n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Rough-hewn Foundations : Lord Hamlet, Robin Malan (Ed.) : book review

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-582X



Riffling the pages of , the closing lines of Yeats' "Second Coming" spring to mind: "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

In many ways this tiny play script represents the culmination of a number of trends in Shakespeare studies over the past decade or so and, although inspiring, its structure and content make it a kind of "rough beast", albeit a more promising one than that in the Yeats poem. As an introduction the editor recounts a number of performances that he has been privileged to watch over a span of years, both abroad and in South Africa; these will, hopefully, some day, have a special archival import for the South African Shakespeare scholar who finally writes this country's history of Shakespeare performance. Malan's chronicle is followed by a "collage" of the play, put together for the purposes of classroom performance. Finally, the whole is rounded off with a number of quotations (from a surprising array of theatrical noteworthies) on Hamlet as a role.

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