A film festival celebrating theatre adaptations

On reel

Stage Adaptation film festival will screen a bouquet of six classic Hollywood films.

Are you a theatre lover and film fanatic rolled into one? In that case, this film festival could especially be to your liking. The American Center, in collaboration with Cinedarbaar, is holding a ‘Stage Adaptation Film Festival’. This is a three-day long screening of films which have been borrowed from theatre for the silver screen. It presents a bouquet of six classic Hollywood films ranging from Casablanca to Deathtrap which were originally written for the stage but went on to become celluloid blockbusters as well. The screenings will be followed by discussions with film scholars. Interesting quiz sessions and exciting prizes are also in the offing.

Stage-to-film adaptations have been popular since the beginning of motion pictures and as the popularity of films grew, Hollywood began borrowing plots as well as actors and directors from Broadway, some of which turned out to be big success stories while others boomeranged at the box office. On some occasions, playwrights rewrite their stage dramas for the screen as Peter Shaffer did for Amadeus (1984). An advantage that film has over theatre is that the film can convey the message through imagery instead of just dialogues. Great filmmakers consider these notions and turn an original work into something new without losing the soul and integrity of what it was at conception.

‘Stage Adaptation Film Festival’ celebrates the coming together of these two art forms. The festival will be opened with The Philadelphia Story – a two - time Oscar winning movie directed by George Cukor. The movie is based on the play of the same name written by Philip Barry. Next will be Casablanca, the classic and much-loved romantic melodrama by Michael Curtiz which won three Oscars. The sentimental triangular love story is set against the backdrop of the wartime conflict between democracy and totalitarianism.

Then there is the dark comedy film by Frank Capra Arsenic and Old Lace based on Joseph Kesselring’s play. Also on schedule are Academy award winners A Streetcar Named Desire, Deathtrap and Amadeus. A Streetcar... by Elia Kazan is a subversive, steamy film classic that was adapted from Tennessee Williams’ 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. Deathtrap, a murder mystery by Sidney Lumet, was based on Ira Levin’s play.

Lastly, Amadeus was an adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s Broadway hit and winner of eight Oscars directed by Milos Forman.

Film researchers Anugyan Nag and Kumar Unnayan would address the audience at the conclusion of the films. Nag, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies at JNU, would speak on the screenplays and stage adaptations of The Philadelphia Story and Casablanca specifically. Kumar Unnayan, a postgraduate in English Literature and theatre and cinema enthusiast, will conduct an interactive session on A Streetcar Named Desire and Deathtrap.The festival is on from August 21-23 at the American Center auditorium, 24, Kasturba Gandhi Marg. Carry an original valid photo ID. The films are free and open to all.

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