‘For they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time’: Negotiating Shakespearean Characters in Performance from Past to Present
In criticism, relying on character study or treating Shakespearean characters as real
people, has often been censured. But, in performance, where actors especially need to
get under the skin of the characters they portray, Shakespearean personae do exhibit
some kind of biographical reality.
Representations of the Shakespearean characters in performance in the last 400 years,
both globally and locally, have been various and multiple, not only influenced by the
actor’s and director’s interpretations but also by the geographical location of where the
performance is taking place and its historical specificity, socio-political climate and
unique and often indigenous performative traditions. That is why although the lines that
characters speak in Shakespeare’s play-texts are the same (even if translated in
another language), in performance over the times, the ‘idea’ of the character changes,
so much so that for example, today, the three witches of Macbeth have been
transformed to a spirit in the guise of an old woman in Kurosawa’s Throne
of Blood and to two policemen in Vishal Bharadwaj’s Maqbool, all influenced by the
This seminar proposes to look at the characters in Shakespeare’s plays that have in the
world of performance, be it theatre, cinema, and mass media, evolved with time and
exhibited a life of their own especially in Asia and the implications this has on the
metaphorics of the world and stage in Shakespeare’s time and now. Their stories reveal
the interpretative and performative trends which have led to the popularization of
Shakespeare in Asia.
Papers may include, but are not limited to, how Shakespeare’s characters have been
used to generate meaning in Asian culture at different points of time, and whether or not
the various spin-offs tell us something new both about Shakespeare’s characters and
plays as well as the culture which is performing it.
A 250-word abstract for a paper and brief bio-data must be sent by 15 July
2016 for the International Conference of the Asian Shakespeare Association to the
Seminar Proposer/ Leader Dr. Paramita Dutta at firstname.lastname@example.org and the
administration office at <email@example.com>.