During this last year, I have become a bit of an explorer discovering and sharing news stories concerning Shakespeare from around the globe. For my first post, I traveled no further than the Globe Theatre itself, as the Shakespearean world came to London during summer 2012. In conjunction with London’s hosting of the Olympics, Shakespeare was the center of the Cultural Olympiad, from the World Shakespeare (70+ Shakespearean productions—both British and international–that toured the UK) to the innovative and ambitious Globe to Globe performances, 37 plays performed in 37 languages this summer at London’s Globe Theatre.
Since then, I have covered different countries, regions, and continents (and hope to cover many more in 2014):
- Shakespeare in India Part 1, Part 2
- Shakespeare in Carriacou
- Shakespeare in Brazil
- Shakespeare in New Zealand
- Shakespeare in Australia
- Shakespeare in Japan
- Shakespeare in Italy
I’ve been able to conduct interviews with Global Shakespeare scholars, film directors, and theatre practitioners, learning so much on Shakespeare’s global influence in the process:
- Professor Mark Burnett, Queen’s University, Belfast
- Professor Alexa (Alex) Huang, George Washington University and
- Professor Margaret Litvin, Boston University
- Ing K, director of Shakespeare Must Die
- Guy Roberts, CEO & Artistic Director of the Prague Shakespeare Company
I’ve had the opportunity to review works such as the Italian prison documentary Caesar Must Die, the Nelson Mandela-inspired Royal Shakespeare Company production of Julius Caesar, offer lists of relevant calls for papers, and turn to issues of multilingual,multiracial, and multiethnic productions in the USA, Canada, and the UK.
A Great Feast of Languages has even been cited in several Shakespearean news venues over the last year!:
- “European Summer Shakespeare Festivals” has been incorporated into Hardy M. Cook’s extensive list of Shakespeare’s Plays and Festivals on Shaksper: the Global Electronic Shaksper Conference
- Several of our interviews, as well as Josh Magsam’s review of Global Shakespeares, have been excerpted and shared on MIT Global Shakespeares Video and Performance Archives
- The articles on Shakespeare Must Die even appeared on a Thai PBS news story on the film
The biggest news story I have covered is the ongoing saga of the Thai film, Shakespeare Must Die.
Serendipitously, I came across a snippet of a story about the documentary Censor Must Die. I composed a short piece on the documentary and soon ‘friended’ Shakespeare Must Die on Facebook, receiving a thank-you message for running the story, as the film has not received much attention in U.S. and U.K. media. I decided to email the director Ing K and asked for an email interview; this was the beginning of a long-distance and long-term email correspondence. A full-length version of the interview with director Ing K is available on MIT Global Shakespeares and an edited version on TSS. The film’s trailer is now also available and introduced on MIT Global Shakespeares.
The story of Shakespeare Must Die is far from over and I plan on continuing coverage in 2014. While Censor Must Die has been exempt from the censorship board as a documentary film (but still not widely available in theatres afraid of repercussions for showing the film), Shakespeare Must Die remains banned in its homeland. Nevertheless, the film has started to garner international acclaim–winning two major awards at the Tripoli film festival–, and both Shakespeare Must Die and Censor Must Die will be screened at theAsian Shakespeare Association‘s inaugural conference in Taipei and director Ing K will be speaking about her films. After two months of protests against current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the fear that her brother, the ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, may return from exile, the politics of Shakespeare Must Die are more topical and relevant than ever.
Last week, I gave my first presentation on Shakespeare Must Die for the Ohio State University’s English Graduate Organization Symposium, Global Networks, Global Perspectives. Entitled “This Macbeth IS Not Yet Rated: Banning Shakespeare in Thailand,” my twenty-minute paper introduced the saga of the film’s controversies, censorship, and political allusion; my interviews and interactions with Ing K; and an analysis of how the metatheatrical and metacinematic moments of the film underscore issues of power and censorship.