So here’s a thought: what SF stories, novellas, even short novels, might work reasonably well (or very well) if you tried to adapt them to a stage performance? I guess what you would want is:
–limited number of settings
— limited number of characters
–relatively straightforward plot
–high in drama, probably, rather than slice-of-life, but psychological drama counts
Not that I am an expert in adapting anything to the stage, but offhand those qualities seem suitable. I’m going to assume that special effects are in practical reach for everything and not consider how difficult that sort of thing might be.
So, how about it?
The first author who springs to mind for me: John Varley. He wrote short novels (Millennium) and many shorter works as in, for example, Persistence of Vision. Plus his work would totally appeal to many modern audiences, especially in the themes that deal with gender. It would be a public service to bring his almost completely forgotten work back into the public eye.
The cover of Persistence shown on Amazon is not NEARLY as good as the wonderful cover on my copy, which is this one:
The artist was Jim Burns.
So, as I said, Varley is the very first writer who springs to mind here. But who knows, maybe a close reading with stage adaptations in mind would establish that in fact his stories aren’t as suitable as my first impression suggests. So what are some other works that might be good for this purpose?
Okay, how about Dawn by Octavia Butler? The basic cast is two people for a huge proportion of the story; the basic setting one locked room. Then we do expand out of that room and that limited cast, but not to a huge cast or a vast number of different settings, as I recall.
For that matter, Butler also wrote the amazing story “Bloodchild” that might also do very well. Strictly limited cast and setting, fantastic psychological story.
Here’s a classic that might work very well plus it would be a period piece: “Nerves” by Lester Del Rey. I think the number of characters is about a dozen, and as I remember, the whole thing takes place in a nuclear power plant. Tense, dramatic story.
How about Hellspark by Kagan? Bigger setting, I guess you’d need at least two sets. As with any locked-room mystery, which is what this basically is, there’s a limited cast, plus I expect you could dispense with some of the characters. Plus it’s such a neat story.
Although big in a sense, it seems to me that Weber’s On Basilisk Station might be a good choice. Set almost entirely on one ship, with a relatively small number of important named characters. I think it could be turned into a pretty neat play.
So those are the SF stories that I came up with — what are some you all can think of that might be especially well suited to a stage adaptation?