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Comrade Shakespeare: An Analysis of Theatrical Appropriations as Resistance in the Soviet Bloc

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This thesis explores the dialogue between William Shakespeare, Central and Eastern Europe during the Soviet experiment, and the power of performance as protest. Politically inflected plays that are transnational appropriations of Shakespeare were aimed to subvert state-sanctioned censorship in order

This thesis explores the dialogue between William Shakespeare, Central and Eastern Europe during the Soviet experiment, and the power of performance as protest. Politically inflected plays that are transnational appropriations of Shakespeare were aimed to subvert state-sanctioned censorship in order to enforce public socio-political interrogations of the Communist Party. My research first established a foundation for the site-specific historical and political context from which the interpretations stem, before examining the texts themselves as pieces of cultural resistance. I focused on four appropriations of Shakespeare’s plays, one being a rewrite of Richard III and three being rewrites of Hamlet: Nedyalko Yordanov’s The Murder of Gonzago from Bulgaria, Matei Visniec’s Richard III Will Not Take Place or Scenes from the Life of Vsevolod Meyerhold from Romania, Géza Bereményi’s Halmi, or the Prodigal Son from Hungary, and finally Boris Akunin’s Hamlet, A Version, a contemporary example of the lasting strength of Shakespearean appropriations. My research essentially followed the question of how countries from the Soviet bloc viewed its own contexts through the Shakespearean prism, as well as the phenomenon of political indictments being historically communicated through theater. I also examined how cultural representatives, for the purpose of this project being playwrights and dramatic performers, employ historically separate material to address the present issues. Ultimately, by researching pre- and post-communist dramas written within the architecture of Shakespeare, an understanding of the role and power of the artist in the political landscape can be attained.

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2018-05

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Self-silencing in the early modern theater

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This dissertation considers why several characters on the Early Modern Stage choose to remain silent when speech seems warranted. By examining the circumstances and effects of self-silencing on both the character and his/her community, I argue that silencing is an

This dissertation considers why several characters on the Early Modern Stage choose to remain silent when speech seems warranted. By examining the circumstances and effects of self-silencing on both the character and his/her community, I argue that silencing is an exercise of power that simultaneously subjectifies the silent one and compels the community (textual or theatrical) to ethical self-examination. This argument engages primarily with social philosophers Pierre Bourdieu, Alain Badiou, and Emmanual Levinas, considering their sometimes contradictory ideas about the ontology and representation of the subject and the construction of community. Set alongside the Early Modern plays of William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Thomas Kyd, these theories reveal a rich functionality of self-silencing in the contexts of gender relations, aberrant sociality, and ethical crisis. This multi-faceted functionality creates a singular subject, establishes a space for the simultaneous existence of the subject and his/her community, offers an opportunity for empathetic mirroring and/or insight, and thereby leads to social unification. Silence is, in its effects, creative: it engenders empathy and ethical self- and social-reflection.

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2011

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And Rosaline: A Contemporary Analysis and Reinterpretation of 'Romeo & Juliet'

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A 27k word reinterpretation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, focusing on the originally-secondary character Rosaline Capulet and viewing the relationships portrayed between the other characters in a different light through her presence. With hefty consideration of the historical circumstances

A 27k word reinterpretation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, focusing on the originally-secondary character Rosaline Capulet and viewing the relationships portrayed between the other characters in a different light through her presence. With hefty consideration of the historical circumstances that existed during Shakespeare's time, including factors ranging from to the death of Shakespeare's son at the age of eleven to the common immigration/trade routes existing in the late 1500s to the ways in which historical figures navigated ideas of gender and sexuality, 'And Rosaline' aims to take a compassionate approach to the story of the Capulet and Montague families and the lives of those around them. Finalized for the purposes of the Barrett Honors Creative Project as a story created in an open source format known as Twine 2.0, produced by Twinery Inc, 'And Rosaline' will be a commercial project available for purchase in Q4 2017 later distributed in Ren'Py.

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2016-12