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Adapt or Die: Plays New and Used

Adapt or Die: Plays New and Used
Your Price: $29.99 CDN
Last copy!
Author: Jason Sherman
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 220
Pub. Date: 2007
ISBN-10: 0887548962
ISBN-13: 9780887548963

About the Book:

HARD TO FIND BOOK, only a very limited number of copies are still available.

Finalist for the 2006 Governor General's Award for Drama (Canadian Equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize)

Adapt or Die: Plays New and Used contains four classic works by three Russian masters adapted by Jason Sherman, who is perhaps the Canada's reigning king of adaptations. He has adapted Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, Chekhov's The Bear and Cherry Orchard, and Maksim Gorky's Enemies. For Jason Sherman – whose personal work has won the Chalmers and Governor General's awards – there is one simple reason why he works on so many adaptations. "You know what they say: 'Adapt or die,' " he says.

The Brothers Karamazov is adapted from the novel of the same name by Fyodor Dostoevsky and translated by Constance Garnett. The novel – a murder mystery of sorts – is a comment on the political and social fabric of late 19th-century Russia, and also raises deep questions about atheism and the existence of God. Still considered one of the world's finest novels, it was published in 1880 and immediately caused controversy with its frank discussion of religion and class divisions. This fast-paced adaptation captures the spirit, scope and dark humour of the Dostoevsky novel. (Premiered in 2005 at Tom Patterson Theatre during the Stratford Festival in Ontario; Cast: 4 woman, 6 men)

The Bear is a new version of the masterful short comedy by Anton Chekhov about two people so close to hate that they fall in love instead. A battle ensues between a wealthy widow and her landlord. The Bear is a super-condensed battle-of-the-sexes story demonstrating just how close anger is to passion. (Premiered in 2002 by Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto; Cast: 2 women, 1 man)

Enemies is an adaptation of the politically charged factory-floor thriller by Maxim Gorky. It's summer, around 1900, and the beautiful people are sitting around swilling tea. This is one of those sprawling Russian households: the factory owner and his wife, the drunken brother, the factory manager, his brother who is a lawyer, an actress, a niece, a maid, and more. A sycophantic creep arrives to complain that somebody is stealing his cucumbers. Then comes word that the factory employees are threatening to strike at noon. The murder of the factory's co-owner further divides the two sides in a struggle that parallels what would soon take place across the Russian Empire. (Premiered in 2006 at Ryerson University Theatre School in Toronto; Cast: 10 women, 7 man)

After the Orchard is a contemporary retelling of The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov set in the Kawarthas in Ontario cottage country. Family loyalties are severely tested over the fate of a beloved summer home. After the Orchard looks at the family's varied remembrances of their cottage – wistful memories, unresolved issues, real-estate possibilities. (Premiered in 2005 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa; Cast: 5 women, 7 man)

About the Playwright:

Jason Sherman is one of Canada's leading playwrights. After attending York University's Creative Writing Program, he worked as an editor for various literary journals and as a journalist until he began pursuing his own writing full time. He has received the Governor General's Award for Drama (and been nominated four other times) and the Chalmers Canadian Play Award (twice, along with three other nominations). He has also written extensively for radio and television.

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