This spring sees the world premiere of a dynamic new adaptation of Turn of the Screw embark on a UK tour. This thrilling production of Henry James’ much-loved classic ghost story is faithful to the original and captures its much-celebrated ambiguity.
Set in 1840, a young governess agrees to look after two orphans, a boy and a girl, in Bly, a seemingly idyllic country house. But, shortly after her arrival, she realises that they are not alone. There are others – the ghosts of Bly’s troubled past. The Governess will risk everything to keep the children safe, even if it means giving herself up to The Others. Years later, confronted by the past she is compelled to account for what actually happened to her and those
under her protection.
Combining a framing of a story within another and employing one of the first uses of the unreliable narrator, Henry James created a unique sense of uncertainty and ambiguity for the reader. Consequently Turn of the Screw has been much debated since its publication in 1898, having defined the genre of psychological horror. It has been the source for many adaptations on stage and screen including the film The Others.
Dermot McLaughlin comments, I was inspired by the success of the stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s much loved novel The Woman in Black and in researching the debt that Hill’s novel owes to Henry James I got lost in the intriguing world of Bly and The Governess’s psyche. I found Turn of the Screw a compelling story with fascinating female characters. The context of this troubled woman committing to paper her terrifying and inexplicable experiences so long after the event was intriguing and moving. The why’s and wherefores of that psychology seemed very interesting dramatic territory. The tension between the past and the struggle to resign oneself to past actions presents a recognisable emotional state for us all. Tim Luscombe has realised my idea brilliantly and I’m excited to be able to bring it to audiences on tour.
Turn of the Screw was conceived and commissioned by Dermot McLaughlin (a Stage One alumni and recipient of a Stage One Bursary for New Productions), adapted by Tim Luscombe (The Schuman Plan, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion) and will be directed by Daniel Buckroyd (artistic director of The Mercury Theatre, credits include Spamalot, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Clybourne Park, End of the Rainbow). Originating at The Mercury Theatre Colchester, the production will be co-produced by Dermot McLaughlin Productions, the Mercury
Theatre Colchester and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.