Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Adapting Brighton Rock

I’ve been anxious to write something here about volunteering but will do this asap. My time has been totally taken up with an adaptation of Brighton Rock I’m writing - and I’ve promised it for this week-end.

It’s an adaption for a multi-media production that’s going on in Brighton at the end of a week’s celebrations for the centenary of Graham Greene’s birth.

Working on the adaption (I’m nearly there) has been truly fascinating. I feel, in an odd way, that I’m getting closer and closer to the original writer. I find myself in his thinking and this makes me very humble.

Working in such close detail, I come across occasional glitches, but more, I realise what an amazing work this is. Greene’s ability to enter into the mind of his tragic protagonist is remarkable - and he sets it all up so carefully. Pinkie’s ability to take over Rose’s will, is chilling.

But the thing I’m enjoying most is the tension between Catholicism (Pinkie and Rose) and ‘non-religion’ (Ida). I confess I find Ida a beautiful character - full of life and of love of life. She’s carefully set up in the book - and she is neither a blowsy, lower-life character, nor is she over 50. I hope to be bringing out this tension in the adaptation.

I hope too, to bring out the tragic nature of Pinkie’s background.

Brighton Rock is one of the great UK novels. I become obviously aware, as I work on it, that a book doesn’t last for years and years by accident. It’s a great book, a chilling book, and one it’s hard to put down.

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