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dc.contributor.advisorTribble, Evelyn
dc.contributor.advisorYoung, Stuart
dc.contributor.authorStone, Alison Kempthorne
dc.identifier.citationStone, A. K. (2016). Screening the Stage: Film Adaptations of Shakespeare that Originate on Stage 1995-2015 (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis thesis re-examines the relationship between stage and screen in film adaptations of Shakespeare. The dynamic field of Shakespeare on screen has paid relatively little critical attention to the specific antecedent stage productions that inform the film adaptations in this study as adapted texts. This study questions some of the assumptions in adaptation scholarship about the primacy of the cinematic in film adaptations of Shakespeare and, conversely, some assumptions about the power of co-presence in creating a sense of liveness in theatrical performance. The two mediums of film and theatre inflect each other as these films reproduce, deny, work with, or substitute for their theatrical origins through the process of adaptation. The structure of this project tells a story of increasing proximity to the stage, that is, from films that I term ‘cinematic’ to ‘archival’ films that seek to preserve a specific stage production, and finally to the emerging intermedial form of livecasting that broadcasts live theatrical performance to cinemas. The cinematic films, Richard Loncraine’s Richard III (1995) [Richard Eyre’s National Theatre Richard III (1990)] and Ralph Fiennes’s Coriolanus (2011) [Jonathan Kent’s Almeida Theatre Coriolanus (2000)], apparently leave the stage behind to engage with all the affordances of film. The two films I term archival, Gregory Doran’s Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) Hamlet (2009) [Doran’s RSC Hamlet (2008)] and Rupert Goold’s Macbeth (2010) [Goold’s Minerva Theatre Macbeth (2007)], move much closer to the stage, on the spectrum between the cinematic and the theatrical, because they seek to preserve a specific, very successful, stage production after its theatrical run. Finally, the livecasting case studies are the closest of all to the stage. Two major livecasting theatre companies, the Royal National Theatre (NT Live 2009-) and the RSC (RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon 2013-), present their live broadcasts as if they were transparently theatrical, allowing the cinema audience to ‘look through’ the screen at the live performance. While this project tells a story of increasing proximity to the stage, each chapter also resists and complicates that narrative. The cinematic films, which apparently seek to efface their stage origins, retain significant theatrical elements. The mediums of film and performance can be at work in each other. The films I call archival experiment, perhaps inadvertently, with the contradiction in terms of filming theatrically. While Doran wanted to capture his stage production on film, Goold’s stage production was heavily influenced by the cinematic. Each of the livecasting case studies examines a different aspect of the contradiction between announced transparency and actual intermediality in the NT Live Timon of Athens (2012), the NT Live Othello (2013), and the RSC Live The Two Gentlemen of Verona (2014). Those aspects are, respectively, text and paratext, film grammar, and the “myth of non-mediation” (Wyver 2014b, 109). Despite the apparent novelty, livecasting is not entirely new. An almost forgotten technology called the electrophone used telephone lines to broadcast live theatre in London starting in 1895. Both livecasting technologies remake liveness in conditions of reception that are shared and ephemeral. Livecasting is changing not only the ‘ecology’ of theatre, but also of film. Livecasting will shape the future prospects for adaptation of films that originate on stage.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectShakespeare adaptation film cinema theatre stage liveness mediatisation electrophone livecasting
dc.subjectlive broadcast
dc.titleScreening the Stage: Film Adaptations of Shakespeare that Originate on Stage 1995-2015
dc.language.rfc3066en of English and Linguistics of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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