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Adaptation in Contemporary Theatre

Frances Babbage

DOI: 10.5040/9781472530790

ISBN: 9781472530523

Why are so many theatre productions adaptations of one kind or another? Why do contemporary practitioners turn so frequently to non-dramatic texts for inspiration? This study explores the fascination of novels, short stories, children's books and autobiographies for theatre makers and examines what 'becomes' of literary texts when these are filtered into contemporary practice that includes physical theatre, multimedia performance, puppetry, immersive and site-specific performance and live art.

In Adaptation in Contemporary Theatre, Frances Babbage offers a series of fresh critical perspectives on the theory of adaptation in theatre-making, focusing on meditations of prose literature within contemporary performance. Individual chapters explore the significance and impact of books as physical objects within productions; the relationship between the dramatic adaptation and literary edition; storytelling on the page and in performance; literary space and theatrical space; and prose fiction reframed as 'found text' in contemporary theatre and live art. Case studies are drawn from internationally acclaimed companies including Complicite, Elevator Repair Service, Kneehigh, Forced Entertainment, Gob Squad, Teatro Kismet and Stan's Cafe.

Adaptation in Contemporary Theatre is a compelling and provocative resource for anyone interested in the potential and the challenges of using prose literature as material for new theatrical performance.

This is the book on adaptation we all have been waiting for. The process of adapting prose litterature for the stage is here painstakingly reconstructed and described with different examples in a precise, subtle and clear manner.

This means analyzing the resulting performance, observing how the source text has been understood, thus rereading it in new creative ways.

During this theoretical and dramaturgical tour de force, Frances Babbage also takes us for a long, but lively journey through the most diverse experimental adapting practices of contemporary theatre.

Any literature theoretician, any theatre artist, any serious spectator (all of them easily « lost in adaptation ») will want to discover what is at stake in theatre adaptation and its mise en scène. They now have this precious book at their disposal, ready for adoption.