“The Hunger Games” is coming to a stage (probably not) near you

Cassie Maack

“The Hunger Games” recently announced plans to bring the wildly successful franchise to the Wembley Stadium in London in a new stage rendition of the ever-popular teen series.

Lionsgate has joined Dutch media company Imagine Nation and U.S. based Triangular Entertainment to create this new theatrical production.

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The Hunger Games (film)
The Hunger Games (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Any assumptions about this show may be premature, but investment in this project makes me question how far they will be able to stretch the magic of theatre.

The first issue is the script. The stage play is likely to differ from the screenplay for logistical reasons. The screenplay managed to stay true to the book enough to earn billions of dollars, and following both the novel and the screenplay will be no easy feat.

They have an opportunity to follow new theatre trends as far as the venue. They can place this production in a space much more complex than a traditional proscenium theatre. The movement within the games themselves has potential to utilize different spaces or even become interactive.

I am unsure about what parts of which movies will be done, but my hope is that they will leave possible the amazing moments for costume. I need the flaming dress and the spinning mockingjay in my life. It will be like Cinderella’s miraculous change in the recent Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, except that Katniss Everdeen will come out with wings.

Cover of "The Hunger Games"
Cover of The Hunger Games

It will be a challenge to bring elements from this futuristic world to the stage and make them believable rather than cheesy. The ‘Gamemaker’ of the technical aspect of this production has their work cut out for them. Whether it be the mockingjays or the mutant dogs, bringing these creatures to life in a live setting requires a different set of skills than the ones who used CGI to bring them to a screen. Challenges will likely also arise when replicating the advanced technology of Panem, but, if done well, could create a great spectacle and an immersive performance.

Nothing helps the magic of theatre more than the magic of money, and with the support of these three major companies, the tools and expertise needed won’t be far out of reach.

The one thing I am relieved to have not heard (yet) is that this is a musical. I imagine the music would be a crossover between the beauty, pain and depression that is “Les Miserables, and the futuristic weirdness that is Repo! The Genetic Opera.” I am terrified about whatever middle ground there is between those two productions. “The Hunger Games” is too bizarre (in a depressing way) to risk adding songs beyond what is sung to Rue.

I did not expect an investment in this production to come so early in its career, considering movie number three is coming to theatres on Friday, but their attempt to catch the franchise at the height of its popularity may make such an investment worth wile, and I am anxious to see the outcome.

Collegian A&E Writer Cassie Maack can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @maackcl.