- Published on Monday, May 07 2012
- Written by Kate Ferguson
Even if you’ve never seen The Exorcist, you’re probably familiar with the psychological horror story and its head-spinning moments. Based on alleged accounts of a real exorcism case, the story follows a young girl in all her demonic possession, her mother’s desperation, and reliance on a couple priests to work everything out. The story was originally a book, which was turned into a film, and now, 39 years after the film release, The Exorcist is hitting The Geffen in Los Angeles this summer as a stage play.
The stage adaptation will be written by John Pielmeier and will be based on the original 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty. They will be pulling out more of the deeply psychological aspects from the book and rely less on the theatrics that were emphasized in the movie, which is a logical choice considering that the girl has some extreme film moments, such as forcefully vomiting green stuff everywhere and spinning her head 360 degrees... Might be harder to authentically replicate live. Another change is that the demon voice that speaks through the child will appear in the form of an actual actor on stage, as opposed to unseen and booming in from the wings. Fun fact: the demon is actually named Pazuzu, but this is never mentioned in the film, as he lies claiming to be the actual Devil.
Tony Award-winner John Doyle, who worked on the dramatic Broadway production of Sweeney Todd, will direct the play. The physical set is supposedly mostly finished and will present a “very Catholic” theme. Teller (of Penn & Teller) will be helping with the design and creation of the special effects, and British composer Sir John Tavener will provide the music.
As far as casting goes, they have reportedly narrowed down a few actresses to play the young girl character of Regan MacNeil, but don’t expect it to be played by a real child this time. Adult but child-like seems their chosen route for someone who may be swearing and contorting for a few months of performances on stage.
Those involved are hopeful that the play will end up touring after the summer stint in Los Angeles. Broadway-bound?? The production’s artistic director, Randall Arney, says about the tale: “It is ultimately an amazingly complex story about faith, the loss of faith, love, and redemption.”
Let’s hope the play version doesn’t excite its viewers to the point of fainting and hysterics that the film in theaters did!
Catch The Exorcist July 3 through August 12 at The Geffen Los Angeles. Tickets are on sale now!
- Kate Ferguson, YH Staff