chapter  8
7 Pages


In summing up briefly, I would like to return to the question of audiences raised by the title of Bergman’s film In the Presence of a Clown discussed in Chapter Three and by simulcast and captured live ‘theatre’ performances in Chap - ter Four. These two chapters argued that it is important to consider the social function of the cognate form of spoken theatre-in-cinema, which is naturally bound up with the social function of both theatre and cinema as distinct artforms. When there are ‘mixed materialities’ (Rancière) involved in the inter - medial encounters between the two ‘dramatic traditions’ (Williams) it is not always easy to predict the outcome, as in the chemical interaction of certain substances. To pursue this metaphor of chemical interaction, the instability of the compound, in contrast to the arguably greater stability of the separate products, is precisely what has made the fusion unpredictable and therefore exciting, as in the case of Shakespeare appropriations by imaginative film directors such as Kurosawa, and latterly Bhardwaj, and their respective teams. Rather than employ the more conservative ‘shotgun marriage’ metaphor, as some critics have done, I prefer to see screen-to-stage and stage-to-screen amalgamations as the opportunity to produce unexpected outcomes, sometimes satisfying, sometimes less so.