Two Joyce Carol Oates-related events will be presented at The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) in August:
The first is a play based on JCO’s novel Zombie. The play is adapted and performed by Bill Connington, who notes that “by the end of the play … you might feel some empathy for a man who has done horrible things. Because he is a human being. Even though the play is distressing, ultimately it is humanistic. And very much worthwhile doing.”
JCO’s “Zombie” was originally a short story published in the New Yorker, of all places. (It was, in fact, her first story ever in the New Yorker, which had, according to Invisible Writer, systematically rejected her stories for years—many of which went on to win major awards). JCO later expanded the piece, publishing it as a novel which won the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel. JCO has written a number of other stories of serial killers, notably The Triumph of the Spider Monkey (which was also adaped as a play), and The Rise of Life on Earth.
The second JCO-related piece at FringeNYC is an adaptation of JCO’s novella “The Corn Maiden,” about “three sullen Westchester teen girls [who] kidnap their 11-year-old classmate to be the subject of their own version of the Onigara Indian Corn Maiden ritual.” The story was first published in Transgressions, a collection of original novellas edited by Ed McBain.
I’m having a hard time imagining Zombie as a play. However, it does sound intriguing.
I used to write to The New Yorker and tell them I would never read them again until they published JCO. And that I really found their little John Updike a great bore and that he even embarrassed me to read him. Oates and Updike became friends. Updike even learned to curse for us. I still cant bear the New Yorker’s fiction.