How does a novel become transformed into a film or stage play? How do dramaturgs, screenplay writers, and directors approach the adaptation of a novel for stage or screen? Which decisions do they have to make? And how does the novelist react to the end product? Taking Peter Stamm’s Agnes as an example, we will follow the journey which enables novels to transform into theatre and film productions.
Agnes, the novel by Swiss author Peter Stamm, first appeared in 1998. It’s a love story, told from the perspective of the narrator, between the unnamed narrator and Agnes, a young physicist. The tale is divided into 36 short chapters which trace the beginning, development and end of their relationship. Within the plot themes such as love and death, intimacy and alienation, freedom and responsibility are interwoven.
From 2013 to 2018 Agnes appeared on the Abitur (A-Level) syllabus as required reading in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. This was why there were so many theatre performances of the play at that time. Daniela Löffner’s play at the Schauspielhaus in Zurich 2014 was one of these productions. In 2016 Johannes Schmid made a film of the novel for cinema.
The film will be shown after a discussion with Peter Stamm (Author of Agnes), Daniela Löffner (Theatre Director of Agnes at the Schauspielhaus, Zurich), Johannes Schmid (Film Director of Agnes), Amber Massie-Blomfield (Chair).