Solaris @ Book-It Repertory Theatre

No little green men 👽

📸: Photo by Tony Beeman | Book-It

Previews June 14th – 16th
Runs June 17th – July 9th

Gus Menary may be leaving his post as Book-It Repertory Theatre’s artistic director, but he’s going out like a champ directing the company’s final show of the seasonSolaris, written by David Greig and based on the landmark 1961 science-fiction novel by Stanisław Lem.

Solaris follows a psychiatrist sent to examine a group of scientists who may have gone insane studying extraterrestrial life on the titular oceanic planet. What we find, however, aren’t little green men, but that the planet is a sentient being that engages with your memories and deepest, darkest secrets, and soon the psychiatrist finds themself face-to-face with their deceased spouse.

Solaris is one of my favorite novels,” said Menary. “Stanisław Lem, like many Polish sci-fi authors, is less concerned with the ‘science’ of science-fiction and more concerned with the moral implications of encountering alien life. There are no laser guns or antennae’d Martians saying, ‘Take me to your leader.’ Most of the technology in the play is oddly nostalgic: CDs, VHS tapes, and analog recorders.”

This production has big shoes to fill. Andrei Tarkovsky’s Russian-language adaptation from 1972 is considered one of the finest films ever crafted, and even Steven Soderbergh’s smaller-scale 2002 version (starring George Clooney, Natasha McElhone, and Viola Davis) is, in my estimation, underrated even among Soderbergh’s own diehard fans. But if anybody is going to do the novel justice—in narrative, performance, and style—it’s Book-It.

“David Greig’s adaptation hones in on the themes of the novel,” Menary continued, “focusing on the memories we carry with us, even to the furthest edges of the galaxy. It is about love. It is about loss. I’m incredibly excited for you to see it.”

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Marcus Gorman

Marcus Gorman is a Seattle-based playwright and film programmer. He once raised money for a synagogue by marathoning 15 Adam Sandler movies in one weekend. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @marcus_gorman.