The Playwright as Filmmaker
: History, Theory and Practice

  • Othneil Smith

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

    Abstract

    The central hypothesis of this study is that where playwrights have succeeded as film directors, it is as a result of building on those qualities which make them effective as authors within theatre. After establishing the existence of a substantial body of work by a variety of playwright-filmmakers upon which to
    draw, I review the literature examining the relationship between theatre and film.

    Following on from this, I critically assess the status of the author within film theory, as a means of justifying my approach to the analysis of relevant film texts. The next stage of my research involves analysing the work of selected playwright-filmmakers (Preston Sturges, David Mamet, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Neil LaBute), attempting to isolate those aspects of their practice which are attributable to their experience as writers working hi live theatre. Parallel to this, I attempt to develop a theoretical practice based on what I discovered; a process involving the development of a "Dogme"-sty\e manifesto, and the production of three short films: The Beauty, My Enemy's Enemy and I'm Not Like This. The project culminates in a discussion of the extent to which every playwright might be considered a potential filmmaker.
    Date of AwardSept 2006
    Original languageEnglish

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