Sunday, February 11, 2018
The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.42: Mountains of Madness
Mountains of Madness was playing earlier this evening as part of the final night of the London Lovecraft Festival, and I have to say this was a terrific staging of Lovecraft’s epic tale of Antarctic horror.
In 50 minutes or so, the cast of three (two of whom also appeared in the festival’s other highlight, The Thing on the Doorstep: Asenath’s Tale), with minimal props, managed to evoke an uneasy sense of boreal otherworldiness on a stage the size of a very small living room. Needless to say, the cast avoided the pitfall of trying to realise giant albino penguins, Elder Things, and shoggoths in visible form - indeed, this was more akin to the kind of dramatised storytelling which I mentioned yesterday as best suiting Lovecraftian theatre. To this end, the script incorporated portions of the text of At the Mountains of Madness which, for me highlighs an important issue: Lovecraft’s writng is often about the production of a distinct mood and atmosphere, as well as the distillation of a particular philosophical viewpoint through a very specific use of language - such that focusing on narrative and plot alone when translating it into a visual medium often fails to effectively represent the fundamental thematic essence of his work.
In any case, Mountains of Madness was very good, and worth catching if you have the opportunity.