Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Saffron Walkling on the UK Shakesfests; Globe-to-Globe video now available

Saffron Walkling has republished her apt and generous reflections on the three Arab Shakespeare productions that were part of Globe-to-Globe.  Originally on her personal blog, the piece is now on the BloggingShakespeare site, a good resource for materials on all the plays. She writes, in part:

Because all three productions were taking part in the World Shakespeare Festival in one week, their combined effect has prompted me to think about what the word Arabic conjures up for me, how diversely Shakespeare can be appropriated, translated and presented, and how the World Shakespeare Festival is trading in/constructing images of the Arab speaking world for its audiences. The latter is not necessarily as ethically dubious as it sounds, and I will attempt to unpack why a little later, but it is important to note that at least two of these productions were commissioned by the festival organisers.

Which reminds me that I spoke to Deborah Shaw about this issue in Stratford; she gave an eloquent defense of the RSC's non-Orientalist, non-condescending motives.  I need to write up that interview soon.  I also complained to Monadhil Daood and his cast, after watching Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad, that the bombs were too loud. They responded unanimously: "Well, you should hear what it's really like in Baghdad! They're much louder!"  So chalk one up for embodied presence, I guess.

Want to see the shows for yourself? Monadhil's previously hard-to-reach RJ in Baghdad (for which one had to take a train to Stratford-upon-Avon) is doing a short run at Lift at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, West London: June 28-30
And full video of the Globe productions, including Cymbeline and Richard II, is viewable online at least through October, thanks to the English Arts Council.
While it isn't quite "live, free, and on demand" as their web site promises (how could it be live?), it is amazingly cool to have these shows available for re-viewing and for those, including of course the original audiences back home in South Sudan or Palestine, who couldn't come to the Globe.

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