The many-splendored, much-plundered novel
'No art form has been more ruthlessly plundered by other genres than the novel. Its appeal to the film industry and the theatre is self-evident: strong plot, clearly drawn characters, well-defined themes and credible dialogue — all of which are drama’s stock in trade. Borrowing has proved irresistible to dramatists for centuries. Shakespeare did not write an original storyline in his life — except, debatably, The Tempest, in which a credible, compelling plot is hardly the unique selling point. But that was the early 17th century. These days, with so many works written for the stage but unperformed, why does the vogue for dramatised fiction persist? Currently, two of Scotland’s leading repertory theatres — the Citizens in Glasgow and the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh — are presenting productions of staged novels: Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina respectively. This week in Glasgow, the dashing Nigel Havers stars in Rebecca, based on Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, adapted by Frank McGuinness, the Irish playwright.' More here.