Memo Pad: From Page to Stage... Looking for a Weekend Boost... Still All in the Family...

For the second time in recent memory, a New Yorker article is coming to life onstage.

The Carolina Herrera fall ad campaign

The Carolina Herrera fall ad campaign.

Photo By WWD Staff

FROM PAGE TO STAGE: For the second time in recent memory, a New Yorker article is coming to life onstage. Like Lawrence Wright's critically acclaimed "My Trip to Al-Qaeda" last March, New Yorker writer George Packer's play will concern contemporary events in the Middle East and be produced by The Culture Project. But unlike his colleague, Packer will not appear onstage as a monologuist. (An early childhood ambition to act, he said, was crushed by a discouraging correspondence with none other than Laurence Olivier.)

Packer, who has also written two novels but is best known for his Iraq coverage in The New Yorker, has adapted for the stage his March article "Betrayed," about Iraqi interpreters who aided the U.S. but were later forsaken by it. "I don't think too many magazine articles lend themselves to drama, but I felt this story did because the voices of the Iraqis in it are strong, the stories are quite intimate and they're not played out on a grand stage," Packer said. "They're ordinary people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances."

The dialogue is drawn from interviews conducted in multiple countries, and though renewed permission was obtained from the subjects, Packer said the play's characters ultimately became composites. "The play has a trajectory from the hope of the early days of the American invasion to the growing sense that these Iraqis were not going to be protected," he said. "Their disillusionment is a telling narrative." He said there was "a role for a journalist in the play," but declined to say more lest he spoil the plot. The Culture Project is expected to open the play in New York early next year. — Irin Carmon

LOOKING FOR A WEEKEND BOOST: So much for The Wall Street Journal's hopes of grabbing slews of fashion ads with the launch of a Weekend Edition. During last week's Dow Jones conference call, one analyst wondered if the edition has been a little lighter ad-wise in recent months — and it has. Rich Zannino, chief executive officer of Dow Jones, admitted the Saturday-Sunday edition was tracking "a bit behind plan," and added that "we're working hard on increasing the heft of and the numbers of ads." The edition has yet to reach profitability and is a few quarters behind its projection on this front, but L. Gordon Crovitz, publisher of The Journal and executive vice president at Dow Jones, told WWD there has been an increase in the number of ad pages it has received compared with one year ago.
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