Honors Program

Fine and Performing Arts Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Katherine Weiss

Thesis Professor Department

Literature and Language

Thesis Reader(s)

Scott Contreras-Koterbay, Patrick Cronin


The subjects of film and theatre belong to an extensive hierarchical debate that has remained prominent within the realm of performing arts since the introduction of cinema in the late nineteenth century. A plethora of scholars choose to argue in favor of the former, suggesting that film surpasses theatre as superior in both aesthetics and overall execution of naturalism; however, the argument is purely subjective and cannot be applied to all films and their corresponding plays. As a counterclaim, theatre continues to thrive as a prominent source of artistic entertainment globally, not only offering a contemporary twist to preexisting texts, but also impacting an audience in methods that film will never be able to do so. Maria Friedman’s High Society is a primary example that reaffirms how theatre can triumph the continual debate when compared to its preceding film – The Philadelphia Story – directed by George Cukor, both artistically and through its overall execution of the profound topics represented within the original text. This thesis will primarily juxtapose Cukor’s iconic film with Friedman’s revival of the former that was performed in 2015 at London’s Old Vic theatre, offering an innovative rebuttal to the preexisting debate as well as to affirm the argument of how theatre compellingly transforms the mundane.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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