The practice of adaptation : turning fact and fiction into theatre

Balodis, Janis Maris (2012) The practice of adaptation : turning fact and fiction into theatre. PhD by Creative Works, Queensland University of Technology.


Adaptation of novels and other source texts into theatre has proven to be a recurring and popular form of writing through the ages. This study argues that as the theoretical discourse has moved on from outmoded notions of fidelity to original sources, the practice of adaptation is a method of re-invigorating theatre forms and inventing new ones. This practice-led research employed a tripartite methodology comprised of the writing of two play adaptations, participation by the author/researcher in their productions, and exegetical components focused on the development and deployment of analytical tools. These tools were derived from theoretical literature and a creative practice based on acquired professional artistry "learnt by doing" over a longstanding professional career as actor, director and writer.

A suite of analytical tools was developed through the three phases of the first project, the adaptation of Nick Earls’ novel Perfect Skin. The tools draw on Cardwell’s "comparative analysis", which encompasses close consideration of generic context, authorial context and medium-specific context; and on Stam’s "mechanics of narrative": order, duration, frequency, the narrator and point of view. A third analytical lens was developed from an awareness of the significance of the commissioning brief and ethical considerations and obligations to the source text and its author and audience.

The tripartite methodology provided an adaptation template that was applied to the writing and production of the second play Red Cap, which used factual and anecdotal sources. The second play’s exegesis (Chapter 10) analyses the effectiveness of the suite of analytical tools and the reception of the production in order to conclude the study with a workable model for use in the practice of adapting existing texts, both factual and fictional, for the theatre.

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ID Code: 60917
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Creative Works)
Supervisor: Wissler, Rodney C. & Makeham, Paul B.
Keywords: adaptation, novels, theatre
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Jun 2013 03:46
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015 04:24

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