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What is Adaptation for Stage Performance?
Adaptation for Stage Performance in theatre and performance language simply means the revision and editing a novel or other written work into a play that can be performed on stage. The revision and editing of the text could also involve the interpretation of the written work according to the adapter’s view or perspective. This could also involve additions or subtractions from the original work along with making it more suitable for visualisation on stage. For instance, a play that has been adapted for stage performance would, while preserving its essence, be a visual representation of the novel. The stage, with all its limitations of space, time and action, is a much smaller canvas for the adapter to fit in the almost limitless canvas of the written text.
Brad Mills says, “Adaptation for the stage implies taking a source material, combing it for what [affects] you … personally and presenting it for an audience, your reactions included”. This means that the adaptation for stage performance will not always be completely faithful to the original writing but includes the meanings and responses of the adapter to the subject, theme and characters of the original work.
Linda Hutcheon (2006) in her book A Theory of Adaptation suggests that adaptation for stage performance is a derivation although it is not derivative and that the stage script then becomes a second but not secondary version of the original In this way Hutcheon compares adaptation for stage performance to a palimpsest, which is a manuscript that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely erased and often legible.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of adaptation for stage performance?
One of the foremost advantages of adaptation for stage performance is the ready availability of the plot which at the same time is also a disadvantage as it limits the script to the theme. The feelings and ideas evoked by the original in the adapter can be given visual representations through the stage performance, although this representation may not be completely true to the original. The performance would be seen widely and may even have a wider audience than the original written work. Moreover, when the script is performed, the audience react to the stage production of the original in their own ways and this brings in more perspectives of the written as well as the performed work. Some say that the response of the reader to the written work is his own and unique and the reader may thus have a different perspective of the original from that of the adapter.
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