Radio dramas & ‘transmediality’

This morning, I participated in an exciting ‘audio workshop’ organized by the Study Centre for Experimental Literature (Ghent University & Vrije Universiteit Brussel). After some fascinating introductory reflections by the organizers on the historical context of radio dramas in Flanders, the Netherlands and Germany, and their theoretical and analytical possibilities in the light of ‘transmediality’, four speakers approached one or more radio dramas from a different angle. Janine Hauthal (VUB) talked about Samuel Beckett’s Cascando from a drama perspective, thereby including some critical gender-related observations (why are the roles in Cascando always interpreted by men, while Beckett doesn’t prescribe any sex to the characters? Is it really only because of a dominant – and restricting – autobiographical reading?). Luk Vaes (Orpheus Institute) offered a musicology perspective on the ‘radio dramas’ by the fascinating composer Mauricio Kagel.

audioworkshop

Lars Bernaerts (Ghent University) shared his insights on the practice of novel-to-radio drama adaptations, taking Terug tot Ina Damman, based on Simon Vestdijk’s novel, as a starting point to talk about how literary conventions are taken over and slightly adapted, while the multi-modal possibilities of the radio drama medium itself are also at play. In my own talk, I also focused on a literary adaptation: how the theatre play De Vertraagde Film (1922), by the Flemish writer Herman Teirlinck, was made into a radio drama by the same name in 1967. The transmedia-perspective was enriched as there was also made a film based on De Vertraagde Film in 1937, Het Kwade Oog, by Charles Dekeukeleire in co-operation with Teirlinck himself. This transmedia perspective was follow by some institutional considerations, as the radio drama was made by the public service broadcaster BRT to pay tribute to Herman Teirlinck, who had just passed away. As I’m invited to give a talk on Teirlinck’s relation to film during a study day in February, I’m looking forward to work further on this material!

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