(Kilroy's article appeared in the Irish Times, 2/13.)

Adaptation: a privileged conversation with a dead author

Some people have misgivings about adaptations, but playwrights have always been inspired by the works of their predecessors, just as my play, ‘Christ Deliver Us!’, which draws on my growing up in 1950s Ireland, is deeply indebted to Wedekind’s ‘Spring Awakening’

SOME PEOPLE ARE bothered by adaptations. They say: what’s wrong with the original? Why make changes to it? Indeed, where do you get the authority to do so?

The first thing to be said about an adaptation is that, no matter how faithful it may be to the original, it and the original are always two very different, distinct works, sometimes profoundly so. A second point worth making is that the history of European theatre, like that of other performing arts, such as music, both orchestral and operatic, is a history of adaptation. Starting with Greek theatre and down to our own times there has been this endless process of adaptation, variation, imitation and recycling of other material.


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