Savas Patsalidis (editor-in-chief)*
All major dictionaries (Webster, Oxford and Larousse, among others) describe adaptation as the process of changing to fit some purpose or situation. People and animals adapt in order to survive. Books, movies, plays are also changed to suit a new situation. Despite the fact that adaptation is the most popular term used to imply this process of recreating and/or resituating, it still causes great controversy. Hence the numerous labels in circulation: “alteration,” “imitation,” “spinoff,” ”appropriation,” “abridgement,” “transformation,” “version,” “offshoot,” “tradaptation,” to name a few.
Patrice Pavis, a scholar with an impressive list of published works on this thorny issue, has edited for Critical Stages #12 seven fascinating essays (coming from Great Britain, Cyprus, France, and Canada), each one of which sheds light on the cultural and aesthetic implications of the term. Trying to widen the scope of inquiry, the editorial team invited renowned playwrights from different countries and continents to reflect, among other things, on this unresolved issue. The reader can find their illuminating answers in the journal’s “Interviews section.”
In addition to that, the reader of CS #12 has the chance to read four scholarly papers, one of them the keynote speech of Christopher Balme, all presented at the conference The Critic is Present Or: Toward an Embodied Criticism/Le critique est present ou: Vers une critique incarnee, organized by The International Association of Theatre Critics, The International Federation for Theatre Research, the Serbian National Theatre Critics’ Association, Steriljino Pozorje (Novi Sad) and BITEF Festivals (Sept. 2015). The papers (from Portugal, Germany, Sweden and Kazakhstan), selected and edited by Dr Ivan Medenica, comment on the position of the critic vis-à-vis the “eventness” of the performance.
The “Featured Article” of this issue is Mark Bly’s conversation with Katalin Trencsényi, a conversation that not only provides a thorough survey of the history of American dramaturgy but also tries to answer the question: What is dramaturgy?
In June 2015, Spain gave its greatest writer, Miguel de Cervantes, a formal burial nearly four hundred years after his death, unveiling a funeral monument holding recently discovered bone fragments believed to be his. CS, participating in the celebrations for this event as well as for the fourth centenary of the publication of the second part of the most important work written in Spanish, Don Quixote of La Mancha, publishes the article of Irène Sadowska Guillon “Le couple Don Miguel de Cervantès Saavedra et Don Quijote fête son quatre centième anniversaire ,” which she wrote specifically for the “Essay section.”
In the “Critics on Criticism” section Mark Brown uses the recent production of Hamlet in London (2015), starring globally successful screen actor Benedict Cumberbatch, as his starting point to discuss the idea of “previewing” and the commercial imperatives at work.
The current issue of CS also includes a very impressive selection of performance reviews (13) edited with care and professionalism by Matti Linnavuori from Finland, three book reviews edited by Prof. Don Rubin from Canada, a renewed Festival Guide and, for the first time, a long list of useful links (journals, associations, etc), both drafted by Katerina Delikonstantinidou from Greece.
When Yun Cheol Kim launched CS in 2009 from his base in Seoul, South Korea, he said that its aims were to employ theatre/performing arts criticism as a springboard for opening communication between practitioners, theoreticians and the general public; to create “critical space” for the theatre/performing arts critic to develop and thrive; to increase the general readership for theatre criticism by providing international readers with a source for information and dynamic discussion of themes and trends in contemporary international theatre/performing arts. I hope that this current issue, now operating from its new base in Thessaloniki, Greece (as of September 2015), has lived up to these standards.
I would like to thank the editorial team of the journal (Don Rubin and Jeffrey Eric Jenkins) the section editors (Matti Linnavuori and Ivan Medenica) and the two guest editors (Prof. Patrice Pavis and IATC member Katayoun H. Salmasi), who participated so constructively in the editorial work.
Also my warm thanks are extended to Lissa Tyler Renaud, Michel Vais and Mark Brown who safeguarded, as always, the quality of the journal’s official languages (English and French), especially in those texts written by non native users of the two languages. Special thanks are also due to all the authors included in this volume who spent time to write for us some excellent papers.
I cannot thank enough the journal’s webmaster Tasos Paschalis and my assistant and PhD candidate Katerina Delikonstantinidou for their hard and conscientious work. Without them this global issue could not have been completed.
Last but not least my deep gratitude is offered to Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign, and the chair of its Theatre Department and Vice Chair of IATC, Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, whose financial support has helped to keep the journal alive. Also I am grateful to Aristotle University for freely hosting our journal.
*Savas Patsalidis is professor of theatre history and theory in the School of English and the Graduate Program of the Theatre Department of Aristotle University (Thessaloniki). He also teaches at the Drama School of the National Theatre of Northern Greece. He is the author of eleven books on drama criticism/theory and co-editor of another thirteen. He is the theatre reviewer of the daily newspaper Aggelioforos and Parallaxi, an ejournal. His two-volume study Theatre, Society, Nation (Thessaloniki: University Studio Press), was awarded first prize by the Hellenic Association of Theatre Critics for best theatre study of the year (2010). For more detailed bibliographical information visit: savaspatsalidis.blogspot.gr.