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date: 01 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

On February 9, 1965, the premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s full-length dance adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to a score by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev took place at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This chapter uses the figures of the three harlots in MacMillan’s ballet—characters that do not appear in Shakespeare’s play—to explore the real, practical, and pragmatic business of adaptation. The harlots, typically represented by soloists or first soloists within the ballet companies, appear prominently in the work’s ensemble scenes. As non-Shakespearean characters, they embody the gap between the source-text and MacMillan’s translation. This is a gap worth examining, offering an insight into the creative afterlife of a Shakespearean text and the infidelities that arguably constitute the success of any adaptation.

Keywords: Shakespeare, Kenneth MacMillan, ballet, Shakespearean adaptation, Romeo and Juliet

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