Friday, March 4, 2011

A Devil at Noon

There's a play currently showing at Actors Theatre of Louisville entitled A Devil At Noon, ostensibly thinly based on the life of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. As as longtime student of PKD's work, I was intrigued - until I read the review at Theatre Louisville.

It sounds positively dreadful, and I guess it shouldn't surprise me at all since I tend to loathe just about everything that comes from the Humana Festival of New American Plays. And it's a shame, too, because someone needs to bring a real play - you know, with an actual plot and an actual set? - about the real Philip K. Dick. Kentuckians gotta know.

Even without assessing his writing, he's a fascinating character all by himself: in 1974 he began experiencing hallucinatory visions, in which he allegedly re-experienced past lives in Biblical times, and began receiving telepathic information from a cosmic entity known as VALIS. He struggled to deal with these unsettling experiences until his death in 1982.

Was he crazy? Perhaps, perhaps not; but you can't argue with success - many of PKD's works have been turned into blockbuster Hollywood films. There's Blade Runner with Harrison Ford and Sean Young (see image above), Next with Nicholas Cage, Minority Report with Tom Cruise (see image below), Screamers with Peter Weller, A Scanner Darkly with Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr., and Total Recall with Arnold Schwartzenegger, among others.

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