Do estates and literary executors interfere with the evolution of a work?
In a theatrical age where the director is king and the quickest way to make your mark and your reputation is to let your ego run rampant on an established text, it is perhaps not surprising that estates and literary executors feel bound to protect the reputations of those who can no longer protect themselves. Unfortunately, these guardians often behave like ferocious guard dogs and are in danger of deterring directors and theatre companies from tackling classic works in new ways and keeping those texts alive. You wonder whether Shakespeare would still be our contemporary if a security guard stood over his plays, preventing directors from putting A Midsummer Night's Dream in a white box with trapezes or setting Richard III in a totalitarian state
(from The Guardian
). I say no. The work belonged to the creator, and how it is done should be controlled by whomever the creator bequeathed the right to the work to; it is theirs, until the copyright runs out and the work reverts to the public domain.
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