Theatrical Adaptation

Theatrical Adaptation

MAR 29 – May 3

Wednesdays, March 29 through May 3
6:45–9:15 p.m. ET

Reserve by March 28, 11:59 p.m. ET

Instructor: Hannah Hessel-Ratner
Prior experience: Not required

In this playwriting class, use source material of your choice to transform existing work into a unique theatrical adaptation. Explore a range of adaptation styles and published work each week to discover how your own voice intersects with and can be inspired by other source material.

Essential Question: How do playwrights adapt from a variety of source materials?

Course Objectives: Participants will gain skills in analyzing structure, learn modes of adaptation and discover how to match their own playwrighting skills to the work of others.

Course Outcomes: Participants will be able to transform source material into new work and have a deeper understanding of the process of adaptation.

Enduring Understandings: Great adaptations are a merger of multiple artists in conversation with each other over time.

From the Syllabus:

Week One: Adaptation by Type: We will start by analyzing popular adaptations and discovering a variety of adaptation types. We will discuss the purpose of adaptation and how to ethically create work that is derived from another artist’s work.

Week Two: Dig Deep: The class will begin with presenting adaptations they read or watched over the week. We will then start exploring how each individual artist connects with their source material.

Week Three: Structure Starter: We will spend this class discovering how structure serves the source material and how it will impact our adaptations. We will finish with creating an outline for our adaptations.

Week Four: Genre Exploration: At this point, we will have started to write a scene in our adaptations. We will play with different genres and mediums to explore how we can intersect with the source material.

Week Five: Next Steps: We will read each other’s works-in-progress and parts of the source materials.

Week Six: Share Adaptations: We will conclude our sharing and discuss next steps for our adaptations and original writing.

Hannah Hessel Ratner is the Grants Manager at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was the Audience Enrichment Manager at Shakespeare Theatre Company; while at STC she taught a variety of classes including courses on playwriting, dramaturgy, and criticism. She was in the second cohort of Producing Playwrights with The Welders, where her production of In This Hope: A Pericles Project premiered in fall of 2018. From 2003–2008 she was the Literary Director, Outreach and Education Associate at Theater J. She graduated with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from Columbia University.