Linguaculture, Volume 8, Number 2, 2017
Abstract & Keywords
400 hundred years of Shakespeare's presence in world-wide theatres, schools, literature, film, and even languages must give us pause. It is worth reflecting on what there is in the texts that have come down to us that answers this great and obviously most diversified horizon of reception. The paper will try to present Shakespearean plots, characters and themes and examine them for their potential to become appropriated into the very centres of multiple cultural polysystems.
Abstract & Keywords
Orson Welles, a boy from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was one of the most audacious Shakespearians who ever lived. He recited soliloquies as a child, wrote a book on the plays as a teenager, and at age 17 roamed across Ireland before brazenly (and successfully) presenting himself at the Abbey Theatre as a distinguished American actor. Welles also created three of the most ambitious Shakespeare films. As an American pretender, a colonial presuming to re-interpret the greatest British writer, Welles approached Shakespeare with a mix of bravado and insecurity. This paper explores how Welles' American nature informs these roles and, especially, his final Shakespeare film, Chimes at Midnight (1965). In this production, Welles plays Falstaff and is understandably identified with the role, but it could be argued that he speaks more directly through Prince Hal, whose anxiety about inheriting the throne might be reflected in the way an American Shakespearian seeks to be accepted by the British keepers of the text. The words of Hal's father, Henry IV— Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown —might apply to Welles' American-inflected depictions of kings and princes who do not entirely believe in their own royal agency. The tension between Welles‘ brashness and his fretfulness created some of the most memorable Shakespeare in the cinema.
Abstract & KeywordsThis paper focuses on the genre of drolls as they were compiled in Francis Kirkman‘s collection The Wits or Sport upon Sport, published in 1672 and 1673. The anthology includes scenes from Hamlet or A Midsummer Night's Dream and draws upon characters like Falstaff and others. By description and analysis of these dramatic pieces, I would like to draw one's attention to the genre that is almost unknown to the history of English speaking drama. This article focuses on the process of rethinking Shakespeare so as not only to entertain people in the critical period of English history, but also to preserve the dramatic conventions that William Shakespeare and his contemporaries created. It also considers the changes the authors of the drolls made when adapting the parent plays of William Shakespeare.
Abstract & KeywordsThis paper examines the ways in which the seldom performed collaborative play, Edward III, was re-contextualised by Barbara Gaines, Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theater of Chicago, in order to create a specifically presentist piece of theatre making a forceful political statement during the 2016 US presidential election. Edward III formed the opening section of a trilogy entitled Tug of War: Foreign Fire, which continued with Henry V, and Henry VI Part I. The second trilogy, Tug of War: Civil Strife, comprised the remaining two parts of Henry VI and Richard III. The paper will address the rationale behind the selection of these specific plays, and why it was felt unnecessary to fill the historical lacuna created by the exclusion of Richard II and Henry IV Parts I and II. In addition, it will also examine the limitations inherent in the available archival material when researching an ephemeral theatrical event, particularly one which has been edited and directed in order to address issues of immediate political concern. Selected extracts from my own review of the first of these two trilogies will seek to offer a more detailed response than is possible for journalistic reviewers and to provide sufficient background to prove of benefit for future researchers.
Abstract & Keywords
In the history of Romanian literature, Mihail Sebastian (pseudonym of Josef M. Hechter) fares as a playwright, novelist, journalist and essayist who lived through most of the historical convulsions of the early 20th century – mainly institutionalised anti-Semitism – before he was killed in a traffic accident at the age of 38. His literary star however proved to shine posthumously, as more than fifty years after his death, following their publication in Romania, both his Journal 1935-1944 and his novel For Two Thousand Years were translated and published in French and English, stirring up a wave of international controversy as a result of their being read as historical and political documents.
Sebastian‘s worst years were the early 1940s when, practically destitute as a result of the antisemitic laws, he taught Romanian literature and Shakespeare‘s sonnets at a Jewish college in Bucharest, while avidly reading, studying and translating Shakespeare‘s works. Based on the only available information on the topic – Sebastian‘s Journal and translator Petre Solomon‘s recently published memoir (2016), this paper considers the relationship between Sebastian and Shakespeare. All through this most trying period of Sebastian‘s life, Shakespeare provided the backdrop to the unfolding events and moral support, as his readings of the Bard prove.