Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Volume 20, Issue 1, 2008
Volumes & issues
Volume 20, Issue 1, 2008
Author Brian PearceSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20 (2008)More Less
Viola : What country, friends, is this?
Capt. : I'm not quite sure, lady. Judging by the street names, we could be in Cuba or the Middle East. Put away that Zimbabwean passport until we know for absolute certain it's not South Africa. Hopefully we're in Illyria.
To reflect upon the current political situation in South Africa in relation to Shakespeare is deeply incongruous at times. Hence, in my last editorial, I shall confine myself to reflections on the journal itself, its achievements and potential.
Author Hui WuSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 1 –12 (2008)More Less
Two hundred and forty years after his death, Shakespeare was introduced to China. It was in 1856 that the British missionary William Muirhead mentioned the Bard of Avon in his Chinese translation of British history. In 1878, the first Chinese ambassador in Britain, Guo Song-tao, saw a performance of a Shakespeare play at the Lyceum Theatre in London. He was very impressed and recorded this in his diary. Today, the Chinese people can not only read Shakespeare in English and Chinese, but can also enjoy his plays on stage.
New music for Twelfth Night : reconstructing musical associations for the 50th anniversary performance of Shakespeare at Maynardville, Jan 2006Author Robert JefferySource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 13 –23 (2008)More Less
In January 2005, Federico Garcia Lorca's play Blood Wedding was staged in Cape Town as a collaborative dance production by two local companies, La Rosa Spanish Dance Theatre and Free Flight Dance Company. While involved in the process of writing, rehearsing and performing in the ensemble that supplied the live music for the show, a number of questions repeatedly surfaced, and I began to search for their answers. How many settings of Lorca's poems exist? Were there other settings of the ones that we were busy with? Surely settings of Lorca's songs would be valuable, and some record must be kept, perhaps by a trust preserving his works, or by the present holder of the copyright?
Source: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 25 –37 (2008)More Less
A common and acutely disabling myopia associated with localised Shakespeare studies is their tendency to make his work fill a canvas unnaturally, when the original context is far wider and less exclusive. The effect is to misinterpret the relative cultural weight and consequence of his presence. Shakespeareans are interested in Shakespeare, but that very concentration sometimes distorts the actual cultural relations within which the object of their interest finally subsists. In 1857, Archdeacon Nathaniel Merriman delivered two public lectures on Shakespeare under the auspices of the "General Institute" of Grahamstown.
Author Laurence (ed.) WrightSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 39 –61 (2008)More Less
Nathaniel Merriman's lectures on Shakespeare were published in 1857 and 1858. The first, "On the Study of Shakspeare," was delivered in the Court House, Grahamstown on the 2nd September 1857 to an audience of more than four hundred and fifty people. The second, "Shakspeare, as Bearing on English History," was given in the same venue two months later, on Friday, 6 November 1857, and was also well attended. The lectures were published under the auspices of the Committee of "The General Institute," which sponsored the lectures, and printed at the Anglo-African Office in the High Street. The Anglo-African newspaper was started by C.T. Campbell in 1853, and his press undertook jobbing printing as a side-line. A general background to the lectures in the context of nineteenth century Grahamstown is provided in the accompanying article.
Source: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 63 –64 (2008)More Less
What is today the National Arts Festival began, in 1974, with a Shakespeare Festival organised by Professor Guy Butler and colleagues to inaugurate the Monument complex on Signal Hill overlooking Grahamstown.
Though no longer the main offering, Shakespeare is still on the festival menu; there are no fewer than five 'Shakespearean' shows in 2007, and the bard's work has been Joburged, hiphopped, quarto'd, Zimbabwe'd and, would you believe it, even played 'straight'.
Romeo and Juliet : directed by Fred Abrahamse, Maynardville, Cape Town. 20 January-18 February 2007 : theatre reviewSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 64 –66 (2008)More Less
Every year, I try to be cynical about the phenomenon of open-air Shakespeare at Maynardville : the upper-middle-classness of it, the picnic-in-the-parkness of it. But every year it's hard to find fault with this exquisitely Capetonian rite. What, after all, can be bad about it, if it gets people watching high-quality Shakespearean productions? - gets them, moreover, to brave the occasional shower of rain; to support the Wynberg community by purchasing copious amounts of hot chocolate; to enter into the play-world, with its violent extremes of joy and grief; to follow, even to laugh at, the witty but convoluted repartee on stage (no less than the naughty jokes about coxcombs and daggers and other phallic objects).
"Something rotten in this age of hope", The HamletMachine : directed by Wesley Deintje. Rhodes University Theatre. 28 September 2007 : theatre reviewsSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 66 –68 (2008)More Less
Heiner Müller's most famous play (Die Hamletmaschine, 1977) has evolved into something of a familiar war-horse for student theatre. The United States in particular has taken to the work; indeed, it was meant in part for them : "Heil Coca-cola!" says the script. For today's South African ears this has become, very aptly, "Hail the Rainbow Nation!" What young director can resist it? Only eight pages in extent, the sparse yet densely referential text offers unfettered scope for interpretation and contextualization.
Mussolini's moment : The Merchant of Venice : directed by Roy Sargeant. Maynardville. January 2007 : theatre reviewsSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 68 –70 (2008)More Less
What an inspired choice of play for this year's Maynardville offering! With the national scene strewn with trials and rumours of trials, all of them vital to the quality of life citizens of this fair city beneath the beautiful mountain ('Belmont') may hope to enjoy in the future, Shakespeare's cliff-hanger about the use and abuse of the law couldn't be more apt.
Midrand Shakespeare Festival. Julius Caesar, Hamlet and Twefth Night : directed by Rohan Quince. Performed by Midrand High School learners and teachers, Midrand High School, Johannesburg. September 2007 : theatre reviewsAuthor Rohan QuinceSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 70 –72 (2008)More Less
Author Tony VossSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 73 –75 (2008)More Less
Scott Newstok's compilation of the work on Shakespeare of Kenneth Burke (1897-1993) covers nearly sixty years in the life of an influential "maverick American intellectual" (xvii). The earliest piece, "Psychology and Form", on Hamlet, was first published in 1925 in The Dial, which reflects Burke's descent from the U.S. tradition of Emerson. Burke was editor of The Dial for a time in 1923, and was the last recipient of The Dial award in 1928. The journal closed in 1929.
Author Jayne GloverSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 76 –78 (2008)More Less
The epigraph to this interesting volume on Shakespeare's sources is T.S. Eliot's comment in The Sacred Wood that the "good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn" (125). This is a fitting start to a book which takes as its task to show how "Shakespeare, like Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, is a weaver" (1), creating new stories and images from old.
Source: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 78 –79 (2008)More Less
In a post-feminist age of gender equality, we tend to conflate the functions of 'soul-mate' and romantic life-partner (regardless of sexual orientation) into the same person : one's spouse / partner is ideally one's best friend. Consequently the intimacy of male friendship, witnessed so often in Shakespeare and elsewhere in the writings of Renaissance Humanism, often surprises us. Our first assumption is usually that there is something homosexual going on, whereas (so MacFaul asserts) there usually is not. Rather we should understand male intimacy in Humanist literature as homoerotic rather than homosexual.
Source: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 79 –81 (2008)More Less
Gillian Day's Richard III forms part of a series published by the Arden Shakespeare on Shakespeare-in-performance. Dubbed the "Shakespeare at Stratford" series by its general editor, Robert Smallwood, each volume explores the history at Stratford of performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) of individual Shakespeare plays from 1945 until the present.
Author Rebecca FensomeSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 82 –83 (2008)More Less
The title of this book reflects its ambitious and broad-ranging scope. Its success will largely depend on the individual reader's own politics and views on the politics of Shakespeare criticism. For this is a conservative book, a detailed reading of a selection of Shakespeare's plays arguing for a coherent authorial vision and ethical scheme. It is also however complex, reasoned, and guided by the impetus to theorise and exemplify what Betteridge calls "ethical criticism".
Author Thomas JefferySource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 84 –85 (2008)More Less
If there is one theme that runs through this book on a more fundamental level than that of the broad view of Shakespeare in popular culture, it is the conflict between 'high' and 'low' culture as expressed in the conflict between Shakespeare traditionally viewed as elite or highbrow and his treatment in popular culture, or "Shakespeare remediation" (175) as Susanne Greenhalgh calls it.
Source: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 20, pp 87 –88 (2008)More Less