Publication details

Sonnets on the Stage : Performing Shakespeare’s Sonnets on Czech Stages after the Year 2000



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The presentation will address five adaptations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets produced in Czech theatres produced between 2001 and 2019. Since the late 18th century, Shakespeare has been seen as an ally of Czechs, especially at the times of cultural, political and moral crises. This is one of the main reasons why Czechs have created an intimate relationship with Shakespeare, treating him basically as an adopted national poet. With this cultural status, even Shakespeare’s lyrical poetry has entered cultural mainstream, with multiple complete and partial translations of the sonnet cycle published within the last century alone. Given his popularity in the country, Shakespeare’s Sonnets have in recent years become a venue for dramaturges and theatre directors for addressing contemporary social and political (in a broader sense) issues (such as gender dynamic and sexuality) on the one hand, as well as a space for creative experiment (such as turning Shakespeare into a vaudeville production and his poems into jazz songs) on the other. In the past two decades, Czech theatre producers both revered and subverted Shakespeare and his iconic status, both accepted and rejected tropes in his works, and both respected and re-created his original words. The argument of the presentation is that it is the cultural importance that Shakespeare gained in the course of the turbulent 19th and 20th centuries that allowed Czech to treat the playwright as their own phenomenon that can be freely updated and appropriated according to the current social, political and artistic needs.
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