A Los Angeles writer and actor is staging a play in L.A. based solely on lyrics by Radiohead, and the band has grudgingly given its approval. Titled the "Untitled Radiohead Project" by author Dean Testerman, the production is running Thursdays through Saturdays at the tiny, 70-seat Hollywood Court Theatre through December 5. Testerman is expected to take the production on the road after the L.A. run, first in North America, then to the U.K. and Europe.
The script, plot and characters are totally written from lyrics by singer/writer Thom Yorke from the band's three albums and B-sides, as well as some liner notes also written by Yorke. The lead character's name is Thom.
Testerman told the "Los Angeles Times" that he looked at the production as being "the same as adapting Ibsen or someone."
The band and their handlers, however, do not agree. Radiohead issued a statement that said that they hadn't known about the play until it opened and began receiving reviews,
and that neither Radiohead nor their publisher, Warner Chappell, were approached for permission to use the lyrics.
The statement read that they were "upset that no attempt had been made to ask for, or obtain permission from themselves or their publisher, something that would have been at least courteous."
But they added that they didn't want to force the show to close as long as the proceeds were to go to charity. The profits are being donated to a collective to support broke and starving actors.
For his part, Testerman, who also works part time as a journalist, told the "L.A. Times" that he had interviewed Yorke two years previously and told him the work was in progress at that time. He says he didn't approach the band after that point because he didn't want to look like he was seeking to exploit them for publicity.
General Counsel for Warner Chappell, Don Biederman, declined to say whether they were supporting Radiohead's stand on the issue -- he referred
MTV News back to the band's management in England -- but he added, "The compositions are their property and they have the right to deal with them as they chose."