Playing the Poems : Five Faces of Shakespeare’s Sonnets on Czech Stages



Rok publikování 2023
Druh Kapitola v knize
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis The chapter addresses five post-2000 Czech theatre adaptations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, addressing the array of creative strategies and approaches to Shakespeare on the part of the respective producers. While all the productions in question touch on the basic tropes of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, such as relationships, sex and sexuality, and gender politics, the ways in which the source material is treated differ markedly. Shakespeare’s cult is both respected and deconstructed; the sonnets are reverently recited, but they are also turned into a vaudeville-like music performance; the image of love in the sonnets is both embraced and problematised. The chapter argues that this variety is possible due to the playwright’s status as an adopted national poet that goes back to the nineteenth century. Shakespeare is largely treated by Czech dramaturgy as a domestic cultural phenomenon that could be celebrated, but also freely appropriated, updated or rejected according to current needs. During their two and a half centuries of living with Shakespeare, Czechs have created an intimate relationship with the playwright, and the fact that even his poetry has entered the cultural mainstream through popular theatre adaptations testifies to his cultural importance to the Czech nation.
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