Archive for the ‘News’ Category

New Translations of the Arab Hamlet Tradition

Monday, March 14th, 2016

To celebrate the release of Four Arab Hamlet Plays, a special evening of readings and discussion will take place at the Segal Theatre in New York on March 14, 2016. Co-editor of the book Margaret Litvin, Arab World Regional Editor for the MIT Global Shakespeares Video and Performance Archive, will participate via Skype.

The book features the plays:

  • Nabyl Lahlou (Ophelia is Not Dead, Morocco, 1968)
  • Mamduh Adwan (Hamlet Wakes Up Late, Syria, 1976)
  • Nader Omran (A Theatre Company Found a Theatre and Theatred “Hamlet”, Jordan, 1984)
  • Jawad al-Assadi (Forget Hamlet, Iraq, 1994)

plus an autobiographical sketch by Mahmoud Aboudoma (“Gamlet” is Russian for “Hamlet”, Egypt, 2006).

For more details about this event, please visit:


Four Arab Hamlet Plays, edited by Marvin Carlson and Margaret Litvin with Joy Arab. Published by TCG for the Martin E. Segal Theater Center, City University of New York.

Four Arab Hamlet Plays, edited by Marvin Carlson and Margaret Litvin with Joy Arab. Published by TCG for the Martin E. Segal Theater Center, City University of New York.

Available from Amazon or the Segal Center, and soon from TCG.




Shakespeare Happenings in Arizona

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Cris Busato Smith, Brazil Regional Editor for the MIT Global Shakespeares Video and Performance Archive, gave two talks at the 22nd Annual ACMRS Conference held 3-6 February 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona: “Brazilian Shakespeares,” delivered on February 4 as part of the panel “Dead at 400: Shakespeare, Cervantes and El Inca Garcilasco,” and “Ophelia in Contemporary Brazilian Art,” delivered on February 6.  This interdisciplinary conference in Medieval and Renaissance Studies is hosted by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) at the Arizona State University. To learn more about the ACMRS, please visit

One of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio is touring the United States and currently on display February 15 to March 15 at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson. During this time, the University of Arizona is hosting many events to join in the celebration of 400 years of Shakespeare. One of its workshops, “Shakespeare First! From Page to Stage!” took place on February 20 and was streamed live to the Mesa Public Library and the Yuma Main Library. Dr. Busato Smith was on hand at the Mesa Public Library as a special guest presenting her talk: “‘Wheresoe’er Thou Art in this World’s Globe’:  the MIT Global Shakespeares Digital Archive”.

Cris Busato Smith also has a forthcoming essay publication in The Shakespearean International Yearbook, entitled  “What ceremony else?” Images of Ophelia in Brazil: the Politics of Subversion of the Female Artist.


Cris Busato Smith gives a live presentation at the Mesa Public Library.




When “Global Shakespeare” met the “Arab Spring”

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

How do Arab theatre makers navigate a “World Shakespeare” festival, maneuvering between interesting times in their home countries and the expectations of British and global funders and audiences? A recently published article by GS Arab world editor Margaret Litvin and two collaborators, Saffron Walkling (University of York) and Raphael Cormack (University of Edinburgh) explores some of the contingencies, ironies, and unexpected beauties of these collaborations.

Read or download it at


Palestinian Ashtar Theatre’s Richard II ©  Marc Brenner

Palestinian Ashtar Theatre’s Richard II © Marc Brenner



Iraqi Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad © Royal Shakespeare Company

Iraqi Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad © Royal Shakespeare Company



Tunisian Artistes Producteurs Associés’ Macbeth: Leila and Ben –  A Bloody History © Lotfi Achour

Tunisian Artistes Producteurs Associés’ Macbeth: Leila and Ben – A Bloody History © Lotfi Achour




New Book on Ethics, Shakespeare, and Appropriation

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

EthicsAt a time when Shakespeare is becoming increasingly globalized and diversified it is urgent more than ever to ask how this appropriated ‘Shakespeare’ constructs ethical value across cultural and other fault lines. Making an important new contribution to rapidly expanding fields of study surrounding the adaptation and appropriation of Shakespeare, Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation (edited by Alexa Huang and Elizabeth Rivlin) is the first book to address the intersection of ethics, aesthetics, authority, and authenticity.

The collected essays approach ethics from a rich variety of perspectives: some explore how ethical issues in Shakespeare’s plays have been received and interpreted, some investigate the ethical commitments of Shakespearean appropriations, and some interrogate the ethical tenets that underlie the processes of adaptation and appropriation. As a whole, the volume suggests that appropriations are always on some level comparative and that their work has value in generating sites of discussion between otherwise strongly divergent frameworks of understanding.

In addition to Global Shakespeares co-founder Alexa’s co-introduction, also featured in the book are Global Shakespeares regional editor Margaret Litvin’s article and interview of Sulayman Al-Bassam.

The book is available through,, Palgrave, and elsewhere.


Lady Macbeth and Ophelia: Beyond Drowning and Sleep-walking

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Cris Busato Smith, Brazil Regional Editor for MIT Global Shakespeares, delivered a lecture on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at the Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ entitled “Lady Macbeth and Ophelia: Beyond Drowning and Sleep-walking.” The event was well attended and generated many questions from the audience. The lecture was part of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Public Programs Series.


About the Program
Both Lady Macbeth and Ophelia have intriguing stories that transgress the space of page from stage to real life. Whether in the guise of a ruthless, ambitious woman or a beautiful suicidal muse, both characters have exerted a strong appeal to popular imagination. This talk investigates the cultural contexts that prompted this interesting phenomenon.

About Cris Busato Smith
Cris Busato Smith is an MIT regional editor for Global Shakespeares and an ACMRS adjunct scholar. She has taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels in Brazil. She received an MA in English and American Literature in 1995, and a PhD in Literary Studies from the Federal University of Parana (the oldest university in Brazil) in 2007. She also held a Visiting Fellowship at the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History (University of Leeds, UK). Over the last fifteen years, Dr. Smith published numerous articles on literature and Shakespeare. She is the author of Representations of Ophelia in Victorian England (in press).



Aneta Mancewicz publishes new book on European Shakespeare performance

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Global Shakespeares European Regional Editor Aneta Mancewicz has published a book Intermedial Shakespeares on European Stages (Palgrave 2014) that examines the application of digital media in European Shakespeare performances in the 21st Century. The book makes reference to Global Shakespeares project and discusses two plays which are available on the website: Hamlet gliwicki, directed by Piotr Lachmann (Poland), and Hamlet, directed by Maria Federica Maestri and Francesco Pititto (Italy).


Intermedial Shakespeares on European Stages argues that digital intermediality over the past decade has refashioned Shakespearean performance in Europe. Defining intermediality as a reflexive interrelationship between live and digital media on stage, the book examines stagings of Shakespeare in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and the UK, and situates them in their linguistic and cultural contexts. It focuses on the ways in which text and author, time and space, actor and audience have been redefined in performances that incorporate digital media. It also traces transformations in cultural practices related to shifts in staging techniques in intermedial Shakespeare productions. It addresses the implications of digital coding of data, virtual reality, and global communication networks.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Drama: Intermedial Texture
3 Time and Space: Intermedial Stratigraphy
4 Actors and Audiences: Intermedial Mirror
5 New Media as Old Media
6 Digital Intermediality without Digital Technology
7 Conclusions
Appendix: Table of Performances
Cited Works

More details about the publication and how to buy it –



Emily Griffiths Jones appointed Postdoctoral Fellow in MIT-SUTD Collaboration

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

MIT Literature Postdoctoral Fellow, Emily Griffiths Jones, who played a major role in the creation of MIT Global Shakespeare’s Global Hamlet in Performance module, along with Professors Peter Donaldson, Diana E. Henderson and Shankar Raman and Global Shakespeares staff members Belinda Yung and Suzana Lisanti, has been appointed Postdoctoral Fellow for a second year as part of MIT’s collaboration with the new Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).  She will be doing further work on educational modules for use at MIT and at SUTD, focusing on The Tempest and other plays.

Emily Griffiths Jones, Postdoctoral Fellow

Emily Griffiths Jones, Postdoctoral Fellow





A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Patricia Fagundes’ Intermedial Performance Aesthetics

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Brazil Regional Editor Dr. Anna Steph Camati wrote an article on Patricia Fagundes’ Brazilian adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which was performed in 2006. Fagundes, who directed, translated, and adapted the production, chose to set the play in a cabaret.



Dr. Anna Steph Camati


Dr. Camati’s article is entitled, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Patricia Fagundes’ Intermedial Performance Aesthetics1. Here is a summary of the article:

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1594-1595), Shakespeare introduces elements borrowed from court masques, mainly music and dance. After a brief exploration of critical arguments claiming that Shakespeare’s play is the model for musical versions produced during and after the Restoration, this essay investigates the negotiations and shifts of meaning in the homonymous Brazilian adaptation (2006), staged by Cia. Rústica and directed by Patrícia Fagundes. The intermedial processes, articulated in the transposition from page to stage, will be analyzed in the light of contemporary theoretical perspectives.


Titania and Bottom in Patricia Fagundes’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2006.

1. CAMATI, A. S. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Patricia Fagundes’ Intermedial Performance Aesthetics. Aletria, v. 23, n. 3, set./dez. 2013, p. 141-156. <> [Download PDF]


Alexa Huang Awarded Fulbright Distinguished Chair in London and ACLS Burkhardt Fellowship

Monday, September 1st, 2014

MIT Global Shakespeares founding co-director and George Washington University English Professor Alexa Huang has been named the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Global Shakespeare at Queen Mary University of London and University of Warwick for 2014-2015. She has also received the American Council of Learned Society’s Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship at the Folger Library for 2015-2016. She will be working on a book entitled Shakespeare and East Asia (Oxford University Press).


The Fulbright Distinguished Chair awards are designed for eminent scholars with substantial experience and publications in their field and ambassadorial skills with evidence of cultural sensitivity. The Chair will  deliver a free public lecture at the prestigious Gresham College (est. 1597) in London.The Burkhardt fellowships provide leaders in their fields with the resources to pursue long-term, unusually ambitious projects. The Burkhardt Fellowships are generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. They are named for Frederick Burkhardt, President Emeritus of the Amerian Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), whose decades of work on The Correspondence of Charles Darwin constitute a signal example of dedication to a demanding and ambitious scholarly enterprise.

Alexa’s book identifies three broad themes that distinguish interpretations of local cultures and Shakespeare in modern Japan,  Korea, China, Taiwan, and Singapore from their counterparts in other parts of the world: they are leading to a more equitable globalization in artistic terms, they serve as a forum where artists and audiences can grapple with contemporary issues, and through international tour activities they are reshaping debates about the relationships between the East and the West.

Asian interpretations of Shakespeare matter to Western readers because of their impact on American and European performance cultures,  as exemplified by the worldwide recognition of the works of Ong Keng Sen, Akira Kurosawa, and their peers. The history of East Asian Shakespeares as a body of works—as opposed to random stories about cross-cultural encounter—allows us to better understand the processes of localizing artistic ideas through transnational collaboration.

Journal Special Issue on Global Shakespeares

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Reported by Katherine Bradshaw (George Washington University)

Check out articles on exciting new films and productions in the special issue of Shakespeare (BSA journal, edited by Global Shakespeares‘ co-founder Alexa Huang). In the engaging collection of articles you can read about the meanings of epic in Ryutopia Hamlet in Japanese, a Bollywood Lear made in London, Caribbean trickster figures, a Spanish actor-manager in Madrid and Latin America, and Perttu Leppä’s Finnish film Eight Days to the Premiere. All of these are brought together through Huang’s introduction, “Global Shakespeares as Methodology.” The collection shows how this approach to trans-national adaptations and performances forms a liberating and invigorating perspective.

On MIT Global Shakespeares video archive website, you can view several films and productions that are discussed in the special issue.


In her article Alexa Huang explains that the global Shakespeares methodology steps outside of questions of fidelity to explore the implications of a Shakespeare firmly at home across many cultures and traditions. The idea of global Shakespeares has caught on because of site-specific imaginations involving early modern and modern Globe theatres that aspired to perform the entire globe. The early modern theatres revealed a fascination with the expanse of the earth – placing humanity within the order of the universe. The modern Globe performance spaces, both inside and outside England, are often associated with national celebrations of Shakespeare and his works. As such, they seem to set up a tension between nationalistic pride and international contacts. Huang unpacks how these modern theatres reflect the present-day focus on globalization, a concept that inspires enthusiasm.

Indeed, in this expanding world, the cross-cultural perspective of global Shakespeares creates fresh dialogue. Global Shakespeares are not appendages of colonialism, exercises in political rhetoric, or centerpieces within a display of exotic cultures. Global Shakespeares as a methodology situates us in a postnational space defined by fluid cultural locations rather than nation-states. Huang affirms that international manifestations of Shakespeare’s works have a complex dual nature as both global travelers and local inhabitants.

Huang’s introduction sets out the special issue’s fascinating theme, and the other authors point out various facets of this jewel-like concept. Around the world, Shakespearean readers, writers, actors, directors, and audience members interpret and reinterpret Shakespeare based on their own context. In some of the pieces, Shakespeare becomes a way to discuss local concerns about postcolonial life in various areas, including the Caribbean and Britain. In other ones, different plays blend with local literary, stage, or filmic culture to create intriguing hybrids. As the articles suggest, the combinations can bring new insight into the adapted texts or put high pressure upon the adaptations.

Learn about the many meanings of epic in the Ryutopia Hamlet. Peter Donaldson examines how this Japanese interpretation incorporates the Japanese epic Heike monogatari. Specifically, Donaldson states that the Heike inclusion not only places Shakespeare’s allusion to Vergil’s Aeneid in a Japanese context, but also emphasizes Hamlet’s theme of dynastic ruin. Donaldson considers the implications of this integration, and argues that Hamlet might be a national – and trans-national – epic.

Understand Shakespeare’s continued relevance in a post-colonial world by examining a Bollywood Lear made in London. Kinga Földváry analyzes the adaptive film Life Goes On as a completely modern reframing of Lear which depicts the challenges of a Hindu family that emigrated from Bengal to England. Földváry pinpoints how Life Goes On brings Lear’s intergenerational conflict over home and family relationships into a culturally relevant context for contemporary audiences.

See how a Caribbean interweaving of African trickster figures with Hamlet and King Lear complicates traditional narratives of postcolonialism. In her analysis, Giselle Rampaul examines the use of tricksters and crossroads in Davlin Thomas’s plays Lear Ananci and Hamlet: The Eshu Experience. Rampaul explains that Thomas’s adaptations go beyond the simple dichotomy of colonizer and colonized, depicting the Caribbean’s postcolonial future as unknown and full of possible choices.

Learn the surprising history and significance of Spanish actor-managers producing Shakespeare in Madrid and Latin America. To refute the belief that Shakespeare had no influence on Spain and Spanish culture, Juan F. Cerdá investigates the reception of various touring Shakespearean plays produced by Spanish managers and performed by foreign actors during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He examines the widespread Spanish belief that the touring productions were more cultured than their local Shakespearean counterparts. He also looks at how that perception contributed to the prevalence of Shakespearean performances when Spanish actors toured in Latin America.

Find out what the reception of Perttu Leppä’s Finnish film Eight Days to the Premiere signifies about the impact of transnational Shakespearean understandings. Nely Keinänen astutely investigates the critical response to Eight Days, arguing that audiences have extraordinarily – and perhaps unfairly – high expectations for films that incorporate Shakespeare. For many viewers of the film, the idea of “Shakespeare” includes somewhat overwrought acting, early modern costumes, and a large-scale film budget. The metatheatrical Eight Days disregarded these pre-conceived ideas. Instead, the director created a warm, small-scale film with a Shakespearean performance as its backdrop. Consequently, Keinänen cites unfulfilled expectations as the main reason for the relatively limited circulation of Eight Days, using the film as an interesting study of why some adaptations spread farther geographically than others do.

Global Shakespeares as a methodology provides an engaging lens through which to view not only the adaptations discussed in this special issue, but also other productions.

Table of contents: