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Subverting the 'Classics': Adaptation and Resistance

Laera, Margherita (2015) Subverting the 'Classics': Adaptation and Resistance. In: London Theatre Seminar, 19 Nov 2015. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:56853)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.
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Contemporary theatres in Europe are currently awash with theatrical versions of ‘classical’ works from antiquity and modernity. The pervasiveness of adaptations on European stages results in a relentless repetition of known narratives that come with an ideological baggage attached, which theatre-makers engage with/reiterate/displace in more or less sophisticated ways, but inevitably re-evoke in the process. In this sense, adaptation would seem to inevitably position itself as a conservative undertaking, and especially so if the adaptation we are dealing with is of a ‘classic’.

This paper argues that the subtle and oppressive mechanism that is the ‘classical’, as discussed by Salvatore Settis in The Future of the ‘Classical’ (2006), can only be undermined by creative responses. But how can resistance to, and subversion of, that mythological mechanism that is a ‘classic’ take place without undermining itself through the inevitable re-iteration that is adaptation? What are the creative, performative and aesthetic tactics that are available to theatre-makers as agents of change through adaptation? Drawing on the work of Chantal Mouffe and Jacques Rancière on resistance and dissensus in the arts, this presentation assesses adaptation strategies adopted in Romeo Castellucci’s Ödipus der Tyrann (2015), Rimini Protokoll’s Prometheus in Athens (2010), Split Britches’ and Bloolips’ Belle Reprieve (1991), and Robert Icke’s Oresteia (2015) amongst others. In approaching the work of a selection of contemporary theatre-makers who serially use adaptation in their artistic output, I ask whether, and how, it may be possible to subvert a particular ‘canonical’ work and resist the ideological mechanism underpinning the very notion of the ‘classical’.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Lecture)
Uncontrolled keywords: Adaptations, Classics, Resistance
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN80 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1600 Drama
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The theatre
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Margherita Laera
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2016 15:14 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 11:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Laera, Margherita:
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