Lyric life

Writer David Greig on Solaris

‘Writing the adaptation for Solaris has been as fascinating as exploring a newly discovered planet. I had no idea Stanisław Lem’s book was so funny, so moving, and such a fascinating philosophical disquisition on the eternal human problem of our relationship with ‘the other’ – whether that other is a person, a planet, a lover or a monster. The premise is simple: there are three scientists on a space station orbiting a great planet, a psychologist arrives to check on their wellbeing, and strange things start to happen – is the planet communicating with them? Or are they imagining it? Is it a god? Or a demon? Or a child?

Tarkovsky’s film is moving and atmospheric but discovering the novel was like uncovering a whole new layer – lively and witty and playful and a vision of the future that manages to be both entirely strange, yet as familiar as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Red Dwarf.

But this novel, and our imagining, is also a return to the future as it was conceived in the sixties – science fiction on stage is so often about tin foil, sliding doors and empty space whereas this is about mahogany bookcases, smoking cigarettes and spools of tape.

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and bring this play to London.’

Click here to find out more about Solaris.