Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels Are Being Adapted as a Play


Elena Ferrante, a real live person who very clearly (as she used a pen name, refused to talk to journalists in person, and mentioned that if she was ever discovered, she might cease writing) did not want her real live identity revealed, has, beyond whatever her much disputed (and disputed over whether it should be disputed) identity may be, written a series of novels that’ve captivated millions of people worldwide. On a day when everyone’s intent on debating who she is and whether or not it should matter, some other news about her work has quietly snuck by: her Neapolitan Novels (the series that comprises My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child) are being adapted as a play.

The New York Times notes that just a day following NYRB’s revelation of the author’s possible identity, the Rose Theatre Kingston (which opened in 2008) announced it’d be putting up the adaptation — which will encompass all four novels, though it takes its name, My Brilliant Friend, from the first in the series — beginning February 25. If that sounds like far too much material to fit effectively into a single play, the performance will be split into two parts, which can either be viewed within one day or separately.

Playwright April de Angelis (who also wrote a version of Wuthering Heights for the stage back in 2008) is penning the theatrical adaptation, and it’ll be directed by Melly Still. Tickets are available on the Rose Theatre Theatre Kingston’s website.