Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Adaptation Theory Portal

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Boccaccio’s The Decameron

Boccaccio’s fourteenth-century masterpiece shows ten young Florentine nobles fleeing a city devastated by plague, retiring to a country villa to divert themselves with the telling of tales—one tale each for ten days. Populated by gullible merchants, wily apprentices, self-possessed daughters, and libidinous nuns, these tales feature a series of practical jokes, remarkable journeys, love, deception, and family drama—all with a blend of wit, wonderment, and buffoonery. From this hundredfold collection, our class will look at just a decimal selection—a curated “top ten” tales from this set of ten tens. We conclude the course by watching the 2017 film adaptation of two of these tales, The Little Hours.
Precepted by Liam Daley

Book Club: Children of Dune (Part 1 of 2) Series

Have you seen the Preacher?

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the third Dune novel, Children of Dune. Chaos and civil war threaten the Atreides legacy as religious fanatics rise to challenge the family’s rule.

The culmination of the initial Dune trilogy is another sweeping epic of intrigue and survival in the face of overwhelming odds. We will explore themes like hero cults, history, politics and religious violence, as the heirs of Paul Atreides discover the path laid out for them—and its deadly consequences.

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Children of Dune (Part 2 of 2) Continuing Series

Have you seen the Preacher?

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the third Dune novel, Children of Dune. Chaos and civil war threaten the Atreides legacy as religious fanatics rise to challenge the family’s rule.

The culmination of the initial Dune trilogy is another sweeping epic of intrigue and survival in the face of overwhelming odds. We will explore themes like hero cults, history, politics and religious violence, as the heirs of Paul Atreides discover the path laid out for them—and its deadly consequences.

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: Dune Messiah

By Shai-Hulud, let’s read Dune Messiah!

In this one-month module, we will read and discuss the second Dune novel, Dune Messiah. Paul Atreides has avenged his father and created a new interstellar empire—but at what cost?

Though considerably shorter, the follow-up to Dune is even more intricate and complex. We will explore themes like hero cults, history, politics and religious violence, as Paul’s vision leads him into a trap of his own making.

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Aristotle's Poetics for Story-Tellers

What makes a good story? How can we make our characters feel like real people?

Using a combination of pre-recorded lectures, in-class discussion and exercises, you will find out how to employ Aristotle’s precepts on character, theme and emotional catharsis to enrich your creative practice. You will also discover how Aristotle’s teleological understanding of causality can help you discover the final design of your creative work. This module will be a must for fiction authors, screenwriters and directors, RPG game masters, or anyone who wants to weave a dynamic tale!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Tools of the Song Writer

What are the songs that stick in your memory? Are they catchy earworms that have you humming their melodies all day? Are they complicated jazz numbers, where lyrics give place to musical elaboration? Are they ballads, where the story is the thing?

The answer varies from listener to listener, but the great songs of whatever sort have some things in common. We're going to look for these things together, considering the conventions of different genres, poetic styles and their interaction with musical choices, a bit of music theory (that won't hurt a bit, I promise) and arrangement.

Each class session, we will listen to and talk about two or three songs. we'll discuss the choices the song writer(s) made, and how they affect your experience as a listener. We'll also look at how a single song might be interpreted differently by different artists, because performance is an inseparable element of how a song lands.

Students need have no grounding in music theory, or be musicians. All that is required is a love of music, and the desire to learn a little about the song writer's craft, whether that's in aid of becoming a more discerning listener, or because there's a song buried in your soul that you've not yet written.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Christopher Bartlett

Avatar the Last Airbender Netflix Adaptation: Book 1

Grab a cup of tea and join Keli for a discussion on the long anticipated Netflix live action adaptation of Avatar the Last Airbender, Season 1.
In this module we'll watch and discuss one of the live action episodes for each class session. While not required, it is highly recommended that you have seen season one of the original animated series as we will be discussing adaptation choices.

For the first offering of this module we'll try to schedule an earlier call or two to discuss the animated series before the new show drops.
Precepted by Keli Fancher

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep / Blade Runner - A Study in Adaptation

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."

Dive into a world where the lines between human and machine blur. In this module, we will read Philip K. Dick's classic novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Then we shall compare it to the ground-breaking cinematic adaptations, Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 . Unpacking the evolution of the story and its various iterations, we will get together twice a week to discuss its questions about humanity, empathy, and artificial intelligence. No prior knowledge assumed - all are welcome in this class!

Week 1 & 2: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Week 3: Blade Runner
Week 4: Blade Runner 2049
Precepted by Julian Barr

Le Morte Darthur: Seeking the Holy Grail in Malory and Monty Python

To achieve the Holy Grail, Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad and others must face formidable Black Knights, alluring temptresses, inscrutable hermits, and untold supernatural perils—in two works created five-hundred-and-five years apart.

“The Tale of the Sankgreal,” disseminated as part of Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur (1470) and the incontestable masterpiece of modern Arthurian cinema, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) are arguably the most popular and influential versions of this story from a twenty-first century standpoint. These contrasting visions of the Grail Quest also share striking and unexpected similarities in terms of plot, form, and tone. This course looks closely at Malory’s text and the Pythons’ oddly-faithful film reinterpretation, side by side. In so doing, we explore what Arthur, the Grail, and the Middle Ages mean to modern audiences, and how changes in form and context radically shape how stories are told and understood.
Precepted by Liam Daley

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Text, Translation, Film

Can Sir Gawain keep his honor without losing his head? This short classic of Middle English chivalric romance follows Gawain on a quest testing his heroism, social etiquette, sexual virtue, and existential sense of self. This course explores: first, the extraordinary history of the single, unique manuscript which preserves this poem (as it “slept” on a library shelf for 400 years, escaped destruction by fire, and was eventually rediscovered in the 19th century); second, the translations which brought this poem to a twentieth century readership – focusing in particular on J.R.R. Tolkien’s; and finally, the 2021 film by David Lowery.
Precepted by Liam Daley

Shakespeare's Epic Fairy Tales: "The Winter's Tale" and "The Two Noble Kinsmen"

This module continues the examination of Shakespeare’s late work with two baffling and beautiful plays. "The Winter’s Tale" begs the question: where does art end and magic begin? Containing the bard’s most famous stage direction—“Exit, pursued by a bear”—this tale of jealousy and forgiveness transforms from domestic tragedy into pastoral comedy, before finally arriving Shakespeare’s strangest endings. "The Two Noble Kinsmen", Shakespeare’s final work, gives Chaucer’s Middle English "The Knight’s Tale" a Renaissance rewrite. Co-authored with rising start of the Jacobean stage, John Fletcher, this tragicomedy expands the scope of Chaucer’s female characters while hinting at range of suppressed, taboo romantic desires. Blending the poignant and the absurd, the playwrights claim they only hope their “modern” adaptation won’t raise Chaucer’s angry ghost!
Precepted by Liam Daley

Shakespeare’s Forgotten Plays: The “Problem” Comedies

This module looks at two of Shakespeare’s darkest comedies (often described as “Problem Plays” and frequently overlooked in Shakespeare studies): Troilus and Cressida and Measure for Measure. Half an adaptation of Chaucer’s tragic romance, and half a reworking of Homer’s Iliad, Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida presents both the lovers and the warriors with a mixture of biting satire, comic buffoonery, and genuine pathos. Likely never staged in Shakespeare’s lifetime, this comedy-history-tragedy has puzzled readers since its first appearance in print. In Measure for Measure, a duke’s attempt to clean up his city’s seedy night-life quickly leads to the attempted sexual blackmail of a nun by duke’s chief deputy. In the chaos of bed-swapping and (threatened) head-chopping that follows, the play narrowly avoids outright tragedy, but whether the final ending could be called “happy” has been debated for centuries. These may actually be the strangest two play Shakespeare ever wrote.
Precepted by Liam Daley

Shakespeare's King Lear

This module looks at arguably the greatest of Shakespeare's Tragedies--King Lear. Resolving to divide his kingdom between his daughters, the aged king banishes his closest allies from court, leaving himself and his realm prey to the self-interest and cruelty of those who remain. The course examines this tragedy of betrayal, madness, and family grudges act by act but also supplements these close studies of Shakespeare's text with discussions of the two variant early editions (in Quarto and Folio formats), a brief overview of Shakespeare's sources (Geoffrey of Monmoth's History of the Kings of Britain and Holinshed's Chronicles), and an examination of Nahum Tate's infamous happy-ending adaptation (the only version of the play staged for next 150 years). Expected weekly reading/listening: approx. 50-70 pages (spread across two hours of class).
Precepted by Faith Acker and Liam Daley

"The Last of Us" in Adaptation

HBO’s new “The Last of Us” TV show (2023) is widely hailed as the best adaptation of a video game. “The Last of Us” video game (2013) tells the story of a cynical older man befriending a young girl during a zombie apocalypse. The game received praise for its subtle storytelling and strong characterizations. The lead creator of the game is also a showrunner and insisted that HBO remain faithful to the game. However, the show uses the freedom of TV to expand upon the backstories of characters. In this course, we will watch the TV show and play the video game simultaneously. We will then discuss how the genre/medium of each affects adaptation choices.

Note: Students do not need to have watched the show or played the game beforehand, but will need to have access to both. Students can also watch a walkthrough of "The Last of Us" in lieu of playing the game.
Precepted by Dominic Nardi

Video Game Studies

Inviting students to share their delight in, and deepen their appreciation of, video games, we will discuss examples of the art, music, gameplay, and story from a range of influential titles. We will introduce and experiment with some of the theoretical frameworks that have been applied to video games as media objects and cultural artifacts. But mostly, we will enjoy learning more about the medium and the games we already love. Aside from links and selections shared throughout the module, Gabrielle Zevin's novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow will be the only required reading.
Precepted by Wesley Schantz
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].