Extending the adaptations

I think that Aya having raised the issue of dance (via the Neumeier ballet of “D in V” (see particularly the Youtube excerpts from the Liceu and the Fenice productions, and Janie’s having brought in the question of the first (childhood?) experiences of adaptation bring us to several different levels of understanding the relation between original and derivative work. The obvious point that the Palmer production of the Britten is very much more “balletic” than the Visconti film, in which there’s hardly any movement at all, let alone dance, might very well lead us to consider whether certain works are crying out to be released from their inaugural media into something more “rich and strange” , and whether Schopenhauer’s formula for the “frozen music” of architecture is not a potentially productive way of accounting for particularly fruitful  cross-media states of adaptation (figure/ground etc.) E.g., could we “play” the Velasquez/Bacon sequence backwards, with Velasquez as a derivative,  secondary version of Bacon?  Cf.  the Berg violin concerto and the Bach cantata that Berg denied as a source? More puzzles.

One thought on “Extending the adaptations

  1. This idea that certain works are “crying out” to be released/revised/revisioned is particularly interesting when it comes to audience interpretation / adaptation. For instance, this Times article on Sondheim’s new version of ‘Company’ calls it a “major revision” of the original and particularly notes that the idea of Bobby as a gay man originated in the audience, not with the writers (or so they claim).

    “For years Mr. Sondheim and the musical’s book writer, George Furth, who died in 2008, batted back suggestions that Bobby was furtively intended to be a closeted gay man. But when Mr. Tiffany proposed actually making Bobby gay, Mr. Sondheim said in a telephone interview on Tuesday, the idea intrigued him. ‘It’s still a musical about commitment, but marriage is seen as something very different in 2013 than it was in 1970,’ Mr. Sondheim said.”
    However, this adaptation is not, according to Sondheim, ‘majorly revising’ the dialogue or lyrics; Sondheim says he wants to change “as little as possible since [the musical’s book writer, George Furth] isn’t around.” This would seem to hearken back to our discussion on Othello/Otello – what happens when the adaptation is visual rather than linguistic? [Could The Lion King be re-recorded using dialogue from Shakespeare? If so, would that change our view of it as adaptation?]


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