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242Comparative Drama Mocha, a ship ofthe East India Company,"to turn pirates"plundering the "Red Sea and the Seas of India." After stopping at several points in the American colonies, Gillam was jailed in Boston. One ready explanation of Gillam's villainy was that he had "served the Mogul, turned Mahommedan and was circumcised ." The governor ofthe Massachusetts Bay Colony had Gillam examined by "a surgeon and a Jew"; both declared that he was circumcised, though "not after the manner ofthe Jews." In discussing conversion as it is portrayed in the plays,Vitkus notes that Englishmen were sometimes uninformed about the nature of circumcision, even confusing it with castration. Incidents like this one in 1699 confirm Vitkus's claim that a fear of conversion to Islam and the unsetdement ofEnglish identity—Gillam killed his captain, misled a company ofsailors, put his body to the knife—was a part ofthe experience ofthe English as they spread into new areas in the seventeenth century, whether for trade, piracy, or settlement. John Saillant Western Michigan University Egil Tornqvist. Ibsen, Strindberg and the Intimate Theatre: Studies in TV Presentation. Film Culture in Transition Series. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1999. Pp. 240. $49.50. Although cultural critics have explored television production, they generally have ignored the special circumstances of adapting stage plays, even though this is one ofthe oldest methods ofproducing television drama. Egil Tornqvist takes a step toward legitimizing scholarly inquiry into the adaptation of stage drama for television by closely examining British and Scandinavian television productions ofthirteen plays by Strindberg and Ibsen. Tornqvist painstakingly compares and contrasts these productions not only with each other but also with the playwrights' texts, noting both the typical challenges of staging the text in any medium and how each director's solutions affect the possible interpretations . As a result, Tornqvist contributes more to the scholarly conversation by his choice of subject than by his critical approach; however, he does define some valuable parameters for the continued analysis of adaptations. This book is likely to serve as a springboard for other interdisciplinary scholars . Reviews243 Tornqvist presents a solid case for choosing Ibsen and Strindberg as the subjects ofhis study. On a practical level, each playwright's work has been frequently adapted for television in both Scandinavia and abroad, allowing Tornqvist to choose from multiple plays and multiple high-quality productions of those plays. More importantiy, he argues that these plays are especially suited to television adaptation, since both playwrights wrote primarily realistic—if not naturalistic—drama for a framed stage similar to the box of the television set. Each audience is in voyeur position behind the absent fourth wall, and the dramas fulfill audience members' expectations ofviewing a familysituation nottoo unliketheirown. Although not consistentiyrealistic, many of Strindberg's plays lend themselves to television by being relatively short, while Ibsen's full-length works can present editing problems. Moreover, each playwright's detailed stage directions and character descriptions, which were aimed at reading as well as stage audiences, offer rich opportunities for comparison with the detailed shot descriptions required in television staging. Tornqvist points out mat in the preface toMissJulie Strindberg even calls for"a small stage and a small auditorium," recommendations that anticipate television production; what smaller stage and smaller auditorium can be imagined than the television set in one's living room? These foundations for comparative analysis seem sound, but Tornqvist does not offer equally well-reasoned justification for choosing the specific productions he compares. Certainly, I do not quarrel with concentrating on productions in Norway and Sweden, especially since translation is then unnecessary . However, there is no explanation provided for choosing numerous productions from the United Kingdom and a smattering from other countries (but no U.S. productions). Tornqvist is generally silent on these choices, making no claims ofbeing either representative or comprehensive. Aside from range oflocation, the productions range in date from 1960 to 1993, which the author addresses as a factor within his analyses but not as a factor ofinitial selection. Tornqvist states that his purpose is to explore the range ofthe play text, to identify directors' "obligatory and voluntary choices," and to extend Martin Esslin's work ofthe late 1980s in differentiating between...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 242-245
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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