Shakespeare in our time

Shakespeare in our time

Professor David Schalkwyk of Queen Mary University of London argues that the most significant developments in Shakespeare today are to be found not in academic work, but in the reimagining of the plays in different cultures around the world.

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I think we need that sense that you can understand share only if you use the archive to place him within his historical context my view is that the new energy for Shakespeare studies and also for Shakespeare as somebody who appeals to ordinary people non-academic people lies beyond the anglocentric world it lies in the world at large and that world has embraced Shakespeare completely and that world is not self-conscious about Shakespeare some kind of divine figure who represents Englishness or the greatest poet ever in his material to be to be worked and reworked and used and messed around with and I think that's where the energy – I like to think of Shakespeare as a language now the question of Shakespeare's universality always comes up and I think it's a very problematical notion because it suggests that there are core values that speak to everybody on earth but I think it's better to see Shakespeare as a universally available language that people can use as they wish and that language like all languages which has a history which have a history that language resonates with its previous uses every time you use words they always resonate with the way in which they've been used before and Shakespeare's particularly rich in this respect and there are unconventional ways of of the use of Shakespeare that are exemplified for example in the signal extraordinary production of King Lear in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan where Syrian children have put on a production of King Lear and that was followed in an even more extraordinary example by the same director in which he did Romeo and Juliet with the same children but one family was in the Satori camp and the other family was in Homs and they did it through Skype that's so far away from an RSC production of Romeo and Julia or even from a Beijing opera production of Romeo and Juliet but it's an example of the kind of resonance and humanity that Shakespeare represents for people across the world in the most harrowing circumstance the globe is a metaphor for the fact that Shakespeare proliferating in Andes valid anywhere around the world and I think that you know this this is manifest in countless numbers of ways and in the degree to which Russians and Japanese for example have made greater films about Hamlet and Lear than any english-speaking director or set of actors have it shown I think it's shown in the globe globe festival of 2012 the blurb blurb festival showed english-speaking people but also people from around the world just hard diverse and how excitedly diverse Shakespeare can be by putting on 37 plays into 37 different languages and I think that that this shows that Shakespeare doesn't have a home in any particular place and that his home is certainly not the United Kingdom or Stratford or London


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