Trainspotting gets American make-over in new stage play

Sep 20, 2012

Infamous heroin addicts Renton and Sickboy relocate from Edinburgh to Kansas City, Missouri

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IRVINE WELSH’S cult novel Trainspotting has been adapted for a US stage play, in which the infamous Scottish characters will be transformed into Americans.

Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie and Spud are being relocated from Edinburgh to Kansas City, Missouri for Trainspotting USA, which will premiere at Chicago's Theatre Wit next month.

Welsh’s novel, first published in 1993, follows the lives of a group of heroin addicts. It was adapted into a popular film by Danny Boyle in 1996 (pictured above). It was also adapted for the stage by Harry Gibson and won the Sunday Times award for best new play in 1995.

Welsh, who moved to Chicago in 2010, admits there have been some difficulties transferring the story to an American setting, reports the BBC. "Some characters like Renton and Sick Boy worked very well. Spud also went well," said the author. But Begbie, played by Robert Carlyle in the film, was a “difficult one”.

“I think that the whole nature and culture of the way violence is expressed is very different in Scotland than in America. American psychopaths are very quiet, and for a Scottish psychopath it's difficult to make [that transition]."
The play's script features additional new material written by Welsh. "We tried to mould it to the culture's landscape," he explained. "They go down to Mexico and all that, have a drug deal down there with prescription drugs. To me it feels very American."

The Chicago Tribune has called it "one of the most interesting fall commercial projects in Chicago". But The Inquisitr says it will have to “go a long way” to outdo Trainspotting the film.

"Of course, this will no doubt be met with tremendous hostility by British fans of the seminal 1996 movie," says The Inquisitr. "It seems like Welsh, who moved to the United States two years ago, has become inspired by his surroundings and can't quite shake the loveable working- class heroin addicts from his mind."

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