The Powerbook Arrives at National Theatre

News   The Powerbook Arrives at National Theatre

Jeanette Winterson's novel The Powerbook has been adapted into a 90-minute drama for the stage by Deborah Warner and actress Fiona Shaw (Harry's aunt in the "Harry Potter" movie) in a radical new play that has just opened in the adapted Lyttleton Theatre space.

The Powerbook also co-stars Saffron Burrows (best known for her film roles in "Miss Julie" and "Electra"), and press speculation about the intensity of the relationship between Miss Burrows and Miss Shaw has fueled interest in the play. Given that The Powerbook is about blurring the lines between fiction and drama and uses the latest in modern technology — e-mail is at the center of the drama as the "book" is an electronic one, and the play's credits include a video designer — the blurring between on- and off-stage relationships (thanks to, and in, the press) and the potential that the one has to influence the other, is particularly appropriate.

The idea behind The Powerbook is that through the magic of cyber-space you can be transformed into anyone you want to be for an evening. An e-mail can offer perfect freedom. This echoes the transforming and liberating power of theatre as well as, more prosaically, reflecting the tendency for people to 'recreate' themselves when in internet chat rooms. Unlike her character in "Harry Potter," where she is terrified of nephew Harry's magic, Miss Shaw plays someone whose waving of a cyber wand can fulfill people's wishes, as if by magic.

—By Paul Webb Theatrenow