"There is a curse...": Performance, Adaptation and Fidelity in Christopher Green and Sarah Waters' The Frozen Scream

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Performed in Cardiff and Birmingham in late 2014 and early 2015, The Frozen Scream, directed by Christopher Green and written by Green and novelist Sarah Waters, offered a particular type of Christmas play to its audiences. The story of the production already begins in the marketing material and on a dedicated website, and is developed further in the theatre, where it moves between the conventions of a classic stage play and an immersive experience. What is of note is that The Frozen Scream presents itself as being based on a reportedly cursed novel, written in the 1920s, yet no such publication exists. Instead, the production is an original piece which deftly uses the language of adaptation to establish a particular context for its reception. This article aims to explore The Frozen Scream as an example of what I will call a faux or false adaptation, a deceptive adaptation, an adaptation without a source. In the essay, I will offer a close reading of the play to examine the aspects of this language of adaptation and how they are used in The Frozen Scream, as well as investigating in more detail the questions of fidelity that arise from the premise of a false adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-238
Number of pages16
JournalJournal for Adaptation in Film and Performance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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