'Nation' on stage

A stage adaptation of novelist Terry Pratchett’s fantasy for young readers, “Nation,” will make its North American premiere this month in Tempe. It's courtesy The ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre MainStage Season in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

[Tim Trumble]

If you’ve got a teen reader in the house, he or she may be familiar with the characters in a play opening this weekend at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Terry Pratchett’s fantasy for youth, “Nation,” will have its North American stage premiere April 4-13 at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse on campus.

Based on the novel, “Nation” takes place in a parallel world in the 1860s. Two teenagers are thrown together on a South Pacific island after a tsunami strikes, destroying the boy’s village and leaving the girl shipwrecked thousands of miles from home. Together, they come of age as they discard old doctrines to forge a new society.

“‘Nation’ is a play about questions,” says Megan Weaver, who directs the ASU MainStage production. “Two young people from very different worlds, who do not speak the same language, realize how little they know about themselves as well as each other. Their journey is one of the most honest, fragile and destabilizing human stories I have ever directed”

Weaver tells the story through large-scale puppetry, live drums, dance, shadow and movement — embodied by a 20-member ensemble. Written by Mark Ravenhill, the production also pairs the media design talents of Jacob Pinholster and Boyd Branch.

Pratchett is the author of the global bestselling “Discworld” fantasy series. His more than 50 novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, with millions of fans spawning a cottage industry of related conventions, memorabilia and merchandise. “Nation” was first published in the U.K. in 2008.

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