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OuterSpeares: Shakespeare, Intermedia, and the Limits of Adaptation

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    OuterSpearesis the first book to examine the full spectrum of past and present adaptations, and one that offers a unique perspective on the transcultural and transdisciplinary aspects of Shakespeare in the contemporary world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6936-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Performing Arts, Film Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction: OuterSpeares: Shakespeare, Intermedia, and the Limits of Adaptation
    (pp. 3-50)

    The word “intermedia” references a vast, ongoing set of practices associated with how narratives travel in and across media, in and through cultures. Intermedia occur when representation is reconfigured through an array of media and cultural forms that arise out of specific contexts, diffuse histories, technologies, and creative practices. The word intermedia, as cultural theorist Eric Vos describes it, characterizes “artistic phenomena that appear either to fall between established categories or to fuse their criteria” (1997, 325). Whether through being “between” media practices or synthesizing them, intermedial creation generates new forms of syncretic representation. Vos, in a useful discussion of...

  6. Part One: “Strange Invention”:: Shakespeare in the New Media

    • YouTube Shakespeare, Appropriation, and Rhetorics of Invention
      (pp. 53-74)

      Shakespeare-themed videos are plentiful on YouTube, where a rich range of offerings – clips ripped from commercial DVDs, actors’ audition videos, serious amateur art films, clever mashups, and irrepressible teen parodies – circulate constantly.¹ Despite the many differences among them, YouTube creations tend to be derivative, citing liberally from one another and from Shakespeare’s plays in other media, a clear indication of the intermedial contexts that YouTube makes possible. Some, adhering to a hacker belief that “information wants to be free,” preface their work with a cheery “No copyright infringement intended!” Many, although by no means all, could be considered...

    • “Is There an App for That?”: Mobile Shakespeare on the Phone and in the Cloud
      (pp. 75-112)

      The world is a mobile place and Shakespeare is at the heart of it. This rapid proliferation of mobile devices and apps, short for applications, in the past few years has radically altered how Shakespearean texts, performances, and adaptations are created, encountered, researched, and circulated globally.¹ While Shakespeare’s texts have been readily available online for years,² they are now easily accessed on ereaders and tablets through stand-alone content apps and web apps that link to the internet or sync via network Cloud storage. The user is no longer tied to the laptop or desktop computer to access Shakespeare’s works, but...

  7. Part Two: “These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends”:: Shakespearean Adaptation and Film Intermedia

    • Melted into Media: Reading Julie Taymor’s Film Adaptation of The Tempest in the Wake of 9/11 and the War on Terror
      (pp. 115-151)

      Julie Taymor’s filmic adaptation of Shakespeare’sThe Tempest(2010) may give filmgoers with memories of the terrorist attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001 an eerie déjà-vu. For example, unlike Shakespeare’s play, Taymor’s film doesn’t start in the midst of a raging tempest. Instead, much like Manhattan on the morning of the “9/11” terrorist attacks, Taymor’s film starts out forebodingly calm. In the background are the sea and a blue skyline. In the foreground is a dark sand tower balancing in the palm of Miranda’s hand. The silence finally breaks with a tense, slow crescendo of high-pitched violins...

    • Transgression and Transformation: Mickey B and the Dramaturgy of Adaptation: An Interview with Tom Magill
      (pp. 152-202)

      Directed and dramaturged by Tom Magill in 2007,Mickey Bis a feature-length film adaptation of Shakespeare’sMacbethdeveloped and performed by maximum-security prisoners inside Maghaberry Prison in Northern Ireland. Initially met with suspicion and local media controversy – before November 2009, public screenings could only take place with prior permission from the Northern Ireland Prison Service (Wray 2011, 340) –Mickey Bhas gone on to critical acclaim, winning awards such as the 2008 Roger Graef Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and receiving praise from Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Rea, Ken Loach, and Linda Smith, among others.Mickey B...

  8. Part Three: “All the Uses of This World”:: TV, Radio, Popular Music, Theatre, and the Uses of Intermedia

    • Slings & Arrows: An Intermediated Shakespearean Adaptation
      (pp. 205-229)

      Slings & Arrows, a three-season television series produced in Canada between 2003 and 2007, sets itself the unfashionable task of revivifying the Shakespearean corpus – the plays, poems, and the evolving theatrical, literary, and critical traditions attendant on them – and acquainting or reacquainting contemporary audiences with what it pointedly regards as the “timeless” pleasures of Shakespeare’s art. A popular and critical success, it is a consistently bardolatrous adaptation of Shakespeare, deriving many of its plots, characters, conventions, and themes from the plays and the backstage traditions informing their production. Not surprisingly, much of its considerable comic effect depends upon a...

    • Your Master’s Voice: The Shakespearean Narrator as Intermedial Authority on 1930s American Radio
      (pp. 230-256)

      Radio in the early twentieth century represented a leap forward in terms of the ability of communications technology to reach vast new audiences, creating the first truly mass media enterprise that extended beyond national, cultural, and ideological borders. The extensive possible scope of the medium was inhibited in the early, experimental days of radio (pre-1920) by the lack of a commonly accepted set of aural and narrative tropes. Radio’s success as a popular dramatic medium in the United States from the 1930s to the 1950s is at least partially attributable to the establishment of these tropes of storytelling, many of...

    • Sounding Shakespeare: Intermedial Adaptation and Popular Music
      (pp. 257-289)

      Ifmusic be the food of love, play on

      William Shakespeare,Twelfth Night, or What You Will(1.1.1; emphasis mine)

      See I’m a poet to some, a regular modern day Shakespeare

      Jesus Christ the King of these Latter Day Saints here

      To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me

      as a monger of hate and Satan a scatter-brained atheist

      But that ain’t the case, see it’s a matter of taste

      We as a people decide if Shady’s as bad as they say he is

      Or is he the latter – a gateway to escape?

      (Eminem, “Renegade”)²...

    • “Playing the Race Bard”: How Shakespeare and Harlem Duet Sold (at) the 2006 Stratford Shakespeare Festival
      (pp. 290-318)

      InReading the Material Theatre, Canadian theatre critic Ric Knowles examines the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and asks, “what, and more importantlyhowShakespearemeansat the Stratford Festival” (2004b, 106). Applying a method which will be elaborated in more detail below, Knowles concludes that the both the productions and “the discursive and material contexts from which those productions emerged” worked together to construct “Shakespeare” as a “multinational, historically transcendent product presented for the pleasure of a privileged and culturally dominant group of consumers” – particularly those consumers represented by the “exclusively white, male, and middle-aged” corporate sponsors depicted in the...

  9. Part Four: “Give No Limits to My Tongue … I Am Privileged to Speak”:: The Limits of Adaptation?

    • Patchwork Shakespeare: Community Events at the American Shakespeare Tercentenary (1916)
      (pp. 321-346)

      This chapter explores the ways in which the American celebrations of the three-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1916 drew on and creatively combined a range of cultural practices across different genres and media.¹ The Tercentenary was marked by traditional theatrical productions, such asHenry VIIIwith Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Cardinal Wolsey, an African American amateur rendition ofOthellowith Edward Wilbur Wright in the lead role, and the touring performances of several of Shakespeare’s plays by the Ben Greet Woodland Players. There were also forays into the fledgling medium of film: two versions ofRomeo and Juliet, Macbeth...

    • Upcycling Shakespeare: Crafting Cultural Capital
      (pp. 347-371)

      “Shakespeare” offers a liminal, intermedial space between branded, profit-generating, mass-market industry and independent, financially threatened, idiosyncratic cultural production. On the one hand, Shakespeare represents a multimillion-dollar business, concentrated in particular sites of cultural capital on both sides of the Atlantic such as Stratford-on-Avon, the London Globe, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Shakespeare Festivals of Stratford, Ontario, and Ashland, Oregon, and in college and school classrooms.¹ On the other, there is no one “authentic” Shakespeare text, as Stephen Orgel (2002) and others have argued, no definitive “script” for the plays or poems, which are in any case off-copyright and freely...

    • Beyond Adaptation
      (pp. 372-386)

      This essay is somewhat strangely situated at the conclusion of a collection focused on new media and intermedia inasmuch as I argue for a more or less unlimited field in which the ways of adaptation always operate, no matter the change in circumstances. There is nothing new or capable of unmitigated newness within this generalized regime. New media and intermedia are just the latest turns within this field. That being said, adaptation in general always manifests itself in the particulars of time and place. Not all finches, even within the Galapagos Islands, have developed long pointy beaks, but those that...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 387-392)
  11. Index
    (pp. 393-401)