Open Forum

Adaptations of public domain

  • 1.  Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 6 days ago
    I'm looking for suggestions for a script for a one act competition next year. I have 2 very strong females who are up for the challenge of helping me adapt a script that is in the Public Domain. Any suggestions or helpful hints?

    Things I am looking for...
    A comedy/farce
    Lots of strong females and several capable males as well
    I'd love an ensemble if possible

    Am I asking for too much?


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    Beth Bogert

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  • 2.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 6 days ago
    I think Charlie's Aunt  and The Importance of Being Earnest  are both public domain.







  • 3.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 5 days ago
    Thank you all for your suggestions. I can't wait to check them all out and see if one of them will work for us!

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    Beth Bogert

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  • 4.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 5 days ago
    ​Word of caution - Charley's Aunt is controlled by Samuel French. It is expensive.

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    Ellen Di Filippo
    Tracy CA
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  • 5.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 5 days ago

    In the case of CHARLEY'S AUNT, copyright protection commenced upon publication as opposed to performance.  As the play was not published until 1935, it will not enter the public domain in the United States until January 1, 2031. Until that time, licensing fees are required for performance per our contracts with the author and their representation.

    Fees are calculated like other licensed titles, with ticket prices, number of performances, venue size, etc. factored in. If you ever have questions about licensing fees for Samuel French titles, please email us at K12@samuelfrench.com. As we've discussed in other threads, we're always happy to see if you qualify for a rate appeal. 



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    Rosemary Bucher
    Licensing Representative, Educational Theatre
    Samuel French
    New York NY
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  • 6.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 6 days ago
    Also, Harvey is, I believe, in public domain. Are you looking specifically for a script or would you be interested in adapting a work of fiction? That's more of a challenge, but it would give your students an interesting experience. Something like Alice in Wonderland perhaps updated to fit our time. Or one of the Robin Hood episodes.

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    Jean Klein
    [Playwright/Founder HaveScripts/BlueMoonPlays]
    Virginia Beach VA
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  • 7.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 6 days ago
    Edited by Josh Kauffman 6 days ago
    Harvey is held by Dramatists.

    You have a lot of options in the Greeks. Antigone, Medea, Oedipus, even Lysistrata if you want to make a modern commentary. Woyzeck is also a great idea, as the play was left incomplete on the playwright's death so pretty much every production of it is an adaptation of sorts.

    Admittedly, none of these besides Lysistrata are inherently comedies... but in the spirit of creative adaptation, they certainly could be!

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    Josh Kauffman
    Teacher
    Winfield AL
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  • 8.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 6 days ago
    You would need to be careful of the Greek plays as some of the translations are not in the public domain. You would need to check the translation you choose to see if it is in the public domain.  Also many books are not in the public domain so you have to check if the writer is alive or if their heirs have control of the book. If you do fairy tales which could be fun if you did fractured fairy tales you have to go back to the original story!

    Cathy

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    Cathy Archer
    Rutland VT
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  • 9.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 5 days ago
    A few years ago, I had some students adapt a farce called An Irish Engagement by Walter Watts. It is in the public domain. It was a lot of fun!

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    Christopher Hamilton
    Drama Teacher
    Kennewick WA
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  • 10.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 5 days ago

    The Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School's website is a great resource for public domain topics, and discusses why some intellectual property isn't in the public domain even though we might expect it to be.

    They're also have a graphic novel that chronicles the history of musical borrowing/theft.

    (I'm a super nerd and find all of this fascinating!)



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    Rosemary Bucher
    Licensing Representative, Educational Theatre
    Samuel French
    New York NY
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  • 11.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 5 days ago
    Thanks! These are great ideas.

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    Beth Bogert

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  • 12.  RE: Adaptations of public domain

    Posted 5 days ago
    Check out:  Project Gutenberg
    Project Gutenberg remove preview
    Project Gutenberg
    Project Gutenberg offers free ebooks to download.
    View this on Project Gutenberg >


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    John Perry
    Drama Instructor
    Atherton High School
    Louisville KY
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