A disturbing chapter in Douglas Adams’ life (1952-2001) is set to be dramatized 40-years on from his seminal work, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Penned by published author and B.B.C. Radio 4 scriptwriter Mark Griffiths, We Apologise for the Inconvenience chronicles the writer’s block that saw Adams locked into a hotel room by his editor until he finished his fourth book (eventually entitled So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish).
And Griffiths’ one-act play captures perfectly the zany dialogue and kind of scrapes Adams’ characters often faced in the beloved Hitchhiker’s books â€“ as it has the author pitting his wits against a rubber duck!
“Adams was famed for being scatter-brained and notoriously and infuriatingly late with his manuscripts” says Mark, “In fact he once famously joked that he loved the whooshing sound deadlines made when they went by! But this was a difficult time in his life. Hollywood had just refused Hitchhiker’s, leaving Adams to reflect sometimes bitterly on what he had achieved and where he should go next. But being the writer and serial bather he was, I thought that his muse ought to be a rubber duck!”
Rising Merseyside star Rachel Howard is billed with bringing Adams’ feathered friend to life (see attached biographies). The play is also directed by a Merseysider, Emma Bird, who won the Best Director Award at the Liverpool Page to Stage festival in 2016. Mancunian based Pete Gibson (who is used to portraying a writer having just played Alan Bennett in a major stage comedy) is challenged with delivering Douglas.
For producer Gareth Kavanagh of Room 5064 Productions, premiering the play in the two North West cities is a first step in closing what he calls, “a black hole between two hot-beds of independent art.”
He said, “Manchester has long had a dynamic fringe theatre scene and Liverpool is legendary for its music and comedy. But both have become a bit insular. We want people in Manchester to see and work with, the rich talent we have already encountered in just casting this play in Liverpool â€“ and vice-versa. In fact, Room 5064 would like to put all Northern talent on a national platform, so that people stop believing that creative ability ends at the Watford Gap.”
Room 5064 is also hoping that houses are swelled by more than just the traditional fringe theatre audience and believes their Adams tale will be a stellar hit with science fiction fans in particular.
Kavanagh, who also edits cult Doctor Who fanzine Vworp Vworp added, “Adams was not just the author of Hitchhiker’s which did so much to influence programmes like Red Dwarf. His scripts for Doctor Who such as Pirate Planet and of course the now legendary Shada stand up against the finest stories ever told about the Time Lord. His powerful body of work deserves to be remembered.”
We Apologise for the Inconvenience begins its journey through time and space, at:
The 81 Renshaw Street Theatre
81 Renshaw Street
Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd November (7 15pm)
Before moving to Manchester’s
Three Minute Theatre
35-39 Oldham St
Saturday November 25th (7 30pm)
Tickets are available from https://www.fatsoma.com/room-5064-productions