Recent Shakespearean productions, just like current European crises, have highlighted the exclusionary nature of European identity. In defining the scope of this special issue, the aim of this introduction is to shift the study of Shakespeare in/and Europe away from the ideological field of “unity within diversity” and its attendant politics of negotiation and mediation. Instead, it investigates whether re-situating Shakespearean analysis within regimes of exclusionary politics and group conflict attitudes helps to generate dynamic cultural and social understandings. To what effect is Shakespeare’s work invoked in relation with the tensions inherent in European societies? Can such invocations encourage reflections on Europe as a social, political and/or cultural entity? Is it possible to conceptualize Shakespearean drama as offering an effective instrument that connects―or not―the voices of the people of Europe?
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Erll, Astrid and Ann Rigney. “Introduction: Cultural Memory and Its Dynamics.” Mediation, Remediation, and Cultural Memory . Eds Astrid Erll and Ann Rigney. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2009. 1-14.
Frijda, Nico H. The Laws of Emotion . New York: Routledge, 2007.
Gibson, Ian. Aventuras ibéricas. Recorridos, reflexiones e irreverencias . Barcelona: Ediciones B, 2017.
González Fernández de Sevilla, José Manuel. Introduction. Shakespeare and Cervantes. New Interpretations and Comparative
In 2012, Shakespeare’s Globe hosted the Globe to Globe Festival, which featured performances from thirty-seven international companies in their native tongues as part of the Cultural Olympiad in the lead up to the London Olympic Games. This paper explores the role that language played in the Globe to Globe Festival, and the way in which language mediated direction and translation of various plays, specifically in the rehearsal room in anticipation of the performance itself. Translating Shakespeare into thirty-seven different languages allowed the companies to think about the potential benefits of performing their play in a specific dialect or style for both audiences at the Globe and their own language and culture as well. This paper considers the impact of language barriers that existed even within individual companies, and shows that the specific choices around language informed the ways audience members understood and interpreted the narratives of the plays during the festival.
Ever since the first introduction of Shakespeare to a Japanese audience in the nineteenth century, his plays have functioned as “contact zones,” which are translingual interfaces between communities and their cultures; points of negotiation, misunderstanding and mutual transformation. In the context of what is ostensibly a monolingual society, Japanese Shakespeare has produced a limited number of performances that have attempted to be multilingual. Most of them, however, turn out to be translingual, blurring the borders of linguistic specificity.
As an example of this, I read A Midsummer Night’s Dream as adapted by Hideki Noda originally in 1992 and then directed by Miyagi Satoshi for the Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre in 2011. Drawing on my experience as the surtitle translator of Noda’s Japanese adaptation “back” into English, I discuss the linguistic and cultural metamorphosis of Noda’s reworking and the effects of its mediation in Miyagi’s rendition, and ask to what extent the production, adapted in post-March 2011 Japan, can be read as a “contact zone” for a translingual Japanese Shakespeare. In what way did Miyagi’s reading of the post-March 11 events inflect Noda’s adaption along socio-political lines? What is lost and gained in processes of adaptation in the wake of an environmental catastrophe?
This article addresses the key role of performance space in mediating between cultural locations. It discusses two Portuguese performances of Shakespeare where audiences were invited to become part of the performance and the ways in which this dehierarchization of the performance space framed a cross-cultural encounter between a globalized text and a localized performance context. In Teatro Oficina’s 2012 King Lear, both audience and performers sat around a large table in a production which reflected upon questions of individual and collective responsibility in Shakespearean tragedy and in the wider political sphere. In the middle of this performance space hung a large cube onto which the translated text was projected, setting up a spatial tension between text and performance that also foregrounded the translocation of the Shakespearean text to a Portuguese performance context. In Tiago Rodrigues’ 2013 By Heart, ten members of the audience were invited onstage to learn Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30 “by heart and not by brain.”1 In doing so, Rodrigues emphasized the cultural embeddedness of Shakespearean texts in a wider European cultural context and operated a subtle shift from texts to performance as a privileged repository for the cultural memory of Shakespeare. The article explores how these spatial shifts signaled the possibility of enabling cross-cultural identifications with Shakespeare through performance.
Teatro Praga’s (a Portuguese theatre company) adaptations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest omit what is usually considered crucial to a Shakespearean adaptation by giving primacy to neither text nor plot, nor to a stage design that might highlight the skill and presence of the actors, a decision arguably related to what the company perceives as a type of imprisonment, that of the lines themselves and of the tradition in which these canonical plays have been staged. Such fatigue with a certain way of dealing with Shakespeare is deliberately portrayed and places each production in a space in-between, as it were, which might be described as intercultural. “Inter,” as the OED clarifies, means something “among, amid, in between, in the midst.” Each of Teatro Praga’s Shakespearean adaptations, seems to exist in this “in-between” space, in the sense that they are named after Shakespeare, but are mediated by a combination of subsequent innovations. Shakespeare then emerges, or exists, in the interval between his own plays and the way they have been discussed, quoted, and misquoted across time, shaping the identities of those trying to perform his works and those observing its re-enactments on stage while being shaped himself. The fact that these adaptations only use Shakespeare’s words from time to time leads critics to consider that Teatro Praga is working against Shakespeare (or, to admirers of Henry Purcell, against his compositions). This process, however, reframes Shakespeare’s intercultural legacy and, thus, reinforces its appeal.
Rewriting Pre-Existing Narratives in Sofi Oksanen’s Purge
Anna Estera Mrozewicz
The article offers a discussion of Sofi Oksanen’s novel Purge, focusing on the book’s strategy of evoking stereotypical narratives about Eastern Europe, such as the (postcommunist) fallen woman and (Russian) return home narratives, as well as related intertexts, primarily Lukas Moodysson’s film Lilya 4-ever. I argue that Oksanen constructs the plot around clichés in order to challenge them in a subversive fashion, first and foremost, in the name of recuperating the notion of Home. Related to locality and the feeling of being at-home, where the wholeness of the (national) subject is possible, ‘home’ is staged as an alternative to stereotypes, associated with transnational travel and the apparatus of colonization. A significant counter-narrative embedded in the novel - and hitherto rarely discussed - is the exilic perspective with its idealization of the lost and imagined home(land). In Purge, this is mediated through the main character’s postmemory. By means of a postexilic narrative, home is reconfigured as a ‘third space’ - neither fully ideal and (ethnically) pure nor adhering to the aforementioned stereotypical narratives. The positive valorisation of home, despised by some critics as simplistic and conservative, does not prevent movement and dislocation from being included in the new experience of home(land) emerging from the post-Soviet condition.
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