|A still from the best adaptation of They're Made Out Of Meat.|
It’s the story of two alien beings conversing about their discovery that the intelligent life on Earth, is made out of meat. Flesh. Us. This is evidently a disturbing and nonsensical proposition, and the beings decide to delete the records of their discovery to avoid further discomfort.
The story works because it’s punchy and brief, with the dialogue between the two protagonists flowing and exuding variously disbelief, bemusement and yet a very alien detachment to the hopes of mankind.
The set is a deep space galactic panorama projected on a screen--the Universe. Two lights moving like fireflies among the stars on the screen represent the the TWO VOICES
I wrote to O’Regan (now in New York) to ask about how his version differs from the text (the flourishes with costuming, the behaviors of the extras, the music, and his excisions from the original. He wrote back:
Regarding the excisions...we shot all the dialogue...but simply put...it dragged too long on screen no matter how clever the writing was on page. So I had to be tough on it. Hah...at one point I cut it down to a 2 minute version.
At the end of the lesson, students are grouped and told in the next lesson(s) they will be creating their own interpretation of the story.
Post processing in a computer might alter the pitch of voices or the hue of skin. Imagination is more important than mastery in execution, and students should at least present some evidence of their intent in development by the end of the lesson if the project will go on. Some students may choose a representation that does not lend itself to a recorded format, and has to be performed live. Some students may choose to re-write the story in a different genre or perspective, or to write a sequel.
The freeloader adaptation (2005) directed by Stephen O'Regan. In my view, the best adaptation of Bisson's story there is.
Another adaptation, using the whole story, but the alien kills a human (definitely not in the original!)
Yet another one, not very good.
Lastly, here's a link to an audio-only radio adaptation.