Jonathan Bignell
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Adaptation and convergence
Beckett on Film
in Beckett’s afterlives
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The Beckett on Film project (2000) adapted all nineteen of Beckett’s theatre works, creating screen versions that were shown at film festivals, as television broadcasts, sold as a DVD box set and distributed via online video streaming. This chapter argues that these evolutions of the project are more significant than simply repackaging the content produced in one medium for distribution in another. Rather, they work with and reflect on the borders between mediums, and the ways that creative works fit into new medial environments. Beckett on Film can be seen not as a fixed text (or collection of texts), but as a mobile and mutable work that changes in relation to medium and audience, with different spatial and temporal specificities across the history of these adaptation processes. The chapter traces the British and Irish stories of how the Blue Angel production company, the Irish broadcaster RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) and the British Channel 4 television channel framed Beckett on Film in its various manifestations. The chapter addresses the project’s genesis, production, scheduling for cinema and its television screenings to specialist, general and then educational audiences. It also considers how the project’s adaptation into the ‘new’ media of DVD and online video framed the series as a cultural asset and a prestige collectable, aligning it with discourses of taste and connoisseurship. The chapter makes the case for Beckett on Film’s resilience and its fit with an emergent culture of media convergence in which medial boundaries are being renegotiated.

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Beckett’s afterlives

Adaptation, remediation, appropriation


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