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FOOT 2006, The Festival of Original Theatre: Performing Adaptations

FOOT conference program cover

The 2006 FOOT conference was held in the

Robert Gill Theatre at the University of Toronto

The 2006 Festival of Original Theatre was organized by Artistic Directors Michelle MacArthur, Lydia Wilkinson and Keren Zaiontz.  They describe the beginnings of this annual festival in the festival program:

Founded in 1993, FOOT is an annual student-run conference and arts festival produced through the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama. Its goal is to create a discussion between scholarship and praxis through scholarly papers, panels, artist roundtables, workshops, staged readings, and original performances. The structure and theme of the festival varies from year-to-year, reflecting the diverse interests and energies of the Drama Centre. Past programs have included themes such as Metaphor and Metonymy: The Language of Theatre and Film, The Dramaturge in Collective Creation, and Bodies in Space.

CASP became interested in the 2006 festival offerings because of its focus on adaptation.  Perhaps not surprisingly, several of the conference papers and festival performances deal with Shakespearean adaptations, and these works have been reproduced here with the gracious consent of the FOOT conference and the authors below. Please note, however, that the papers published here, with the exception of Linda Hutcheon's paper, were prepared as conference papers, and that CASP has reproduced them here as such; these papers were not intended for print publication.  We present them in this cluster as a sample of some of the current discussion in Canada about Shakespearean adaptation across genres and media.

Hutcheon, Linda.  "From Page to Stage to Screen:  The Age of Adaptation."  Great Minds at the University of Toronto:  The University Professor Lecture Series 2002-2003. Ed. Michael Goldberg.  Toronto, U of Toronto P, 2003:  37-54.

Linda Hutcheon is emerging as a leading scholar on adaptation theory.  The FOOT Artistic Directors recognize her work as an influence in choosing the 2006 festival's theme, and Hutcheon was invited to give the keynote address titled "Performing Modernism: Adaptation and its Discontents."  While this address was not available for publication, Hutcheon offers this related paper here. Hutcheon's first monograph on adaptation, A Theory of Adaptation, will be published by Routledge in June of 2006.

Stroud, Tom.  "Othello:  Image, Improvisation and Shakespeare as Source." Unpublished, 2006.

Tom Stroud's paper discusses his collaborative dance adaptation of Othello which was presented at the Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers Studio/Theatre. Stroud is a graduate of the Simon Fraser University School for the Contemporary Arts, and has danced with the Karen Jamieson Dance Company, T.I.D.E. (Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise), Le Groupe de la Place Royale, and Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault. As a choreographer he has established a strong national presence with his emotionally charged choreography and a reputation as a creator of passion, wit, and humanity. He served as Artistic Director of Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers from 1991- 2004 where he added many new and challenging works to the company’s repertoire. Recent teaching credits include Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, The School of Contemporary Dancers, The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Drama, Main Dance Place, E.D.A.M., Delfos Danza Contemporanea. Tom is currently pursuing an independent career as a creator and teacher of theatre, voice, and movement for the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Drama.

Dembski, Chad. "Adapting the Experimental." Unpublished, 2006.

Chad Dembski participated in an Artist Roundtable at FOOT titled "Adapting the Experimental" which included David Duclos of DNA Theatre and Richard Windeyer of Bluemouth Inc. Dembski formed the theatre company Oomph! Group in 1997 with Elyssa Livergant whose goal was "to analyze, criticize and reflect our modern age of technology, visual imagery and information." Oomph! produced two of Dembski's adaptations of Shakespeare: Aureola Part 1: Prologue in 1998 and Me@sure 3.1 in 1999.

McKinnon, James.  "Pitching Mad Boy: How Paratextuality Mediates the Distance Between Spectators, Adaptations, and Source Texts."  Unpublished, 2006.

James McKinnon is a Ph.D. candidate with the University of Toronto's Graduate Centre for Study of Drama. In this paper he discusses Michael O'Brien's adaptation of Hamlet called Mad Boy Chronicle. He describes his goal with this paper in the FOOT festival program:  "Ultimately the goal will be to explore the paradoxical potential for liberating our colonized theatre from the imperial canon by producing plays about colonization." McKinnon recently published an article about Djanet Sears with the Literary Encyclopedia. CASP is also pleased to publish McKinnon's M.A. thesis and another conference paper in our Essays section.

Melo, Sergio. "The phenomenology of adaptation of classics: A Midsummer Night’s Dream as viewed by Ingmar Bergman’s and Woody Allen’s perspectives."  Unpublished, 2006.

Sergio Melo is a Ph.D. candidate with the University of Toronto's Graduate Centre for Study of Drama. The paper here aims to "grapple with the propelling forces, the challenges, the problems, the solutions, the results, and the impacts of recreating classics."  Melo discusses Ingmar Bergman's and
Woody Allen's film adaptations of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Waisvisz, Sarah.  "'This only is the witchcraft I have used:' Harlem Duet as a Feminist Adaptation of Othello." Unpublished, 2006.

Sarah Waisvisz is a M.A. student with McGill University's English department.  Waisvisz's research is "interested in feminist revisions of Shakespearean plays, and how these adaptations, as acts of resistance, interrogate and interpret the 'original' Shakespearean plays from a feminist perspective and re-write and re-shape Shakespeare with tremendous consequences." The paper's sources include writing by Maya Angelou, Roland Barthes, Luce Irigaray, Ann-Marie MacDonald as well as Sears's own critical and creative work.


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Fischlin, Daniel. Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project . University of Guelph. 2004.
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