Saturday, December 26, 2015

Adaptation

I have the good fortune to live in a very art friendly town. One of the things we have here in Savannah is called Savannah Shakes, a local theater company devoted to the classics of Shakespeare reimagined. Just recently they did a 1950's style Hamlet which was all the rage. However, in thinking about what they do, I find myself wondering about adaptation. The Bard certainly never expected that his words would become near immortal or that they would become the fodder for hundreds of adaptations on stage and screen, or in print. Maybe it's a little presumptuous to even be thinking about it in my current state, but I wonder what an adaptation of my own work would look like. After all, I am still living and thus able to put my two cents in. For those of you who know The Shining, you undoubtedly know of the two movie adaptations, one written by King himself. I don't know if I would have the gall to redo a movie because I didn't care for the portrayal of my characters, but you have to admire someone with that much vision.

That's what it really comes down to: vision. If you don't have the vision to see it on the stage or screen from your words, then you had better hope that someone else does. Even these days, there are audiobooks, which read more like grand old radio dramas with multiple voices and mood music. Amazing pieces of art. One I'm highly anticipating is the audio drama of the first Heritage book written by D. E. Morris. You may remember, I interviewed her earlier this year. I count her a dear friend with an awesome talent. But on the subject of her audio drama, it's been in the works for quite some time, with her voicing several of the characters. With a little finesse, I expect it will be a masterpiece.

Back again to reimagining my own work. I have written for the stage, albeit only once, so I have at least a passing understanding in distilling things to be seen by an audience. Where do you get such training if you haven't had any? One from reading plays. Two from watching plays. Three from talking to those who do plays: actors, directors, stage hands, everybody. They all have perspectives on good workmanship. You may even find a few who do not care for Shakespeare, contemporized or otherwise. What you won't find is a lack of opinion. There are favorites in every field. People lauded above all others. This may change from person to person, but ask a small sample and you'll find a few names that pop up over and over again. Never waste a chance to be involved with the things you want to adapt to. In my paltry, shall I call it a career, I have also written for screen. Were they good? In some ways, yes. In other ways, no. They were the attempts of a novice at a form requiring depth I did not, and perhaps still do not, completely have. It might be best left to someone else. However, don't let that be a reason not to try. Sometimes, the only person who believes it can be done is YOU. If that is the case, do it anyway.

I started this post on the thought of what about adaptation and have turned it into a post about why you should be willing to attempt adapting your own work. Believe in it because you can. Breathe into it because you should. Love it when no one else does because only through that love will others be able to see it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I have to say about adaptation.

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