The Outsider by Albert Camus, adapted by John Retallack from a translation by Sandra Smith

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Drama on 3 on BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3, 3 November 2013
In an introductory talk to this Drama on 3, director John Retallack pointed out that The Outsider probably works best on radio.  From the evidence of this production, his claim was surely vindicated.
Constructed as a first-person narrative told by Meursault (Alex Lanipekun), this production came across as both a physical and a mental odyssey, as he tried to come to terms with a hostile world.  He encountered several characters of both sexes, including an apparently attractive woman Marie (Priyanga Burford), while undergoing the ordeal of trial by jury.  However this was not an odyssey in Homeric terms, leading to spiritual or moral growth; on the contrary Retallack suggested that Meursault was simply trying to cope with a hostile world over which human beings had little or no control.  To an extent this version of The Outsider could be seen as a proto-Absurd Drama, whose tone was very reminiscent of the work of Ionesco, for instance.
In sonic terms, Retallack deliberately maximized certain effects - the howling of a dog, the slamming of a door. the use of echoes for courtroom scenes - to emphasize the threats posed to human beings in this world.  Meursault seemed insignificant, especially in view of the fact that he had had recently lost his mother (the source of his mental stability).
At the end of the production, Meursault had completed his journey, but left us wondering exactly what he had achieved - if anything.  Very unsettling, yet compelling radio.