The Art of Adaptation: Myth and Modernity

Spring
Spring 2021
Olympia
Olympia
EveningWeekend
Evening and Weekend
Sophomore-Senior
Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 50
8
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Mark Harrison
theatre, opera, film, performance studies
English literature

“The great mystery of adaptation is that true fidelity can only be

achieved through lavish promiscuity”  —David Hare

 

In the arts, adaptation can be described as the action or process of being transformed from one medium to another. For example, a story might begin as newspaper article or a poem and eventually be adapted as a novel or an opera or a feature film. A fairy tale might be become a ballet. Inspired by George Seurat, Stephen Sondheim created a Broadway musical based on a famous painting. The film Glory was adapted from the letters of a Civil War officer. The ways we adapt the stories we tell are endless. Why do we return to a particular tale, image, or myth and what is involved in altering its form yet preserving its essence from one medium to another? What conventions, for example, are appropriate to the creation of a novel but are completely out of place on the stage? What role does technology play in adaptation?

 

As cultural critic Asa Berger has noted, “Myths are the instruments by which we continually struggle to make our experience intelligible to ourselves.” Hence, we will explore adaptation in relation to foundational myths, cultural myths, stories that deal with the fundamental aspects of the human condition, love and death.  We’ll explore how modern concepts of time and space have reshaped myth in contemporary art forms. We will even extend our investigation to include adaptation and science. Students will be expected to read and observe from a critical stance. They will write focused responses to each piece and participate in seminar, workshop, and lecture activities. Students will also engage in creative projects such as producing some original work in a medium that fits their vision. The program will include a field trip to a theatrical performance in Seattle.  

8

Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 
Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Fees:

$25 required fee for performance tickets

Sophomore-Senior
Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 50
EveningWeekend

Scheduled for: Evening and Weekend

Located in: Olympia