Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Volume 22, Issue 1, 2010
Volumes & issues
Volume 22, Issue 1, 2010
Author Chris ThurmanSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp III –V (2010)More Less
During one of those serendipitous visits to the library (you know the kind - you head to the archives to find one thing and stumble across another altogether), I recently found myself reading an item in the July/August 1996 issue of the sadly short-lived Southern African Review of Books : a "Letter from Wits" by Leon de Kock. At the time, De Kock was a visitor to the University of the Witwatersrand; with some relish, I took the article up to his office - which is just around the corner from mine - and asked him if he had then imagined that, a little over a decade later, he would return to the campus as Head of the School of Literature and Language Studies.
Author Brian LeeSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 1 –6 (2010)More Less
Students of Shakespeare may be forgiven for overlooking the part played by Sossius in Antony and Cleopatra. An historical figure of some note in Josephus, he finds scant mention in North, Shakespeare's major source, as a fellow lieutenant of Ventidius, and has only an attenuated role in Act 3 Scene 1 as an exemplar of his "grand captain's" (3.1.9) jealousy. In fact he does not even appear, and the use his name is put to exceeds what history records. But it is important, for it reveals Antony's limitations even when he is militarily triumphant.
Author Arlene OsemanSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 7 –19 (2010)More Less
The far-reaching sway of Italy and all things Italian on the recuperation of classical arts and culture in England during the Renaissance is indisputable. Despite the rather limited physical contact between ordinary Italians and Britons during the early modern period, there is overwhelming evidence that Italian literature and culture made a decisive incursion into English thought and practice via both imported writings and word-of-mouth from adventurers, merchants, courtiers and immigrants. Hugh Grady argues that "such influences travelled discursively and need not have been direct to be meaningful" (Grady [A] 121). This influence is, of course, already discernable in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, in which he pays a kind of literary homage to the Italian Boccaccio's Decameron. It seems that Chaucer pioneered a transnational interchange which continued for centuries after his definitive work.
Source: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 21 –28 (2010)More Less
The idea for this paper came out of an interaction between two academics working in the separate fields of Mathematics and Drama Studies at Durban University of Technology. Our aim was to try and use a system dynamic analysis to chart the emotional and intellectual conflict within Hamlet's character, as revealed in his four principal soliloquies. To do this the first step was to attempt to quantify the extent of emotional and intellectual facets to parts of his speech. This paper gives what we think is the interesting result of this attempt.
Staging Roberto Bonati's The Blanket of the Dark : a twenty-first century vision of 'The Scottish Play'Author Marc DubySource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 29 –38 (2010)More Less
The Department of Music at Rhodes University inaugurated the International Spring Music Festival in 2009. One of the central educational goals of this festival is to provide a platform for student performers to interact with local and international music professionals and to exchange knowledge about performance practice through making music together. The shortage of informal venues for public performance and Grahamstown's relative physical isolation from major centres are factors that tend to limit possibilities for students to perform in front of an audience, and the festival provided a number of opportunities for this.
Author Mary JordanSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 39 –42 (2010)More Less
There is a mass of choices available to any interpreter of the Shakespearean canon. Views on presenting the works of the Bard might be bound up with how his plays were performed at The Globe in the sixteenth century and, using contemporary source material, we have to imagine that. Purists insist that it is not enough for today's scholars to know the territory through and through: they have to be able to communicate it in a way that emphasises the melodious language of the Elizabethans, preferably with a plummy sort of self-confidence. At the other end of the scale is the director who blurs the edges between the popular and the erudite, someone with the knack of clarifying and contextualising the script in a way that gives the text an up-to-date urbanity and daring.
Author Frances M. RingwoodSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 42 –54 (2010)More Less
John Kani's production of Othello premiered in April of this year at the Wits Amphitheatre, with an all-student cast pooled from Wits's own School of Arts and an interpretation fashioned for broad appeal, focusing on the noble Moor who loved "not wisely but too well" (5.2.347). The production came across as a theatrical training exercise, and it was chiefly the young actors and actresses who benefited from Kani and Sarah Roberts's experience as accomplished professionals. However, the play itself lacked its expected tragic force, as a result of a pronounced emphasis on the interpretative angle of Love (capital 'L') in the context of interracial marriage, which was promoted at the expense of the competing relationship between Othello and his demi-devil ensign, Iago.
Author Sandra YoungSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 45 –47 (2010)More Less
In his Director's Note, Marthinus Basson describes this production of Antony and Cleopatra in disarmingly modest terms: he tells us he "decided not to go with a 'high concept' but rather to focus on and explore the spaces between the fault-lines of the epic sweep and drama suggested by Shakespeare's text" (Basson n.p.). In doing so he "tried to give some weight to the little man, the loyal servant and follower, the slimy bureaucrat and the visionary". And yet we would be foolish to mistake Basson's considered approach here for interpretative docility.
Author Donald PowersSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 49 –50 (2010)More Less
It would be a mistake to think that one needs to reread A Midsummer Night's Dream before watching the latest offering in Nicholas and Luke Ellenbogen's "Raiders" series: a mistake because this production is not the Ellenbogens' reply to a favourite Shakespearean comedy but a playful and creative misreading of all of Shakespeare. That is to say, the Ellenbogens ostensibly take all of Shakespeare - his plays, his sonnets, his person - as their text, but it would be more accurate to say that Shakespeare serves as a pretext or sustained excuse for an exhibition of Raiders humour.
Author Simon Van SchalkwykSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 50 –54 (2010)More Less
As a young, black, female artist, Dada Masilo inhabits a position which affords her ample opportunity to refer to conventions of race and gender local to South Africa, even as she attempts to negotiate the difficult bond between the contemporary South African moment and its history of colonial and post-colonial relationship to Shakespeare's England. Her version of Romeo and Juliet is a fascinating example of the way in which creative artists map the border between the past and the present, and the difficult attempt to pay homage to inspirational precursors without sacrificing the integrity of their own creative vision.
Italian culture in the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries : rewriting, remaking, refashioning, Michele Marrapodi (Ed).
Desire and gender in the sonnet tradition, Natasha Distiller
Crossing time and space: Shakespeare translations in present-day Europe, Carla Dente and Sara Soncini (Eds). : book reviewsAuthor Pier Paolo FrassinelliSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 55 –58 (2010)More Less
Among the most outlandish stories that make up the Shakespeare myth, there is one which claims that the Swan of Avon was in fact Italian, or more accurately Sicilian. Shakespeare, so the story goes, was none other than John Florio's father, Michael Angelo Florio, the son of Giovanni Florio and Guglielmina Crollalanza, who escaped to England to avoid religious persecution and when he arrived there Anglicised his mother's maiden name, which is, in effect, a close approximation of Shake-spear. Although evidence is hard to come by, it is a great story, and there is no denying that Italy looms large in a major portion of Shakespeare's writing; even though, as Keir Elam notes in his essay in Italian Culture in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, "'At the cubiculo': Shakespeare's Problems with Italian Language and Culture", Crollalanza-Shakespeare's knowledge of Italian geography was somewhat shaky.
Women as Hamlet : performance and interpretation in theatre, film and fiction, Tony Howard : book reviewsAuthor Francis M. RingwoodSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 58 –61 (2010)More Less
Women as Hamlet (2009) is the paperback re-issue of Tony Howard's history of 'the woman Hamlet', which was first published in 2007. The work, begun in 1990, took a total of seventeen years to complete, and its publication date is contemporaneous with another important work relating to Hamlet studies and the body, Margareta de Grazia's 'Hamlet' without Hamlet (2007). It is divided into an introduction and three succeeding parts, including: a brief account of Angela Winkler's performance in Peter Zadek's Hamlet (1999); a history of performance up until Sarah Bernhardt's apotheosis; an analysis of the woman Hamlet on the avant-garde periphery of Europe; and a concluding discussion of her multiplication and refraction in popular culture. A combination of fictional re-conceptions of the female Hamlet, actresses' interpretations and myth - these accounts all interact and coalesce to finally enshrine the ephemeral qualities surrounding a transgendered approach to what Max Beerbohm conceived of as the great role.
Author Gerald GaylardSource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 62 –64 (2010)More Less
Obsolescence and anachronism, perhaps unsurprisingly, have been prominent in Southern African fiction of late, or perhaps just in Southern African fiction by white males. Most famously apparent in Coetzee's Disgrace and Vladislavić's The Restless Supermarket, this theme deals with the detritus of empire in the form of white males (David Lurie and Aubrey Tearle) who find themselves redundant and retired, respectively, in the context of 'the new South Africa' after 1994, and have to begin to scrape together some sort of new life. Much of the drama and amusement, again respectively, comes from both characters being not much up to the challenge. In both cases they are somewhat set in their ways and full of the assumptions and easy judgements that a lifetime cosseted within the safety net of apartheid's sheltered employment allowed. Both rail against the plenitude of errors and injustices that accompany the inversion of the racial hierarchy that leaves them high and dry, and find themselves unable (and perhaps more importantly, unwilling) to overcome their ingrained prejudices and values. Moreover, both protagonists find their resources limited and both are thrown back on a level of basic skill that they have utterly forgotten about for many decades. However, the fact that both novels have been well-received - the former winning the Booker Prize in 1999 and the latter the Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2002 - and have become mainstays of post-apartheid literary culture and education, suggests that the more things change the more they stay the same; in other words, decades, even centuries, of preeminence cannot just be swept away.
Author Thomas JefferySource: Shakespeare in Southern Africa 22, pp 65 –68 (2010)More Less
According to the acknowledgements page, Ian Martin's self-published novella Pop-Splat "is a contemporary take on Shakespeare's Hamlet"; and, according to the blurb on the back cover, the author "looks at today's South Africa through cynical eyes and uses his unique brand of sick humour to satirize a sick society".