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Title:Conversations with Shakespeare: three contemporary adaptations for the stage
Author(s):Boland-Taylor, Sara
Advisor(s):Hohman, Valleri J.
Department / Program:Theatre
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Erik Ehn
Raphael Parry
Dallas Shakespeare
Project X: Theatre
The Feast: an intimate Tempest
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Redmoon Theater
Jessica Thebus
Frank Maugeri
Felix Barrett
Maxine Doyle
Sleep No More
promenade performance
immersive theater
interactive theater
Macbeth adaptation
Hamlet adaptation
Tempest adaptation
As You Like It adaptation
Midsummer Night's Dream adaptation
Abstract:The study of adaptation, the practice of creating and producing literature, performance, music, and art that maintains a sustained engagement with an informing sourcetext or ‘original’ piece of literature, is a way of analyzing cultural, theoretical, and performance trends. This study takes up three distinctive contemporary approaches to Shakespearean adaptation and the way in which they reflect the cultural milieu of contemporary Shakespeare performance. Through first-hand observation, personal and previously published interviews with the artists, as well as performance reviews, this study constructs a literary and dramaturgical analysis of three contemporary adaptations in order to understand how these artists converse with Shakespeare, as well as how they invite audiences to engage with retellings of his plays. In addition to analyzing contemporary audience engagement with Shakespeare, this examination provides an analysis of the artists’ respective methodologies of adaptation. The ways in which the writers and artists discussed here collaborate with and interrogate Shakespeare is of particular interest, as well as how they invite audiences to respond to and engage with the plays. The three plays examined in this study, BOY by Erik Ehn, The Feast: an intimate Tempest by Jessica Thebus and Frank Maugeri, and Sleep No More by Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle, are thrown into relief with their Shakespearean sourcetexts to explore a question that is threefold: how are these adaptations interacting with Shakespeare? How are the adapters asking audiences to interact with these plays? Finally, if Shakespeare’s works and adaptations are, as Julie Sanders argues, a “cultural barometer for the historically contingent process of adaptation” (21), what can these three distinct styles of adaptation tell us about trends in Shakespearean performance within the context of contemporary American audiences?
Issue Date:2012-06-27
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Sara Boland-Taylor
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-06-28
Date Deposited:2012-05

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