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Stage-Bound: Feature Film Adaptations of Canadian and Québécois Drama

Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    This acknowledgement of their dramatic origins has often led to criticism that these movies remain too rigidly anchored to the stage; too "stage-bound." Stage-Bound, the first extensive study of feature film adaptations of English Canadian and Québécois drama, challenges this reductive interpretation. André Loiselle demonstrates that theatricality is central to the meaning of these works. In the process, he reclaims these stage-bound films, which have generally been ignored by scholars.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7146-4
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. 1 Stage-Bound since 1942
    (pp. 3-29)

    In 1942, Melburn E. Turner’sHere Will I Nest, the first motion picture adaptation of a Canadian play, had its premiere in London, Ontario. Since then, less than forty Canadian and Quebec stage dramas have been made into feature films in this country. Like Hilda Mary Hooke’s playHere Will I Nest(1942), most of the dramatic sources brought to the big screen over the past sixty years have not been among the best-known works of the repertoire, and the films they inspired have rarely been examined in any depth by critics and historians. One of the main reasons critics...

  5. 2 Early Thresholds of Theatre and Film
    (pp. 30-74)

    For Alenka Zupančič, “film in today’s sense of the word is born or constituted precisely as a step over a specific threshold – the stage threshold or the perimeter of the stage” (Zupančič, 74). The intriguing quality of the corpus studied in this book is that most Canadian plays adapted for film since 1942 present characters who are positioned at the threshold. They are torn between, on the one hand, the sometimes safe, often oppressive domesticity of the contained theatrical space and, on the other hand, the sometimes liberating, often menacing, and forlorn expanse of the open cinematic landscape. This...

  6. 3 Theatrical Characters Trapped in Cinematic Spaces
    (pp. 75-116)

    After a hiatus of almost twenty years, plays started being adapted again in Canada in the early 1970s. Unlike inTit-Coq, where film’s transcendence of theatrical limitations affords the main character an escape only indirectly hinted at in the dramatic text, adaptations from the 1970s and ’80s insist on the reassertion of theatrical containment. Only Vic Sarin’sCold Comfort, which will be examined in the next chapter, allows a character to walk away like Tit-Coq from the confines of thelocus dramaticustowards the wide-open spaces conferred by cinema. Even this instance of cinematic escape, however, is far from being...

  7. 4 Stages of Liminality and Historical Intervals
    (pp. 117-159)

    As we saw in previous chapters, differences between original versions and adaptations can be explained in part by the historical occurrences that marked the interval between the initial stage productions and the film renditions. The events of October 1970 and the deployment of liberal images that accompanied Trudeau’s governance in his first term, for instance, might explain why Martin’s film increases the emphasis on the imaginary quality of Hélène’s efferent aspirations. Similarly, some of the differences betweenAurore,l’enfant martyreandTit-Coqas plays and their filmic counterparts can be understood in terms of the historical changes that occurred during...

  8. 5 At the Juncture of Theatre and Film There Lies a Corpse
    (pp. 160-208)

    In previous chapters, we have seen that the tension between centripetal theatre and centrifugal film parallels the structure of the dramas themselves, as we see characters torn by conflicting forces that push them out and pull them in simultaneously. In this chapter, I wish to focus on a particularembodimentof this tension that reappears in a number of adaptations produced over the past ten years. This literal embodiment of the theatre-film dialectic is the corpse, or, more precisely, the actor “playing dead” who both signifies cinema and incarnates drama. Alenka Zupančič argues with respect to Hitchcock’s adaptations of plays...

  9. 6 Conclusion: Theatricality in Film Adaptations since the 1990s
    (pp. 209-220)

    While working on the adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard’sLes muses orphelines, Robert Favreau constantly had to fight against theatre’s resilient struggle to impose itself (Loiselle, “Les muses orphelines,” 103–4.) This struggle, while not always acknowledged by filmmakers, is perhaps unavoidable. In their attempts to cinematize situations deliberately created for the stage and characters specifically designed to stand at the centre of a circumscribed space, adaptors of drama seek to alter the very nature of objects that were imagined not as images, but as bodies on a scaffold. It is not surprising, therefore, that these bodies would struggle for...

  10. APPENDIX Canadian Plays Adapted into Canadian Feature Films since 1942
    (pp. 221-224)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 225-236)
  12. Works Cited
    (pp. 237-252)
  13. Index
    (pp. 253-260)