Screw has been rendered fresh and urgent in Tim Luscombe’s new stage adaptation for four actors.
1840. A young governess is sent to look after two orphaned children in Bly, an idyllic country house. But shortly after her arrival, she realises that she and the children are not alone when she’s startled by the spectre of a strange man – a figure both frightening and alluring. The ghostly intruder is merely the harbinger of others – ex-inhabitants who’ve returned to haunt the place and threaten the governess’s safety and that of her two young charges. Determined to prove her value, the governess will risk everything to keep the children safe, even if it means giving herself up to…The Others.
This adaptation is faithful to James’ much-loved classic, retaining the ambiguity and letting the audience draw their own conclusions about the events in Bly and what actually happened to the governess and the innocents under her protection.
I first had a close look at Heny James' The Turn of the Screw a couple of years ago when I had the thought that The Woman in Black play consigns the only female to a mute walk on role. Clearly James' story is older and also an inspiration Susan Hill's contemporary classic (that has been an immense success) I believe Turn of the Screw is a better story and features very strong female roles. What began as an idea and a cheeky one at that - reversing the gender balance of The Woman in Black with a mute male became a very interesting prospect for a new adaptation for the commercial theatre.
There have been many adaptions of this book, in various forms; theatre, film, opera and I think dance. The challenge for adaptors is what makes James' novel so compelling -its ambiguity. Many ghost stories are simple in their drama -there are ghosts, everyone knows or suspects so and someone experiences them. In James' novella The Governess is the only character who apparently has seen the ghosts of the previous Governess and Peter Quint...so is she mad? Possessed? or..mentally ill? A radical idea for the times when the book was written...Sigmund Freud was published at the time of writing and James' was interested in his work.
Using a paired back theatrical story-telling style and springing from The Governess's recollections of the terrible events at Bly thirty years prior, this adaptation will shock, intrigue and allow the audience to form their own opinion about The Governess's actions.
The final script of Turn of the Screw is now available. I have been working on an idea for a fresh adaptation of this best of all classic ghost stories for a couple of years. Tim Luscombe came on board earlier this year and has produced a fantastic script.
A scary ghost story, a psychological drama and a very commercial proposition I am working toward a production at the end of 2017.
Please get in touch if you would like to read the script or would like to be part of this project. An investment pack will be available early next year.