“Theatre is not archaeology. The text remains intact for those who want to read it at home for personal pleasure; those who want to enjoy themselves will go to the theatre, where the text will be presented cleansed of withered parts and unfashionable terms, and adapted to contemporary taste. The work of art in the theatre is no longer the work of a writer… but an act of life to be created moment by moment on the stage and together with the spectators.” – Luigi Pirandello
Performed theatre always exists in the present moment, for a present audience, for a present purpose. Adaptations of old works aren’t heresy; they are new inhalations of breath made by a revived or growing story.
On a somewhat related note, it will be interesting to see Joss Whedon’s take on an ancient text.