How Shakespeare Cures a Stuttering King

By | December 10, 2019

A Companion to the Biopic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     The King’s Speech (dir. Tom Hooper, 2010) portrays a figure that suffers from speech impairment. Lines from Shakespeare play an important role in scenes about speech therapy in The King’s Speech. 

Ethics of Citing Shakespeare in a Global Context

By | November 16, 2019

Global Shakespeare can be studied through two interrelated concepts: performance as an act of citation and the ethics of citation. Appropriating the classics carries strong ethical implications. A crucial, ethical component of appropriation is one’s willingness to listen to and be subjected to the demands of others. These metaphorical citations create moments of self and mutual recognition. Seeing the others within is the first step toward seeing oneself in others’ eyes. The act of citation is founded upon the premise of one’s subjectivity, the subject who speaks, and the other’s voice that one is channeling, misrepresenting, or appropriating. Read More

Teaching King Lear in a Global Context

By | November 16, 2019

How might we engage with the “essence” of King Lear in a networked culture?  Juxtaposing the clips of the division-of-the-kingdom scene from different films allows us to reexamine our perceived ethical burden to explain Lear’s problems away. The scene in Peter Brook’s 1971 film is dominated by close-ups of Lear and other characters, framing Paul Scofield’s Lear as a solemn statue. Peter Brook’s 1962 RSC production and subsequent 1971 film of King Lear engages with the theme of ecocriticism through an apocalyptic mise-en-scène. Read More

Tang Xianzu and Shakespeare: Quartercentenary Commemorations

By | November 16, 2019

Cultural memory is actively constructed through embodied and political performances. Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare, two “national poets” of unequal global stature, have recently become vehicles for British and Chinese cultural diplomacy and exchange during their quatercentenary in 2016. The culture of commemoration is a key factor in Tang’s and Shakespeare’s positions within world theatre. Performances of commemoration take a wide range of approaches from grass-root events to government-sponsored festivals. With a comparative scope that explores the afterlives of the two dramatists, this cluster of essays examines commemorative practices, the dynamics of artistic fame, comparability of different dramatic traditions, and transformations of performance styles in socio-historical contexts. Read More

Global Shakespeares in World Markets and Archives

By | October 28, 2018

Shakespeare is a local force to be reckoned with in the global marketplace and in digital and analog archives of collective memory. With the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth in 2014 and quatercentenary in 2016, there are several high-profile instances of global Shakespeare being tapped for its market value. The exchange value of Shakespeare is reflected in uses of Shakespearean themes and artifacts in appropriations, cultural diplomacy, and venues where nation states project soft power. There are no world markets without the proliferation of archives built on collective cultural memory. Conversely, there would be no archives without the cultural marketplace to validate that Shakespearean artifacts are archive-worthy in the first place. Read More

“To unpath’d waters, undream’d shores”: Shakespeare in the World

By | October 26, 2018

In the centuries since William Shakespeare’s death, numerous stage and, more recently, film and television adaptations of his work have emerged to inspire, comfort, and provoke audiences in far-flung corners of the globe. As early as 1619, for example, Hamlet was performed in colonial Indonesia to entertain European expatriates. In 1845, U.S. Army officers staged Othello in Corpus Christi, Texas, as a distraction from the run-up to the Mexican-American War. Read More

Global Shakespeare Criticism beyond the Nation-State

By | October 26, 2018

On a sunny afternoon in early June, 2015, in a rehearsal room at the University of Warwick, director Tim Supple was rehearsing a globally envisioned King Lear with a group of talented actors from Ukraine, France, Nigeria, South Korea, India, and other parts of the world. When the actress Hong Hye Yeon playing Kent lamented in an aside in act 1 scene 4 that ‘[i]f but as well I other accents borrow, / That can my speech defuse’ in Korean (commenting on her and Kent’s disguise as part of the character’s effort to serve and assist Lear), the Ukrainian Lear (Oksana) responded powerfully in Russian. Read More

Review of Richard III from the 2013 Bitola Shakespeare Festival

By | March 09, 2016

The expectant audience for the Bitola Festival’s Richard III had been brought up to speed by Henry VI Parts One and Three earlier in the week (the scheduled production of Part Two from Tirana was unable to come at the last moment). But even if they hadn’t seen these shows, spectators needn’t have worried. The National Theatre of China’s dazzling production made clear the narrative of Richard’s bloody rise and fall within the pivotal end of the War of the Roses and beginning of the new Tudor dynasty through superb visual story-telling. Read More

Review of Poor Poor Lear from the 2013 Bitola Shakespeare Festival

By | March 09, 2016

The audience was waiting to get into the basement playing space of the National Theatre. Behind the door an old woman’s voice screamed “Go away!” The door opened. “Oh, welcome my friends!” The 90-year Nina Sallinen appeared in faded white shoes and stockings, a long 1960s coat, yellowed lace collars, stained white leather gloves, and wild hair. Excitedly she escorted us into “the unfair, cruel, sad, story of poor King Lear!”, as it said on the hand-scrawled programme notes she handed out. Read More

Review of Henry VI Part Three from the 2013 Bitola Shakespeare Festival

By | March 09, 2016

What does it feel like to watch Shakespeare’s darkest story of civil war in a region whose past and recent history has been written by endemic conflict? Bitola’s Henry VI Part Three gave an affective answer. When I saw this show at year’s Globe to Globe, I was thrilled by its kinetic dynamism and visual translation of Shakespeare’s poetic imagery. All those elements impressed me again last night. Read More

Shakespeare’s Shadow: The Belarus Free Theatre’s King Lear at the Globe Theatre

By | August 17, 2015

In 2012, the Belarus Free Theatre participated in the Globe to Globe festival, staging King Lear in Belarusian, radically edited and modernized. The choice to use Belarusian as the primary language of this performance was a daring one, for it is a language that does not exist in a single accepted version and, even within Belarus, is frequently superseded by Russian. An online comment posted under a 2012 review in The Guardian offers a vivid example of indifferent dismissal that such a choice might have produced: “I can imagine few things worse than being subject to Shakespeare in Belarusian. Honestly who’s interested?” Read More

Shamlet: Shakespeare as Palimpsest

By | July 20, 2014

This article investigates one of the most traditional yet uncanny literary recursions in recent practices of cultural translation—the turn to Shakespeare. It explores a range of questions regarding the mediated nature of transnational experiences. How, for example, does this mediation articulate a diverse range of ethnic and cultural identities in the visible, palpable and audible world of theatre? Why Shakespeare? How do stage translations of Shakespeare evince very specific ways of adapting culture in the postmodern Taiwanese context? What is the relationship between cultural translation and national imperatives? Read More

Arab Shakespeare

By | July 25, 2013

There’s still something of novelty about that concatenation “Arab Shakespeare”. Compared to many topics under discussion in this conference programme, “Arab Shakespeare” is a relatively new and unfamiliar concept. Read More

Shakespeare in Borrowed Robes

By | July 29, 2012

Can Shakespeare’s plays give a “local habitation” to the “airy nothing” of globalization? Shakespeare is proclaimed, once again, the bearer of universal currency and Britain’s national poet as the London Olympics draw nearer. Read More

Shakespeare, Asian Actors and Intercultural Spectatorship

By | April 05, 2010 | One Comment

This essay reflects upon the interculturality of spectatorship: How do we relate to what we watch, when a performance foregrounds and implicates the particular cultural position from which we are watching, with its values, habits, and limitations, all of which define what we are able to see? What part does the spectator play in the staging of an encounter between Shakespeare and Asian forms and worldviews? Read More