Little Brother Director’s Note
Here’s the unedited version of the Little Brother director’s note that will appear in the program. Great thoughts from Josh about the novel and it’s eerie parallel with current events.
I first read Cory Doctorow’s novel Little Brother in 2009. I loved it, and it wasn’t long before I started thinking about turning it into a play. It’s got all kinds of things I like to put on stage: young people fighting back against a corrupt system, a pinch of science fiction, a sweet yet strikingly honest teenage romance. There aren’t many stories that hit so many of my buttons all at once. I emailed Cory Doctorow that June, and he replied twelve minutes later, cc’ing his agent and saying he was open to the idea.
I spent the next several months banging out a first draft, then got the chance to hear it aloud at a couple of staged readings with SF Playhouse. That led to more rewrites, and eventually I brought the script to Brian Katz and he agreed to produce it with Custom Made.
In the year since then, I’ve continued working on the script even as events in the real world caught up with and threatened to move past what happens in the story. Neither the Arab Spring nor Occupy Wall Street are predicted in Little Brother, but it is impossible to look at Little Brother now without thinking about both of them. It has been said that Cory Doctorow predicts the present. When people use technology to come together in solidarity against vastly more powerful forces, and when our president signs a bill legalizing the indefinite detention without trial of American citizens, the kind of present that Cory Doctorow predicts in Little Brother looks more and more like right now.
I don’t know how many Cory Doctorow fans are also small theatre enthusiasts — that Venn Diagram might just be me — but I hope this production will resonate with both the fans and the folks who have never heard of Cory Doctorow. I hope the fans will forgive me for the changes I’ve made to the story. I made some pretty big changes, not because I think I know better than Cory — I’m at least as big a fan as you are — but because a play and a novel are different beasts. Cory clearly believes in remixing and retelling, and that’s exactly what this is.
I love this story. I love that it’s both epic and detailed, both serious and funny, both earnest and subversive. Working with a talented group of people to bring Little Brother to life has been tremendously fulfilling. I can’t think of any story I’d rather tell. Enjoy.