Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Holderness on Al-Bassam

Graham Holderness has an article on Sulayman Al-Bassam's Shakespeare adaptations in the current European Journal of English Studies (Vol 12, No. 1, April 2008 , 59 - 77). Abstract:
This article addresses the writing and performance work of Anglo-Kuwaiti director Sulayman Al-Bassam, tracing the development of his various adaptations of Shakespeare's Hamlet into English and Arabic 'cross-cultural' versions between 2001 and 2007. Al-Bassam's work presents English as a 'language in translation'. His works move from early modern to modern English, from Arabized English to Arabic, from one linguistic and geographical location to another, their forms moulded and remoulded by complex cultural pressures. The study focuses on specific examples from three adaptations to show in practice how in these works English is 'constantly crossed, challenged and contested'.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Villain Steals the Show (Claudius article)

The current Journal of Arabic Literature has my piece on versions of Claudius in post-1975 Arab appropriations of Hamlet. Basically I argue that he turns into an invincible monster, a political Leviathan and sexual Minotaur who takes up the whole space of the play, leaving no space for real politics. I'm grateful to the anon. reviewer who made me figure out what I mean by "politics"... this pushed me to realize that you can in fact have power without politics, i.e., without members of a society having an opportunity to exercise their political natures in the Aristotelian sense. But what would political theatre or political agency mean in a context like that?
Anyway, here's the link:
When the Villain Steals the Show: The Character of Claudius in Post-1975 Arab(ic) Hamlet Adaptations JAL 38:2, 196-219.

Bayer on Arab Merchant of Venice

Periodically when you're talking about Arab Shakespeare appropriation some mischievous soul will ask: "So, what do they do with The Merchant of Venice?" It's a good (if not nice) question. Now we can refer it to Mark Bayer's article in the current issue of Comparative Drama:

Mark Bayer, "The Merchant of Venice, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and the Perils of Shakespearean Appropriation," Comparative Drama Volume 41 (Winter 2007-08 ), No. 4. See Project Muse for PDF and HTML.

Haven't read it yet, but Bayer's SAA paper on the same topic (2006) was interesting.

The Arab League translation of MV (nice cover art, folks):