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The dialogic dramaturgy of matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray

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In this article, I consider Matthew Bourne's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray in the light of recent theoretical perspectives on dramaturgy and translation which are less concerned with, respectively, synthesis and 'authority' than with complexity and negotiation. Relating these perspectives to Bakhtin's concept of dialogism and Kristeva's of intertextuality, I discuss Bourne's ballet as a dialogue between authors (including Bourne's collaborators), between texts and between forms. I explore how Bourne is situated in his reading of Wilde's novel and interrogate his seemingly contradictory statement that he can remain 'true' to his source while 'taking liberties' with it. The article focuses on Bourne's translation of Wilde's central image, the picture itself, but also includes reference to critical reception of both the novel and the ballet. Its key aim is to illuminate the ways in which the multiple strands of this translation connect outwards from the ballet to sociopolitical, cultural and aesthetic concerns relevant, in different ways, to both Wilde and Bourne.

Keywords: adaptation; authorship; dramaturgy; intertextuality; polyphony; translation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/stap.32.2.179_1

Publication date: June 21, 2012

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  • Studies in Theatre and Performance is a peer-reviewed journal which fosters a progressive forum to explore the nuances of theatre practice. The journal provides a critical scope to include other related disciplines in its scrutiny of the stage, exploring the interplay between performance, audience and dramatic practice.
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