The Ultimate Safari

by Nadine Gordimer

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How would you dramatize "The Ultimate Safari"?

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To convert a long narrative--with a single narrative voice and no dialogue and written like a single point-of-view reminiscence--to dramatic form is to add setting and character description and stage directions. For dialogue, break down story scenes involving other characters besides the narrator into separate speech opportunities. For example, the following narration quote forms a separate speech opportunity for grandmother's dialogue.

Someone from our village had told them we children were alone, our mother had not come back. ... Our grandmother took us - me, the baby, my first-born brother, our grandfather - back to her house ... ([the baby] asleep on our grandmother's back). ("The Ultimate Safari")

The technique of dramatizing prose is called "recasting." As a point of background on the technique of recasting, poets sometimes use recasting to first compose a poem as prose, then later recast it in poetic form. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe used recasting in writing Faust, composing many sections as prose but recasting them later with rhyme and poetic structure. In Faust Part I, "Scene XXIII: Gloomy Day" was left to stand in its original prose form instead of being recast in poetic form.

FAUST: In misery! Despair! Wandering wretchedly on the face of the earth, for ages, and now imprisoned! That kind, unfortunate creature, locked up in prison as a criminal, and lost in torment! To this! This! – Treacherous, worthless spirit, you hid it from me! (Goethe, Faust)

What follows is a short sample of how to go about dramatizing "The Ultimate Safari":

Stage Directions: Scene opens with a spotlight on the DAUGHTER, narrating.

DAUGHTER: That night our mother went to the shop and she didn't come back. 

[Enter grandmother and grandfather]

GRANDMOTHER: I hear that your mother has not come back.

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