May 3, 2018
2666, streaming soon from a stage to a screen near you
by Peter Clark
A couple years ago, we reported on the Chicago debut of a stage adaptation of Last Interview series participant Roberto Bolaño’s masterwork, 2666. With over 900 pages of text and a story that crosses continents, generations, and conventions, the project was one of the most ambitious ever envisioned.
Thanks to a generous gift from better-than-us lottery winner Roy Cockrum, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre produced the five-hour-plus performance, which included fifteen actors playing eighty characters, complex set design, and a movie-within-the-play technological feat.
One of the important plot points of 2666 is the epidemic of women’s mysterious deaths in a fictional town on the Mexico-US border, modeled after the very real Juárez femicides of the late nineties. The city subsequently became a center of brutal gang violence from 2008 to 2012, before once again erupting last January, with twenty-five homicides reported in two days.
In short, Bolaño’s work has not lost relevance since the book’s posthumous publication in 2004.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the Roy Cockrum Foundation, the project’s initial funder, recently released the full show as streaming video on Vimeo. 2666 was broken into three parts for its print publication, and the theatrical adaptation comes in four, but the story remains as sprawling and fascinating as ever.
You can catch part one below. For the whole production, click here and watch on Vimeo.
Peter Clark is a former Melville House sales manager.