January 21, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

How to think like Chekhov or Turgenev

1 min read

The art of adapting Russian plays – and novels and stories – for the stage: The Spectator

I recently met an A-level English student who had never heard of Pontius Pilate. How is it possible to reach the age of 18 — to be applying to university to read English and European Literature — and never to have come across the man who asked the unanswerable question: what is truth?

This student had completed a course in theatre studies, having read hardly any Shakespeare, nor any of his contemporaries, none of the Greeks — Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides — nothing from the Restoration, no Ibsen, no Shaw, and certainly no Schiller — though he had been given the role of Hippolytus in a school production of Phaedra’s Love, which had to be cancelled when the head teacher came across a copy of the script lying on the staffroom table. Phew!

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