Saul Bellow’s 1953 masterpiece, The Adventures of Augie March, launched his reputation as a novelist and established the future Nobel Laureate’s literary renown. In 2015, Court Theatre commissioned the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright David Auburn, AB ‘91, to adapt Augie March for the stage. This exhibit showcases treasures from the Special Collections Research Center’s Saul Bellow Papers in juxtaposition with materials generated by theatre artists working toward Court’s May 2019 world premiere. On display are early handwritten drafts of Bellow’s novel; the original drafts of David Auburn’s stage adaptation; Charles Newell’s artistic notes and plans for building the world of the play; costume designer Sally Dolembo’s sketches; the mind-bending design work of shadow puppetry collective Manual Cinema; and John Culbert’s minimalist, non-literal design for a set capable of evoking disparate places. The exhibition invites visitors to step into the world of Augie March—as Bellow imagined it, Auburn adapted it, and Newell envisioned it on stage.
The Adaptations of Augie March exhibit is open through August 30, 2019 at the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery at the University of Chicago Library, 1100 E. 57th Street.