DescriptionSeminar 5: Intermediality in Shakespeare: Transmedial and Transcultural Transpositions, Adaptations & Appropriations During periodic closures of London’s performance venues for his plays on account of the plague outbreaks, Shakespeare—apocryphally at least—spent his time working on major new dramatic works. There were no live-streamings or encore digital screenings of his back catalogue for the edification of his eager fanbase, of course, merely a patient wait for theatres to re-open after what passed for lockdown in the Early Modern era. This year’s closure of theatres worldwide due to COVID-19 has focused, as never before perhaps, on Shakespeare in other media, formats and styles: event theatre, as a substitute for live performances, has included free digital screenings of the 2012 Globe-to-Globe international celebration of Shakespeare in diverse languages and theatrical modes and conventions. These on-screen theatrical events have in turn highlighted the dizzying proliferation of Shakespearean transpositions, adaptations, appropriations and remediations available to audiences of all descriptions in the digital age, and widely disseminated through social media platforms. Remote access to alternative Shakespeare cultural products has also promoted intersections between various aesthetic practices and media that are normally considered unconnected, including music, dance, cinema, television and video, via digital technologies. Such adaptive strategies, frequently involving inter-semiotic and transmedial content transfer, can also extend to other applications of Shakespeare texts, for pedagogic and therapeutic purposes, for example, as well as to many popular-culture contexts such as spoof comedies and whimsical consumer- or tourist-oriented commercial ventures. Indeed, when we consider Michael Bristol’s formulation of this hydra-headed, celebrity-like presence of ‘Big-time Shakespeare’, the epithet seems even more appropriate now than when Bristol first came up with it in 1996. The essential reciprocity of world theatre forms and media, as well as the speed and convenience of cultural exchange and consumption, has still not eclipsed the attractions of the stage production, whether live or electronically broadcast. Ultimately, though, all of the Shakespeare experienced today is filtered in such a way that the respective representations, no matter how seemingly ‘authentic’, must be positioned at some point along a continuum of adaptations and appropriations. Do these ‘viral’ developments in Shakespeare practices offer us merely another exemplar of global monoculture, or rather an opportunity for creative pluralism and for a radical break with hegemonic traditional discourses? Our seminar will respond to this multiplicity of Shakespeare adaptation initiatives in whatever form, medium, language or style the contributors wish to propose. An emphasis on Asian interventions in global Shakespeare—to cite the title of a forthcoming study—is welcome for this seminar, but by no means exclusive to its scope.
|6 Nov 2020
|Seoul, Korea, Republic of