Luciana Tamas
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‘How can you photograph words?’
Expanding the Godot universe from adaptation to transmedia storytelling
in Beckett’s afterlives
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Despite being the best-known and most widely produced play by Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot can boast of few adaptations in other media, and even less research in the field of adaptation studies. Although Beckett’s transformation of theatrical vocabulary has incited playwrights and directors to redefine his work, Linda Hutcheon has argued in her Theory of Adaptation that experimental texts such as his are less easily and less frequently adapted than linear realist novels. As a media-specific artist, Beckett was not always welcoming towards adaptations of his plays and, of the few transpositions of Godot to other media, most have been ‘reverent’ and ‘faithful’. We focus on two ‘irreverent’ texts that stray from Beckett’s play and that represent different phases in intertextual and intermedial engagement with Godot: Matei Vișniec’s Le dernier Godot (play, 1987/1998) and Rudi Azank’s While Waiting for Godot (webseries, 2013). A postscript to Beckett’s play, Vișniec’s Le dernier Godot recreates and recontextualizes Godot and, by ‘toning down’ the violent vocabulary originally employed, indirectly explains why he, in Beckett’s text, needs to remain absent. Azank’s While Waiting for Godot instead focuses on the dominance of audio-visual, cinematic narration over Beckett’s dialogue in this transcoding of Godot to the media vocabularies of transmedia storytelling – and adapts the theatrical play for a web audience.

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Beckett’s afterlives

Adaptation, remediation, appropriation


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