FLS 363-501 DRAMA—Spring 2018
Assignment 1: Research Paper on the adaptations of Romeo and Juliet
An adaptation of a literary work can be done in various media of expression through many genres. It may remain faithful to the original or modify certain aspects of it to suit a different time, place, culture, or purpose. Romeo and Juliet is one of the most enduring texts in English literature which has been re-imagined, re-told, or translated an almost infinite number of times. There are numerous film and stage productions, as well as novels, ballet, opera, documentaries and even video games which are based on the Shakespearean text. Classic adaptation studies usually focus on the issue of “fidelity”: how much of the original has been retained by the “adapter”. They also remain concerned with the “superiority” of the original text to any new re-workings of its plot or genre. More recently, studies of adaptations have moved beyond these issues to focus on the inter-textuality and cultural, economic, political, historical, literary, and social dimensions of adaptation.
In this assignment, you are required to write a paper analyzing one of the many adaptations of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:
1- Choose an adaptation either from the titles listed here or from the hundreds of other adaptations found online. Most commonly, film and musical adaptations are chosen for study including West Side Story (stage musical 1958; film adaptation 1961), Franco Zaffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1968), Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), John Madden’s Shakespeare in Love (1998), and Carlo Carlei’s Romeo and Juliet (written by Julian Fellows, 2013).
2- Your paper should establish your study within contemporary adaptation theory and analyze the adaptation individually as well as in relation to the original play.
3- Explore the texts in terms of the difference between media and genre. Ask yourself the question: how does a “film” (or whatever medium you’ve chosen to study) differ from a “stage play” in the techniques they use to deliver a message?
4- You can also explore the significance of the changes that the adaptation has made in relation to the original story, plot, characters, settings, historical period, ending, etc.
5- Another avenue for exploration is to discuss how a certain theme or main idea is represented in the adaptation and the original. This theme should be reflected in your essay title. Avoid retelling the story and focus on a central idea that you can trace throughout the adaptation and the play.
6- The length of your paper should be between 2500 and 3000 words (7-10 double spaced pages)
7- You are expected to consult academic resources (books, articles, reviews, etc.) rather than unverified websites. A minimum of 5 secondary sources is required. Google books is acceptable as long as you cite it properly. Use APA style for your citations and reference list. Avoid Wikipedia. Please be aware that directly quoting from any source without proper citation is considered plagiarism and is punishable, depending on the severity of the case, by deduction of points all the way up to failure of the course and/or expulsion.
8- You are expected to discuss your research findings in class during our “Adaptations” meeting. This is NOT a formal presentation and it will NOT be graded as part of this assignment. However, it WILL contribute to your overall participation grade.
9- Assignment is due before midnight on Sunday 04/ Feb/ 2018. If you cannot make the deadline, get in touch ahead of time to arrange an extension (only for valid reasons; at the discretion of the tutor).