Adaptation and Nation

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Project leader: Dr Catherine Rees

Adaptation and Nation: Theatrical Contexts for Contemporary English and Irish Drama is part of the Adaptation in Theatre and Performance series published by Palgrave. The volume examines the cultural, social, and political dynamics in adapting a classical text from one nation into a piece of contemporary performance in another.

Taking classic adaptation theory, it analyses the language used in assessing the ‘effectiveness’ of adaptations, and it also considers whether the terms commonly purposed during this process are effective in themselves. The volume therefore takes terminology such as ‘adaptation’, ‘intertextuality’, ‘translation’ and ‘reproduction’, and considers how these concepts can be applied in exploring theatrical texts that seek to use adaptation to unearth synergies and resonances between classical settings and contemporary events.

It does so through a national lens, seeking to understand both the original content of the early work, and the contemporary setting of the new text. In so doing, the book explores significant events of twentieth century Britain and Ireland, such as the historic Labour victory of 1945, Royal scandals of the 1990s, and the economic and cultural rejuvenation in Ireland known as the Celtic Tiger. Through examination of five contemporary playwrights, the volume focuses on an adaptation process that seeks to layer traditional stories and histories with more contemporary events, creating a palimpsest of theatrical voices, reaching back to classical Athens and forward to twenty-first century British and Irish cultures and landscapes.