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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Theater

Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2008

Month Degree Awarded

February

Keywords

dramaturgy, British drama, contemporary theater, dialect

Abstract

To fully realize plays in another culture, it is important for the actors and audience to understand the meaning of the words that are being spoken in the context of the culture of the play. This thesis examines the various dramaturgical problems that arise in producing British plays with dialect in the United States, and uses sociolinguistic analysis to explore the various solutions that have been applied to bridge the gap between script and audience. Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (2004) and Irvine Walsh’s Trainspotting, (adapted for the stage by Harry Gibson in 1995), are both deeply connected to the dialect in which they are written. The first part of this thesis examines the complications that come with performing these plays in America, but ultimately argues that dialect in these cases becomes our key into the world of the play and perhaps even the essence of their appeal to an American audience. In the case of both How the Other Half Loves by Alan Ayckbourne (1970) and Losing Louie by Simon Mendes da Costa (2005) a separate script was created for the American audience which translated the original British English into American English. The second part of this thesis then explores the dramaturgical decisions that had to be made in translating these plays and how these decisions affected the finished product.

First Advisor

Julian Olf

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