The Secret Agent in the Netherlands: Interview with Izabel Pacholec

Robert Hampson, Izabel Pacholec

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2017 was declared ‘The Year of Joseph Conrad’ in Poland, and this led to various events in his honour across Europe. Among these events was the ‘Conrad Project’ in the Netherlands, which culminated in Izabela Pacholec’s radical adaptation of The Secret Agent. Robert Hampson gave a skype lecture at the start of the ‘Conrad Project’ which influenced the adaptation. Hampson here interviews Pacholec about the genesis of the adaptation; what attracted her to The Secret Agent; how The Secret Agent was seen to have contemporary relevance – including, in particular, its concern for ‘the emotional state of the masses’ in the context of Brexit; the historical issue of women’s dependence on men; how the adaptation transferred the novel’s sustained ironic commentary by an embodied narrator to the stage; casting restrictions (and the specific talents of individual performers) and their impact on the adaptation; gender issues, gender changes and pole-dancing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adaptation in Film and Performance
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Joseph Conrad
  • The Secret Agent
  • anarchism
  • terrorism
  • gender
  • the narrator
  • doubling
  • dramatic adaptation

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