A Televised Adaptation of a Screenplay based on a Graphic Novel drawn from a Metrification of a Dream

Edited/Revised: 2015/12/15 — based on helpful feedback from @dnjoudrey (the great teachers never stop teaching!)


I like relationships a lot. No resource we catalog exists in a vacuum, and no person who contributed to it was just born today (not even you, Baby Gramps). So many resources are connected to other resources and most everybody has a relationship to someone else.

I think it’s great that RDA is doing so much to build the links between WEMI-PFC-COPE (a helpful mnemonic for which is We Easily Make It Possible For Cats (to) COPE, by @ajlobster), and so I always enjoy scoping appendices I, J, K, L (when it’s ever DONE), and M to find the perfect relator term to use to state the relationship between work A and work B.

This week I cataloged four DVDs of Salome (there’s a course this spring using them) — all of which were adaptations of the Oscar Wilde play. Easy enough, right?

motion picture adaptation of (work) Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900. Salomé

For three of them, sure — that sufficed. But one of them, Steven Berkoff’s 1992 Salome was performed live on stage, filmed, and then aired on television before being pressed into the DVD I held in my hand.

Things had just gotten more complicated.

While the 1923 silent film, the 1953 Rita Hayworth film, and the 2011 Jessica Chastain film, were all expressions of a motion picture (new work) adaptation of Wilde’s work — this fourth was less obvious to me.

In my head, I was imagining several steps:

  1. Wilde’s Play (a work)
  2. Adapted for the stage by Steven Berkoff
  3. Filmed for television

Checking the RDA-Toolkit, I found:

dramatization of (work) A work that has been adapted as a drama.

But then, I started overthinking it. (Or have I already been overthinking it?) Is a play being performed as a play really a dramatization of the play? Or was it always a drama, and thus isn’t being dramatized. That is, has it been adapted as a drama, or was it always one, and thus can’t be adapted as one.

Jumping up on level of the hierarchy, I found this:

adaptation of (work) A work that has been modified for a purpose, use, or medium other than that for which it was originally intended. Applies to changes in form or to works completely rewritten in the same form.

Ah! So it can apply to works in the same form, but they’d have to be completely rewritten. This film was not a major rewrite, I couldn’t find a credit to a writer — just director and other production info.

But then, more overthinking (YES, EVEN MORE)

What if the authority record for Oscar Wilde’s Salome doesn’t refer to the play but it refers to the text. That is, maybe it’s a change of form from “text” to “drama”. I don’t know, because the authority record doesn’t have a 380 (where that’d be recorded).

I checked out the authority record for a popular play, Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Hamlet — and that one has a bunch of very useful 380s indicating that it is specifically a play/drama. Extrapolating to assume that the record for Salome is intended to be the play, I concluded that I couldn’t use “dramatization of (work)” for this resource to refer to its transformation.

Having decided that, I ended up with:

television adaptation of (work) Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900. Salomé

So what say y’all? Is there any good relator term to use to describe the relationship between a play and a new staging/production of that play?

staging of (work)

production of (work)

are some obvious possibilities that I propose.

But maybe this term isn’t needed, I see two reasons why it may not be:

  1. A staging or production of a drama may not be enough of a substantive change to truly justify it as a new work, maybe a staging is just n expression of the same work. My gut tells me (and I’d love to hear from theater people who know more on the subject) that there are many stagings which are absolutely transformative and would require the creation of a new work and an attendant relator term.
  2.  Because so much of the description of a resource waits until it’s been manifested, when that happens (e.g. pressed into a DVD) it can be described as a television or motion picture adaptation?




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s