Drama - The Road to Adaptation - with Deborah Page
A course involving participants in the process of re-imagining a novel as a piece of music theatre.
We will be working on Elizabeth Bowen’s 1937 novel The House in Paris described by A S Byatt as ‘a novel about sex, time, and the discovery of identity’. It’s a dark and intriguing story with a small cast of characters (ideal for our purposes) whose interlocking stories come together over the course of one day. I will lead the process of exploring the narrative structure and inner workings of the novel, helping the group to work collectively and travel as far down the road to transforming it into a performable shape as can be managed in five days.
The work will be physical, experimental and collaborative. Each member of the group will bring their own imagination and sensibilities to the process as we excavate the book and get to know the characters. Together we’ll try to find a theatrical version of what Bowen describes as the “the poetic truth” of a novel and find out more about the part music might play in our story-telling.
Adaptation is a brilliant way to get to know a writer’s work and music-theatre is a compact form, which will help us compress the action and reveal our characters inner lives and past histories. But please note, you will not need to be a singer to take part!
You will need to have read the book (twice if possible), to have an open mind and to relish the idea of working in a group. You will be a practitioner with a good level of experience of performance or writing, and an interest in creating original work for performance. You may have a specialist interest as a singer/actor/writer/librettist and be looking to develop your work in this area individually or as members of a group, or may simply be a performer or teacher looking for a combination of professional refreshment and intellectual and creative engagement with an inspiring piece of literature.
Deborah Paige is a freelance director and teacher with longstanding experience in theatre, television and radio drama and a passion for adapting and creating new work for the stage. She trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, was an associate director of Soho Theatre, and artistic director of Salisbury Playhouse and the Sheffield Crucible. She has directed shows at The National, Old Vic, Regents Park, Hampstead Theatre and the Arcola. TV work includes EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City and Judge John Deed. She has written and directed several serialisations for BBC Woman’s Hour, including her own adaptation of Elizabeth Bowen’s novel ‘To The North’. She regularly directs and teaches at RADA (where she is a associate teacher) and has recently written a BA course in Acting and Performance for the University of the Creative Arts.