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152 CHAPTER-5 PERFORMANCE BASED CONTRIBUTIONS The pages of Hamlet Studies document articles on productions and cultural adaptations that recur regularly on Western stage and continually on Indian stage. As these are open to new ideas and concepts, productions tend to epitomize theatrical practice as being reworked variously. This chapter opens interrogation of western and eastern producers’ artistic effectiveness, i.e. Do these productions have the tendency to turn interrogations (?) into exclamations (!). Critical approaches such as Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Postmodernism, etc. underline articles such as “‘In my mind’s eye”: Postmodern (Re)visions of Hamlet’; “Play[ing]’s the thing”: Hamlet on the Indian Stage; “Hamlet and Oedipus : A Protest”; “The III Act Hamlet: a Feminist Extension/Reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.” A Response to “Hamlet Reworked as the Princess of Denmark”; “Joseph Papp Presents Hamlet”; “Heiner Muller’s Staging of Hamlet For the Deutsches Theatre, Berlin, 1990-91”, respectively. Yet another source of critical study is the performance-based contributions to the journal. Certain performance based contributions are in terms of critical approaches to the play while others are cultural adaptations. Productions lend credence to watching the play. Jeanie Grant 153 Moore discusses Adrian Noble’s 1993 RSC production that showcases blurring of boundaries between play-within-a-play and the play: The stage audience faced the theatre audience and the Mousetrap actors performed in profile for both. The two audiences stared through the players at each other as if seeing a mirror reflection; the theatre audience was thus drawn into the play: mirroring the actor/audience, spectators became actors as well, participating in watching the Mousetrap and being observed by the onstage audience members just as the latter were observing them. Caught by the gaze, the viewer no longer occupies the privileged position of seeing unseen, and the inner/outer dichotomies created by the play-within-a-play as well as by the play itself, are deconstructed (qtd. in Moore 55). The productions bring to light the working of a text, the latest interiority of the figures on stage. The Mousetrap, suggests Moore, is an external dramatization of Hamlet’s mind. All roads lead to—the quest for a definite meaning and a centre which in Derrida’s view is unattainable: The “matrix” of metaphysics is the determination of Being as presence in all senses of this word. It could be shown that all the names related to fundamentals, to principles, or to the 154 center have always designated an invariable presence—eidos, arche, telos, energeia, ousia (essence, existence, substance, subject) aletheia, transcendentality, consciousness, God, man, and so forth (qtd. in Moore 56). He further says, “the wish to discover an inner, cohesive Hamlet arises from the same metaphysical notion that one can find a complete presence, inner meaning and a center” (Moore 56). But the play is foregrounded with displacements deferring presence, decentering sight and thus destabilizing meaning. Spatial and temporal displacements hold the play: The dumb show tells a story that has already happened, and at the same time, tells the story that is about to happen, so the present (which is not the present but the displacing time of the play) is displaced by the past and future simultaneously… Second, the staging of the Mousetrap and the staging of the onstage audience de-centers the sight of the theatre audience watching the play… Hamlet, too displaces his character; ‘he sees and he is seen by both audiences as he repeatedly shifts from performer to observer, interacting with and disrupting both performances… Similarly, Claudius sees, and is being seen by Hamlet, by the two audiences, by the actors in the Mousetrap play as it re-enacts the murder, and by the Hamlet 155 present in traces through the Lucianus figure and moreover, …when a king is killed there is no center—there is only displacement (57-58). Thus, denying a stable and a cohesive meaning to the play and it is subject to endless rounds of critical analysis. Another contributor to Hamlet Studies, Poonam Trivedi discusses the deconstruction of the play by itself, in the article “Play(ing)’s the thing: Hamlet on the Indian Stage.” The Indian Hamlet is apparently different from the Shakespearean one. Taking humanity as a whole, Shakespeare conceived Hamlet but on the Indian Stage, in 1992, Salim Ghouse, the actor-director produces “a transition man…. a bridge between the past and the future… a Gorbachov figure, willing to take risks” (qtd. in Trivedi 72). This play witnesses metatheatricality; characters are, as given in the article, introduced by the player King and Queen. Though the attention is centred on Hamlet, delay or revenge does not seem to be his concern. With Shakespearean characters, he presents a different story. Hence, meaning is continually changed and deferred and it’s a play of presence-absence. The actor-director Salim Ghouse says: I don’t have the burden of history when doing Shakespeare. I’m not trying to imitate, rather trying not to be intimidated. 156 I am trying to tell a story from my position, in Shakespeare’s words and my voice (qtd. in Trivedi 73). Poonam Trivedi considers it an experimentation with the bard, which however, excites the audience. Another production is Asit Bose’s Kolkatar Hamlet (Calcutta’s Hamlet) which poses Hamlet as a Prince on the streets than of any state like Denmark. The position of a royal and a noble King, i.e. the Old Hamlet is destabilized. The Indian production is an immediate reaction to the killing of playwright-actor Satyen Mitra on the Streets of Calcutta. As Asit Bose conceives the situation of play, Satyen Mitra makes a ghostly appearance: …I conceived a situation where someone I had met and talked to the evening before, is killed at midnight, and when I discover and stand before the dead body the following morning, Stayen-da stands up and challenges me, So nobody did a thing, nobody said a word ! (qtd. in Trivedi 74). Kolkatar Hamlet is described “as one who found a personal consummation in the violence with which they challenged State and Society” (qtd. in Trivedi 74). Shakespearean Hamlet dons upon madness to identify the whole situation. The Indian production, however, failed to engross and attract the audience for a long time as it lacks the reinforcement that the original Hamlet possesses. 157 John K. Hale examines some of the recent film versions. He discusses 1948 Olivier film on Hamlet. The staging explores traces of Oedipal relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude. In Act One Scene two, Gertrude in mainly concerned with affecting Hamlet’s opinion to stay at Denmark instead of going back to Wittenberg, at once. She “kisses him on the mouth with warmth” (Hale 108). Neither was it mentioned in the script nor was it a cultural practice in Britain in 1940s. Thus Olivier suspects signs of Oedipal relationship. The same scene is re-enacted in Zeffirelli film of 1990 in a weird way. The difference lies in the attitudes of Hamlet and Gertrude. This different attitude also indicates strands of Oedipal relationship. As Hamlet agrees to stay with Claudius and Gertrude, …, she embraces him; he sinks to his knees, and embraces her waist from the position, eyes staring moodily. There is much further bodily contact between mother and son in the so-called Bedchamber scene (3.4) (109). Hale offers further clarification of bed chamber, i.e. a scene in a closet—a private sitting room and not bed room. In 1600, it was a practice with queens to deal with visitors in their closet. Though it is copiously found in film versions but traces of Oedipal relationship cannot be traced between Hamlet and his father Hamlet Sr. as there exists harmonious ties. Hamlet is full of devotion, love and adulation for him. Claudius stands out in stark 158 contrast to Old Hamlet. Hamlet dislikes his step-father. The moment poignantly suggests the limits of psychoanalysis and the angle from which Hale presents Hamlet-Claudius-Gertrude triangle in understanding and channeling deep emotional urges. Hale protests: How comes it, then, that the Oedipus complex has proved such a beguiling idea for Shakespearean directors and other interpreters? Why do they follow the slight, oblique similarities between Hamlet and Oedipus in preference to the obvious, salient differences? Discounting as unworthy cynicism the thought that having cast a male and a female megastar as Hamlet and Gertrude and paid them astronomical wages, the director wants to get the biggest possible emotional throb from their interactions, not least in the “Bedchamber” scene, and discounting likewise, the thought that academics can be reluctant to abandon a smart idea even in the absence of hard evidence, I will state the residual appeal of the idea to an open mind, before urging the more convincing position, that the Oedipus idea has a bad effect on interpretation, because it obscures so many more certain, more textually-evidenced features of the prince’s personality (111). There exists filial bond between the two, who are “close but have become 159 estranged” (113). This is evident from closet-scene in which both of them rebuke each other one after the other though Polonius gets killed by mistake but their battle of words continues rendering around family and Hamlet Sr. and soon Hamlet reconciles by forgiving Gertrude for her wrong deeds. “It is a moment of moral reconciliation, not an erotic patchup” writes Hale in “Hamlet and Oedipus: A Protest” (113). He goes on to say: It is also, in the end, a moment of pause, and calm, even though tragically enough the calm lasts only for a few lines and is over before the scene is. Still and all, it exemplifies what Aristotle said about the most tragic plot, that it shows people who are near and dear to one another doing terrible things to one another and suffering them from one another (113-114). At last, he says, Aristotle’s peripeteia and anagnorisis underlie this scene. The hermeneutics of Sir Lawrence Olivier’s 1948 film version draws Freudian implications, particularly, in Hamlet’s famous soliloquy: ‘To be, or not to be’ in (Act III Scene I): In the Freudian fashion, Olivier’s Hamlet depicts the symbolic triple equation of ocean, the unconscious, and death. In this scene particularly, Freudian dream symbolisms and Jungian 160 archetype coalesce: for both psychologists the ocean can represent death (and rebirth) and the unconscious simultaneously (Baumlin 43). Hamlet Studies also presents Hamlet on feminist stage production. Premiered in Budapest in May 1992, a feminist Hamlet has carved a space for feminist theatre on the Hungarian stage. Rani Drew traces the trajectory of Hamlet reconstructed on feminist grounds. Jacques Lacan’s theory of socialization—a tool in giving it a desired shape. As the title suggests, the feminist play covers three Acts of the Shakespearean play. While the distinctiveness lies in creating a framework that places a Prologue before every Act of the play (in the style of Pericles) and an Epilogue afterwards (in the inner frame) in showcasing a female protagonist rather than the male, unchained of prohibitions, breathing in a free air, with two selves projected in the inner and the outer frame: text I and text II—the real self and illusory, i.e. Ghost. In Derridean terms, she is also a signifier: “In the feminist text, Ophelia becomes the seen signifier, in that she destabilizes the whole patriarchal structure, shifting the power structures by making them the object of her conscious gaze” (Drew 125). Ophelia of “The III-Act Hamlet: a Feminist Extension/ Reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Hamlet” is not a grief-stricken character with a feeble personality. Rani Drew endows her with qualities such as 161 subjectivity, creativity, consciousness of the Other, etc. that blossom her personality; gear up the courage to enact the drama of social oppression and the encouragement to recognize and reveal the emptiness of patriarchal power that bases the male-female relationship on gender. In this context, consider the feminist parody of Hamlet staged by Susan Triesman at the University of Strathdyde, wherein Ophelia acquires a leading role. In “The III Act Hamlet: a Feminist Extension/Reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Hamlet”, the performance stage is a feminist stage where we find feminist argument concerning gender difference. On the stage, are placed a bench and a stool to be used by the actors but basically the bench “remains a seat of male privilege” (127). Ophelia uses it in Prologues but the stool, which is placed at “a diagonal angle downstage left” (126) for Ophelia and which is never used by her. Even the music that is played also contributes to gender orientation: drum beat, military uniform and war for the male world; and flute sound, child’s laughter for the non-linguistic dyad of mother and child (127). The Shakespearean Hamlet shows the Ghost of Hamlet Sr. to sound Hamlet of the King’s death but in the III-Act Hamlet Ophelia is presented as a Ghost to notice female oppression, and male hegemony in young and old generation groups. She directs a dumb-show in which there is an 162 authoritarian father, a male child, a female child and their mother. When the father shows strictness, the male child, at once “is terror-stricken. As the father draws his sword and tries to threaten the child, his hand immediately goes to his genitals in an attempt to protect them against the advancing sword” (129). The female child on the contrary returns to the mother. Even the male child also tries to return to the mother but the mother shows helplessness and directs the boy to go to his father. Thus, Ophelia observes: It is in the moment of separation on a gender basis that Ophelia gains the consciousness of how so early in life prohibition and fear are put on the girl, and how the boy is led away to serve the patriarchy with promises of power and privilege (129). Prologue II discusses the way young generation, i.e. Laertes liberates himself from the paternal authority and the espionage against the young: Looking back on her life she sees how Laertes’ desire to escape his father’s grip to fun-seeking Paris motivates Polonius to spy on him through a young servant (a short dumb show is enacted here with Polonius and Reynaldo appearing as backdrop to Ophelia’s lines), and all in the name of fatherly love (130). 163 Even Hamlet is spied upon by Claudius. Hamlet sets up a counter-system of espionage against Claudius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and Polonius and he also uses child-actors. The Prologue II ends with these lines: Mark, then, the players and the played, The powerful and the weak, the old and Young, and men against women and children— The stuff of games, war and art (qtd. in Drew 131). Rani Drew writes in Prologue III, Ophelia distances herself from the man she loved. She sees him-ruthlessly exploitative of the child actors he admired as artists, brutally oppressive to the woman he loved, and inhumanly bullying the mother he honoured (132). “The Dame as Dane: A Comparative Analysis of Two Female Hamlets” presents a distinctive study, that sex is not a barrier in performing the role of Hamlet. Female actors can well-perform—actresses such as Charlotte Crampton, Eliza Warren, Alice Marriott of eighteenth and nineteenth-century received maximum applause and attention from the critics. In the recent years, Dame Judith Anderson has very well-performed the role at the age of seventy-two. I don’t think of Hamlet as either male or female—the role is asexual… Sure, I’m old, but I am sick and tired of you writers 164 who keep dwelling on that… . What I do on the stage is what counts (qtd. in McCauley 113). Judith was dressed to suggest a Danish look (black tunic, tights and boots) in a two-hour production. She tries to imitate the original Hamlet, says McCauley: Dame Judith’s rich, deep voice was clearly projected and immaculately phrased. She delivered the soliloquies and great speeches slowly, deliberately punctuating them with long dramatic pauses (113). Her emotional display are: “O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!” (2.2.544); “The play’s the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.” (2.2.600-01); Even in a nunnery scene, Hamlet requests earnestly to evince his ardent love to Ophelia. In 1982, Joseph Papp introduced a thirty-year-old Hartford native—Diane Venora with an aim to produce a noble, classical Hamlet. This youthful protagonist both in voice and body, stands in starker contrast to Dame Judith Anderson. McCauley describes Joseph Papp’s preparations: Papp chose an elegant early nineteenth-century setting for the production on the basis that a more modern style of pants disguises an actress in a male role better than Renaissance garb. Miss Venora wore a long, dark, close-fitting military 165 jacket with a high collar and ornate gold trim, a wide sash at the waist, and boots, her hair in a boyish cut. The rich, elegant costumes were appropriate for the grand acting area at the Anspacher Theater at Papp’s Greenwich Village complex, The Public (115). Still, the critics and audience felt that she failed to sustain a well-defined, unified concept of character. At times, she is childish in taunting Polonius and girlish in weeping too often. In Sarah Berhnhardt’s view, the rationale for casting female as Hamlet concerns his sexual identity; “I cannot see Hamlet as a man. The things he says, his impulses, his actions entirely indicate to me that he was a woman” (qtd. in McCauley 117), the article ceases with the idea that projection of female actors as Hamlets is a new area to delve in for the scholars. Besides Diane Venora, Joseph Papp’s production showcases a marble world—where from walls to benches everything is marbled. Also, there are silent characters such as Cornelius, one of the ambassadors to Norway; a woman player who does not act in The Murder of Gonzago but is present when the players arrive and listen intelligently to Hamlet’s advice. The play is worth-seeing, as Bernice Kliman says, just because of two principal women characters, sweetly attractive Ophelia and dynamic Gertrude. Even in terror, Ophelia retains her dignity. Though Hamlet is brutal to her, yet she remains at peace. She 166 adores Laertes and Polonius. On knowing Hamlet’s love for Ophelia, Gertrude, the queen, looks at her appraisingly and returns Hamlet’s letter to her. The relationship between Gertrude and Claudius is not enriched with love, it rather becomes troublesome. After Polonius’ death, he approaches Gertrude and she tries to make love and Claudius extends his anger, but suddenly holds himself and starts embracing her. There is a kind of simultaneous attraction and revulsion. As Hamlet’s mother, she is passionate, intelligent and complex person. On the other hand, the audience finds Horatio a coward as he doesn’t follow the Ghost, and Hamlet a valiant man. Bernice W. Kliman sums up, This production, by the excellence of most of its female actors, hinted that a woman might indeed play Hamlet, particularly if she had the physical presence to carry off the part so that she would not have to look and sound like an adolescent boy (110). In their production, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, players made Prince Hamlet the Princess of Denmark and presented it at the meeting of The Shakespeare Association of America (Cleveland, 1998). Robert F. Fleissner has written about this production in “Hamlet Reworked as Princess of Denmark” (Vol. 22). Robert L. Reid writes in A Response: The production kept me thinking. Many of the changes seemed 167 to “work”, reinvigorating territory that is far too familiar— especially in the way they provided a new range of meaning and motivation within the Polonius family, and in the way they revised the Ghost—Freud’s “Oedipal Complex” partly replaced by more of a “Lear Complex” (with the ghostly father actually lifting her up into the air at one point!) (126). Furthermore, he suggests the possibility of a strong lesbian Hamlet for “play’s universality, as well as its infinite adaptability to the changing cultural idioms” (Reid 126). The Warehouse Theatre produces “A Hamlet for Generation X”. Now, Hamlet has been adopted on the postmodernist stage. Simple and conversational English is being used accomplished by the elimination of many scenes. Much of the play witnesses characters in contemporary dress. James R. Andreas Sr. considers “Hamlet is clearly “the thing” in this play,….” (130). The role of Hamlet is played by Trevor Anthony, a postgraduate fellow of the Yale School of Drama. The context is more or less the same—that he is disconcerted and denigrated by his father’s death and mother’s remarriage. This has sapped his confidence and faith. He is grief-stricken but he does not keep his grief to himself. There are outbursts: He constantly steps from what Weimann calls the locus, the castle and its courtly confines to the apron of the stage, the 168 platea, that bully pulpit of the people where he can speak in his own voice, as opposed to the polite speech of the court, directly to an audience he assumes will champion him as the people ultimately do when he is banished to England (Andrea 130). The article on this production included in Vol. 20 (1998), makes one’s gorge rise as the production is based on Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of carnival, wherein social hierarchies of everyday life—their solemnities and pieties and etiquettes, as well as all ready-made truths—are overturned by normally suppressed voices and energies. The opposites are united, for example, fact and fantasy, heaven and hell; likewise, fools become wise and kings become beggars. But, for Hamlet carnival is dead. We find that neither they sense their son’s melancholy and oscillating conduct nor they consider the betrayal of each other a nefarious means to achieve the crown as a Gordian Knot. Hamlet of generation “X” is “irreverent, wisecracking, and disrespectful” (131). Gertrude and Claudius are insincere and treacherous. Polonius is sketched as a comic fool in his scenes with Claudius and Gertrude. Robert L. Hobbs plays Polonius. Ophelia and Laertes are dutiful loving children and their roles are played by Carolyn Hembree and Michael Harding respectively. Hamlet’s antic disposition is counted in terms of Ophelia’s insanity as her choice stands for self- 169 deception or malicious motive in the play. Heiner Muller translated Hamlet for the people of Berlin for a staging at the Deutsches Theatre in Berlin. Janet Savin describes the translation as “a six-page condensation of the two-hundred page play” (107). Also, he opines that the translated Hamlet resembles the original one only in substance and style. Hamlet is a lamp in Muller’s hand that brings to light the inseparable past and future, the social and political structures in Europe; the commencement of the electronic age. After the nunnery scene, the second half of the play begins and the first half ends. He presents the ghost as, says Janet Savin, “a new age gladiator who carries a long sword and wears a tight-fitting silver helmet which suggests both the head of an extra-terrestial creature and a skull” (108). Ulrich Muhe plays the role of Hamlet and in many comic scenes imitates Charlie Chaplin. Janet Savin explains Muller’s viewpoint beautifully, “The very idea of heroic action in such a world is meaningless, and the basic reference for Hamlet himself is appropriately enough, Charlie Chaplin, that tragic comic opponent of both industrial and political mechanization” (109). Claudius is presented as a tyrant and Ophelia as a self-assertive woman. Besides this, he presents the Hamlet-ClaudiusGertrude triangle in the second half; Janet Savin finds Ophelia’s burial scene set in Nazi Germany and the way it is set, reflects Germanic culture: A black flat with a hexagonal hole in the center is placed in 170 front of a painted flat which fills the hexagon with the tops of gravestones and trees converging on a patch of blue sky in the kind of perspective given by a fish-eye lens. The image creates the illusion that the theatre itself is a grave—and that the audience is in deeper than the performers. The arrangement of the flats allows the two clowns (the first played by the same actor who plays Polonius) to step through the hole into the grave as cabaret masters of ceremony, and to call up, as they do so, other forms of popular entertainment, such as melodrama and magicians’ shows, which are tinged with a certain darkness. The two crack their jokes, philosophize with Hamlet, brother and lover tussle over the body of Ophelia, after which the Polonius actor does a quick check of her pockets and her fillings – all to the intermittent strains of “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”, played presto, honky-tonk style (112-13). These adaptations and imitations, have recreated Hamlet, thereby keeping Hamlet alive. Hamlet is in the memory of stage/screen producers and directors although their taste and approach may be different from people of the past. Productions provide a new range of meaning as different cultures dominate these productions. The transformation of Shakespearean play into German, Arabic, Indian cultures, etc. illustrates 171 the high level reception extended to Shakespeare. The BBC production of Hamlet showcases Hamlet in direct contact with the audience. He comes out of the character in soliloquies as in “rogue and peasant slave” (2.2.544) and comments on the action: Screaming “Bloody, bawdy villain ! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles villain”, he draws his sword and strikes the air as he observes both heaven and hell are prompting him to his revenge (Champion 99). Hamlet directs play-within-the-play as he moves in and out of the action performing multiple roles. He asks Gertrude whether she likes the play or not? After hearing her response—“The lady doth protest too much, me thinks” (3.2.225), he rushes to Claudius and assures: … there is “no offence i’th’ world” in it. He orders Lucianus to cease posturing and to begin his speech, later exclaiming, as the potion is poured in the Player-King’s ear, that the villain “poisons him i’th’ garden for his estate” and soon will get his wife (100). Hamlet achieves a coherence of personality in the final act, i.e. Act V. He is valiant and determined, prepared to face future with consistency, possessing fire-eyed determination to knock down the king; a man with undivided mind and philosophy ready to handle cruelly enigmatic issues. 172 Larry S. Champion encapsulates: Jacobi’s Hamlet, in a word, underscores those elements in the play in which Shakespeare forces the spectators from the role of passive observer to active critic; they themselves must put together the pieces of the puzzle in order to provide the answers or assumptions which the play itself refuses to yield; the “experience of the audience on the stage (which includes all the dramatis personae) is shared by that in the theatre” (102). Distinctly different from the above-mentioned, this BBC Hamlet is a television production that aims at making the play inconsistent as it is. The producers earmarked bare space with a freedom in shooting style as a proper set for the production. This bare set is highly suggestive of deep kinship with Shakespearean stage. In the views of Bernice W. Kliman, the BBC production is analogous to “pointillism of impressionistic paintings…” (100). It is bereft of location and realistic sets, focus is not on the play as a whole but on various scenes. Such as the ghost scene, the “Mousetrap”, the nunnery scene, etc. and relationships such as HamletHoratio; Hamlet-Claudius; Hamlet-Ophelia; and Rosencrantz- Guildenstern’s relation to Hamlet. The production makes allusions to Olivier’s Hamlet and establishes the supremacy of TV production over 173 stage dramatization. It does not present Hamlet as mad, as it is assumed, it rather comprehends his behaviour. Bernice W. Kliman accounts for madness as the effort to absorb his suffering; Hamlet is shown as lonely and isolated amidst multitude. Kliman reasons, “A man who seems to choose solitude, Hamlet is all the more alone because of those around him” (102). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern seem to have little interest in him than in authoritative people. Horatio does put a comforting hand occasionally. That Derek Jacobi plays Hamlet well is known to all: Through nuance of gesture, through body movement, through a face that is indeed a map of all emotions, Jacobi shapes a Hamlet who loves his father too much to disregard his command, yet who cannot hate his step-father enough to attend it… There is no declaration of love, no concern about Hamlet’s ascension to the throne (Kliman 104). Kliman recapitulates the technique underlining this production: All of this production’s richness and suggestiveness was realized…. within the set’s spareness that acting could unfold, an acting style that subsumes and transcends the “real”. This production’s space tells us what is possible for television presentations of Shakespeare the more bare the set, it seems, the more glowing the words, the more immediate our 174 apprehension of the enacted emotion (105). Shakespeare’s recognition is immense. Japan too witnessed Hamlet’s adaptation. There are translations of soliloquy and the story of Hamlet that Yoshiko Kawachi accommodates in her article; at first, “To be, or not to be” was translated into broken Japanese by Charles Wirgman, an English correspondent in 1875. then it was published in Shintaishi-sho (anthology of poems). Again it was translated by Toyama as “Shinuruga mashi ka, ikuruga mashi ka” (Which is better, to die or to live?) (Kawachi 94). Modified by Yatabe as “Nagaraubeki ka tadashi mata, nagaraubekini aranu ka” (Should I live long, or not?) (94). Kabuki style is used in translations. Tsubouchi translated it as “Nagarauru, nagaraenu (To live long or not) (95) and in 1909 he changed the translation into “Yo ni aru, Yo ni aranu” (To be in the world, or not to be in the world) (95). Tsuneari Fukuda translated the same soliloquy into “Sei ka, Shi ka” (Life or death) (95). Junji Kinoshita gives his own version, ““Konomamani atte iino ka, attewa ikenaino ka” (To maintain the status quo, or to change the status quo) Jiro Ozu puts it as “Yaru, yaranu” (To do, or not to do)” (96). Yushi Odashima translates it as ““Konomamade iino ka, ikenaino ka, sorega mondai da” (To maintain the status quo, or to change the status quo, that is the question)” (96). For Yasunari Takahashi it is, “Suru ka shinai ka” (To do, or not to do) (97) and for Kazuko Matsuoka it is “Ikite todomaru ka, 175 kiete nakunaru ka” (To stay alive, or to disappear from this world) (97). It seems as if the emphasis is on homogenization of Shakespeare in Japanese ideology. Kawachi in the article “Translating Hamlet into Japanese” writes that from 1871 to 1970, Shakespeare has been much-discussed. He gives Tsubouchi’s viewpoint that their “translations were faulty and that they mistranslated the great passages” (95). Kawachi praises Tsubouchi: While translating Shakespeare, he appears to have been strongly conscious of the difference in dramaturgy between the East and the West. He felt the necessity of establishing the methodology of comparative drama in Japan, and sometimes he compared Shakespeare with Monzaemon. Chikamatsu, a representative playwright of Kabuki and Joruri. He was the first to give serious consideration to what the Japanese people should learn from Shakespeare and how the Japanese drama should be improved by a study of Shakespeare’s dramaturgy. He viewed Shakespeare from the standpoint of a Japanese wishing eagerly to improve the drama of this country (95). The article is divided into three sections and in the second section Kawachi writes, “Translation is a verbal product as well as a cultural product” (97). The adaptations, translations and stage performances of Hamlet have enriched Japanese literature and enlightened Japanese public. 1903 176 witnessed the first performance of Hamlet. With the original title, Kayo Yamagishi and Shunsho Doi present a nobleman struggling in his life. In 1905 a word-for-word translation of Hamlet was done by Koya Tozawa and Hyokya Asano. An epoch-making production in the history of the Japanese stage was that of Shoyo Tsubouchi’s Hamlet. In May 1911, he revised his own translation that was performed by the Bungei Kyokai at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo. Eventually, the play became novel in the hands of Japanese. Kurōdiasy no Nikki (Claudius’s Diary) is Naoya Shiga’s psychological novel appeared in a literary magazine, The Shirakaba in 1912. The characters remain the same but there are changes in Claudius’s character. He wants Hamlet to understand his passion. He wishes to be a good husband and father respectively but Hamlet fails to understand. Hamlet’s misunderstanding leads to Claudius’ writing a diary in which he asks several questions. Several years later, Shiga wrote Hamuretto Nikki (Hamlet’s Diary) that showcases Hamlet’s contempt for Claudius and Gertrude and wonders if he is Claudius’ son. The description of an unhappy home is found in Osamu Dazai’s novel Shin Hamuretto (“New Hamlet”). Kawachi writes: In this novel Hamlet is a nihilistic playboy, unreliable son, and jester. He is skillful at fencing, riding, and composing poetry, 177 but he is not enthusiastic about anything. Gertrude is very old and Hamlet thinks her remarriage is ridiculous. Hamlet regards Claudius as a good and weak man, although he doesn’t like him much. Claudius looks on Hamlet’s whims as youthful follies and wants to be friendly with him. (“Hamlet in Japan” 70) Besides this, Claudius is a modern villain who murders his brother and starts an illicit love affair with the brother’s wife. An astonishing fact, neither Claudius nor Hamlet dies, rather Gertrude kills herself on seeing that Claudius has murdered her husband in the play projected by Polonius. Hence Claudius, says Kawachi “starts a war to camouflage his predicament” (71). Tsuneari Fukuda’s novel Horeisho Nikki (The Horatio diary) is based on this supposition: love between Horatio and Ophelia. David Jones plays the role of Horatio, and Isabel Ophelia. Due to Jones’ noble character, Isabel is unable to seduce him on a night train. Albert is Hamlet and loves Isabel. In his encounter with Albert, Jones learns about his love and Isabel’s divorce. Shohei Ooka considers Hamlet a political drama. He wrote a novel Hamuretto Nikki (The Hamlet Diary) in 1955 after considering the film on Hamlet and Dover Wilson’s What Happens in ‘Hamlet’. The story begins: Hamlet knows about the marriage of Gertrude 178 and Claudius and considers it as the best way for safety but he believes in vengeance; revenge on Claudius and Gertrude as he finds Gertrude lustful. Hamlet meets Fortinbras and tells him about his banishment. Fortinbras readily helps but refuses his token of thanks - a part of Danish territory saying: I have never complained that my uncle succeeded to the Norwegian crown… . I am not as bent on revenge as you. My aspirations are greater than yours (qtd. in Kawachi 74). While dying, Hamlet hands his diary to Horatio and he sends it to his friend living in Paris. He doesn’t view himself as a prince’s (Fortinbras) advisor and companion. It may be unsafe to keep the diary as Fortinbras forbids him from telling the truth; also a person is completely non compos mentis while feigning madness as is evident from Hamlet’s life and position. Kawachi finds both Hamlet and Horatio Machiavellian and documents Ooka’s standpoint and attitude towards life: Probably Ooka wished to express in this novel that modern society is full of madness, wars, and political machination… Therefore to live with one is important (75). Besides this, in the last four paragraphs Kawachi frames a comprehensive view of Japanese novels. Secondary characters have been highlighted and diary as a form in writing the novels has been adopted to express hero’s 179 inner monologue/psychology. The novelists mirror Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the light of Japanese thoughts, culture and language thereby making an attempt to strengthen the social and cultural ties between Elizabethan England and present-day Japan. It has also been thought that the limitations in Hamlet led to the adoption of novel as the form of production. The Tokyo Globe Company’s Hamlet is named as The Kabuki Hamlet. Here, Hamlet is translated into classical Japanese. Besides background instrumental music to express various situations and moods, there is striking of wooden clappers (tsukeuchi) to indicate important moments in the action. Various additions mark the difference between Kabuki and the original Hamlet says R.W. Desai: Claudius was visited by his brother’s ghost; overwhelmed, he bowed down and confessed his crime; in the closet scene, the ghost didn’t appear to Hamlet but the picture of his dead father burst into flames instead; at the end, Hamlet was not killed by Laertes but committed ritual suicide, which Laertes also did. Gertrude’s death throes were so prolonged that one wondered from where she derived so much energy (92). Prof. Desai observes the duel between Hamlet and Laertes with actual rapiers—symbolic and graceful dance. Similarly, Peter Brook turns Hamlet 180 into an epic play, entitles it as Quiest La and calls it a mosaic. His prime objective is to frame a paradigm: The selection of material from Shakespeare’s play is influenced by Brook’s desire for a text which can be understood with relative ease and by the emphasis on acting and rehearsal which was part of the directors’ project from the beginning (Savin 121). Nineteen scenes in all, are framed by prelude and epilogue; eliminating many scenes and characters such as Reynaldo, Voltemand and Osric. It does include play-within-the-play. Some passages have been extracted “from the writings of Artaud, Brecht, Gordon Craig, Meyerhold, Stainistavsky and Zeami as well as lesser known twentieth-century directors” (qtd. in Savin 120). After the first player’s speech follows Hamlet’s “O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!” (2.2.544), Brook exhibits the depth of her relationship with Hamlet. Savin deems the French translation to be: A meditation upon the theatre and upon Hamlet rather than an attempt to interpret Shakespeare’s play. It is unfortunate that the text will probably never be published (124). A French production of Hamlet by Patrice Chereau for the Avignon Festival and the Theatre des Amandiers unfortunately failed to fulfill the 181 expectations aroused by Chereau’s reputation. He presents the ghost on horseback. Janet Savin says “The low light glints on the armour and waves over the translucent cape of the ghost, making the rolling breakers and screaming gulls on the soundtrack almost visible” (Patrice Chereau’s production 109). Claudius is more absorbed in Gertrude; Ophelia is tall and strong-boned, energetic and volatile. Savin speculates that Chereau, somehow, is deficient in coordinating the stage production with Shakespeare’s dense text: The pyrotechnics of horse and rider, who almost run Horatio down, contradict his subsequent characterizations of the ghost’s “solemn march” and “countenance more in sorrow than in anger.” They also unfortunately steal the first scene between Hamlet and his father. At least Chereau does allow the two an initial moment of contact. Hamlet enters from the same position as the ghost in the preceding scene, upstage left, then freezes, his attention on horse and rider who are temporarily stationary downstage right (109). The metaphysical questions such as that of mutability and death are inexplicable. Moreover, originality is not the hallmark; it is rather destroyed by excessive stage business. David William’s production of Hamlet is a poetry of the play with 182 focus on language. Colm Feore, a star acts as Hamlet and presents the character as youthful through physical activity. Unlike other productions, the play does not take the audience to new interpretive flights. It runs for 3 3/4 hrs and is shortened by cutting lines rather than scenes or dialogues judiciously. For example, Priam and Hecuba speech is missing. Three silent characters are introduced, two torturers and their victim, played by Hume Baugh, Jim White and Geoff McBride respectively. Joanne Craig observes that this indicates Claudius’ fear of dangers of Hamlet’s freedom (4.3.2) and concludes: William’s production raises the possibility that the riddles of the play remain inscrutable because Shakespeare inherited them from a tradition that goes back through Belleforest and Saxo Grammaticus to folklore and made them the occasion for his poetry. In its literalness and simplicity, and inspite of some undeniable shortcomings, William’s production succeeds in holding the mirror upto art (90). There are two Toronto productions directed by Clarke Rogers and Guy Sprung at Passe Muraille and Toronto Free Theatre respectively. They are categorized as low budget productions. The Passe Muraille Hamlet (1983) is historically framed and demonstrates self-referentiality. Its improvised acting-out of psychic events and abstract jazz sound-scape 183 present it as a “dauntingly ambitious project” (100) says G.B. Shand in “Two Toronto Hamlets”, Vol.13 (1991). Nearly thirty roles were performed by eleven actors—an indication of heavy use of doubling, and better than others was done by Booth Savage, as Bernardo, Claudius’ ambassador to Norway, the Ghost, the player King, Fortinbras and so on. On the other hand doubling is quite light in Guy Sprung’s Hamlet (1986). It’s a melodrama with new units of action modifying or denying Shakespeare’s Five-Act format. A Prelude to Hamlet by Samuel Sussman was probably produced at New York City U.S.A. As the play starts Hamlet and Ophelia know each other and their love blossoms while he is in Wittenberg. Fortinbras is a Laertes-like figure and his sister, Cassandra is Ophelia-like. She is also the intended bride of Hamlet. His uncle recovers from illness to announce at the Danish Court about Fortinbras’ visit to Poland to collect “back taxes” for Denmark. Later on, for Hamlet’s continued absence, Cassandra commits suicide. The Old Hamlet is named as Horvendile (borrowed from Saxo Grammaticus) who is rash, ruthless and a pirate who lives by conquest. Claudius is a scholar and a reasonable man and not corrupt as in Hamlet. Hamlet’s disposition is analogous to that of Claudius in the Prelude. Though Claudius pours poison in the Horvendile’s ear yet is goaded by a determined Gertrude: 184 Gertrude had drugged Horvendile to make the killing possible for the weaker Claudius, whose position had become untenable after he had openly disobeyed Horvendile in failing to fetch Hamlet home from Wittenberg (Kliman 96). Bernice W. Kliman considers these changes trespassing in the Prelude. A cultural adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in U.S.A. is Penny Marshall’s Renaissance Man (1994) wherein he emphasizes Renaissance values. Neither is it based on Hamlet nor does it have a story like Hamlet. Shalini Sikka says, “I find that the film offers an entertaining and edifying mix of Shakespeare and youthful rowdiness” (254). The film is about an English teacher inculcating Shakespearean values in his students. The students are young army recruits. The whole thrust of the film is: If physical training prepares them for war, knowledge of Shakespeare prepares them for life; Shakespearean values cut across racial/military/civilian barriers and become comprehensible to blacks, whites, Hispanics, anyone and everyone (Sikka 257). Hamlet’s soliloquy “To be, or not to be” (3.1.56) has been reworked in America by Isaiah Thomas. Neil L. York gives Willoughby’s consent that its parody “…could be used to ridicule one’s political enemies” (qtd. in York 40). The parody appeared in August, 1770 issue of The 185 Massachusetts Spy. Neil L. York gives a full view of the parody in the article Hamlet as American Revolutionary in Vol. 15: A PARODY on SHAKESPEAR To print or not to print – that is the question. Whether ’tis better in a trunk to bury The quirks and crotchets of outrageous fancy, Or send a well-wrote Essay to the press. (No matter which, whether on timid cowardice or courage)… (40) A second parody of Hamlet is also penned by Isaiah Thomas wherein the theme of conspiracy against American liberties permeates: Be text, or not be text, that is the question: whether ’tis nobler in our minds to suffer The sleights and cunning of deceitful statesmen, Or to petition ’gainst illegal taxes. And by opposing end them? — To live, to act, no more, and fast asleep, To say we and Assemblies and the thousand Liberties that Englishmen are heirs to, ’Tis a determination directly to be crush’d: To live, to eat, perchance to be all SLAVES, 186 Aye, there’s the rub— For in that tax of—[tea] what slavery may come (43). McCarter Theatre Company, New York introduced Hamlet in 1982. Nagle Jackson, the director projects Hamlet as a Romantic Hero. Harry Hamlin represents Hamlet superbly. He delivered speeches with clarity as well as with prosodic features such that it sounds as a live spontaneous speech. Gordon Ross Smith’s review tells that many of the scenes, conversations with Polonius, Claudius, Laertes have been cut in order to reduce it to three hours playing time. He briefly describes Claudius as “neither oily nor efficient” and Gertrude as “regal and distant” (Smith 107) but not affectionate. Hamlet has been seen as frustrated and loathing. The story has not been told, he rather encapsulates various scenes. Furthermore the stage is bare and schematic: “three moving panels to suggest walls, a big sky at the back, and a trapdoor for the ghost. Now and then a double throne”. Smith praises Harry Hamlin for his superb participation: “He was far better than Jacobi in the recent BBC version, and better than Olivier in his cinematic version of thirty years ago” (106, 108). Robert F. Willson Jr. enunciates that the University of Arkanas presented a production of Hamlet based on a pared text, i.e. to say shortening of multisyllabic words, i.e. from four to three syllables and omission of selected scenes and lines of dialogue. In addition, Hamlet 187 accepts death heartily thereby unleashing his anger; other characters such as Claudius and Gertrude are formal and mechanical in their style; Laertes is fragile whereas Polonius is forgetful and pontifical. Most importantly, the stage floor distributes columns as that of a chess board to represent the soaring ambition of Claudius’ court. Special music composed by director Roger Gross illustrates the vehemence of Ophelia’s nunnery and the madness scenes. His Majesty’s Theatre (Johannesburg) corroborated Afrikaans translation of Hamlet in 1947. In the words of Anna Neethling-Pohl, the co-director, this production is neither an improvement nor it is something different. It is rather an attempt to let living Shakespeare speak in a foreign language. It is a drive to imperpetuate British domination and validate Afrikaner culture in the struggle for revival of Afrikaner nationalism. Andre Huguenet who plays Hamlet is a wronged man. He owes a piece of land in the Orange Free State which is a subject of dispute. David Haynes played Hamlet in a production of Hamlet (1969) directed by Robert Mohr, head of Drama Department at the University of Cape Town. Mohr tries to gauge the persuasion of budding youth pin the great classic: …I think contemporary thing—that students, such as the people who are playing these parts, are concerned about the world around them more than the previous generation were, 188 that the generation gap, the young people like Hamlet, Ophelia, Laertes, young Fortinbras, the terrible twins, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are baffled and confused by the politically and morally corrupt state which is Denmark, and they are in revolt against it, each in their own way, or some of them go along with it for personal reasons, each as his character dictates, and this seems to be receiving the emphasis. To me, it is fascinating and it’s a voyage of rediscovery of the play rather than superimposing a new interpretation of it (New Trend) (qtd. in Quince 146-47). South Africa witnessed lot of boycotts [anti-apartheid] in 1980. In 1981, Phyllis Klotz directed a theater-in-education production of Hamlet with a black actor named Toko Scott. Black actor playing the role of Hamlet formed the context of the play: … usurpation of black Hamlet’s rights by the white Claudius, aided and abetted by his white advisers. Although Hamlet has the support of the people, he is outmatched in terms of power by the white king. He is betrayed by his white lover and his white friends. Although the emphasis on Christian versus traditional revenge morality may be seen as a dilution of the political thrust of the production, the focus on the 189 action/inaction crux certainly placed the play firmly in the South African context (Quince 149-50). Amongst others Louis Henry (1784-1836) occupies a prestigious position. His shows were staged at various places: Vienna, Venice, Naples and Milan, etc. The first production of Hamlet under a nick name, Le Shakespeare de l’ entrechat” was staged at the Theatre Porte-Saint-Martin in Paris (1816). Thereafter, shows were staged at Vienna in 1822 and Venice in 1828. The original Hamlet remains Prince but never becomes King. In Henry’s Hamlet, Gertrude has got the central role to play (as that of a King). Old Hamlet and Claudius do not share brotherhood. Claudius is a scheming usurper to the throne and Ophelia’s father. Gertrude an unscrupled woman is declared guilty for her evil deeds and that she confesses before Hamlet. He employed Italian style to dramatize Hamlet: Pantomime techniques, use of machines and elaborate scenery and above all dances in ceremonial and even battle scenes. Italy has witnessed the staging of ballets. Henry’s ballets present a full-fledged view of Italian style. William E. Sheidley indites, “…His ballet, Hamlet won the constant and general approval of the discerning Milanese public” (qtd. in Sheidley 55). Henry presents Hamlet as calm and rational rather than a Hamlet with antic disposition; Holding a bloody sword, he first dances on the stage. Eugene Scribe and C.G. Delestre-Poirson presented a parody, Hamlet de 190 M. Public at Théâtre du Vaudeville. Thé Journal de Paris acclaims Hamlet: In subjecting to the rules of choreography one of the gloomiest subjects Shakespeare treated, M. Henry undertook a very risky venture; but his audacity has brought him complete success (qtd. in Sheidley 62). Madame Queriau, the first rank dancer and pantomimist at both the Opera and the popular theatres performs as Gertrude. Henry’s and Queriau’s stylized movements and postures conveyed specific emotions, moods and attitudes and also distinguished emotions like jealousy, anger, upbraiding and threat, meditation, etc. Sheidley accentuates the emotional expressiveness in a pantomime and its kinesthetic beauty. Hamlet was staged in Cairo, Egypt around 1893 by Tanius Abodh. Though the title is the same, Mahmoud F. AL-Shetawi mentions that it is a shortened and revised version, with the emission of whole scenes, major passages and addition of songs and Arabic love poetry. He cites an example: Hamlet’s remarks to Ophelia, “Lady, shall I lie in your lap?” (3.2.105) is revised as follows: “Allow me, O Lady to sit at your feet, for I am afraid that the arrows of your eyes might smite me” (Shetawi 79). 191 In the end Abdoh’s Hamlet gains victory over his enemies. Besides this production, Khalil Mutran and Sami AI-Juraidini translated Hamlet in 1916 and 1922 respectively. Another Arabic stage production with three acts and two intermissions was directed by Sayyed Bedir at Cairo Opera House and translated by Sami AI-Juraidini. The leading role of Hamlet was played by Karan Mutani. Mahmoud F. AL-Shetawi critically examines the emendations and opines that these have weakened the dramatic structure of the entire play. Mohammed Subhi presents a collage of Hamlet with only two Acts. In the performance, he uses epic theatre tools and narrative techniques. Mahmoud F. AL-Shetawi remarks: Arab interpreters have generally conceived Hamlet as representing the dilemma of the divided individual who is torn between his desire to take revenge and the fear that the ghost could be an evil spirit which is tempting his soul to fall into an abyss of darkness. Subhi, however, creates a revolutionary. Hamlet who rebels against corruption and tyranny and dies in pursuit of justice. In Subhi’s view Hamlet has been aware of the opposition against him, especially that his quest to attain justice may back-fire. However, he accepts the consequences of his choice, and he dies in the process, entrusting the legacy of his tragedy to Horatio in the hope that he will reveal it to all 192 future generations (83). A production that presents everything African—the hero, the setting, colours, etc. is produced in Iraq and suits the taste of local audience. Salah Al-Qasab directs it, gives his own meaning to Hamlet and Mahmoud F. AL-Shetawi terms it as an innovative stage production as various themes have received his valuable consideration. Herein Hamlet is somewhere in Arab and “embodies the archetypal meanings of rejection and rebellion vis-à-vis race & color” (Shetawi 84). On the contrary, in Jawad Al-Asadi’s production Hamlet a La Mode, he is a “messiah being crucified to redeem humanity”. A Syrian production highlights Hamlet “fighting Claudius not just for personal grievances (e.g. revenge), but rather for the cause of justice and moral duty” (84, 85). Hamlet has influenced Arabic literature, particularly poetry and drama. Four poems namely “As Spoken by Hamlet” (Ala Lisani Hamlit), “Shakespeare without Hamlet” (shakisbir bi-Duni Hamlit), “Hamlet and Ophelia” (Hamlet wa Ofiliya) “Hamlet Laments Ophelia” (Hamlit Yarthi Ofiliya) have been composed by Ahmed Shawqi, Mujahid Abdel-Mun’im Mujahid, Mohammed Yusuf, and Mohammed Abdul-hai respectively. Shawqi presents Hamlet’s distress whereas Mujahid creates an anti-hero in contrast to Hamlet who is not at all audacious to compete with the world and hence gets subjugated: 193 What can I do O Hamlet and I Fall dead on his corpse, killed, But with no poison poured into My ears or a bullet in my heart (qtd. in Shetawi 88). Mohammed Yusuf presents Hamlet as a melancholic character thereby reflecting predicament of mankind: I cry for my weakness I cry for the split inside myself I cry for my lost paradise (qtd. in Shetawi 89). Abdul-hai’s poem highlights Hamlet’s true love for Ophelia: I behold thee, O Ophelia A willow that blooms in Spring (qtd. in Shetawi 90). Two Arabic plays are based on Hamlet namely Solyman of Aleppo and Hamlet Awakens Belatedly by Alfred Farag and Mamduh Udwan respectively. Farag depicts social degeneration and political corruption in Egypt in the nineteenth-century during Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign against that country. Udwan highlights “the dilemma of the Arab intelligentsia relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict and to the decadence of Arab societies” (93). Farag presents Solyman as a Syrian student pursuing his theological studies. In delineating the character of Solyman, Farag follows Hamlet’s character. In Udwan’s play “Horatio assumes the role of 194 narrator, thus fulfilling Hamlet’s request that he should tell his story to the people”. Ophelia is presented as a “whore enjoying carnal pleasures ” (93, 94). Thematic-consideration conforms to the original Hamlet. One of the articles registers disc recording of Hamlet: ‘Modern Recordings of Hamlet in English’ by Glen D. Hunter. Sir John Gielgud’s radio adaptation is considered the first modern recording. Gielgud acts as Hamlet and his shockingly patriarchal voice presents him older than his parents. Hunter finds the music unimpressive but on the whole the adaptation is exceptionally clear. Gielgud’s next interpretation is a fulllength studio recording performed by Old Vic Company. The emphasis being on sound effects and narration it lacks newness and surprise. Hunter is full of applause for Gielgud’s presentation of “To be, or not to be”. When Gielgud delivers the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy here, it is as if Shakespeare’s most eloquent word-music meets its ideal, most masterful interpreter (79). The third recording brought a sharp rejoinder from Hunter: They have edited, shifted, and ruthlessly arranged the speeches with a new design in mind. One might call this the schizophrenic Hamlet. Three actors each are required to play the roles of Hamlet, Polonius, Ophelia, Claudius and Gertrude —fortunately the album includes the altered text—and the 195 whole effect is that of a choral reading. The voice of the young actors are well orchestrated, and the abstract sounds in the background dramatize the mood and pace of the individual scenes. The tri-character concept brings alive the speeches in a dimensional manner, and lines repeated for highlight effect sometimes convey a startlingly new impact. Especially effective and creative are the “Get thee to a nunnery” scene between Hamlet and Ophelia and the tripartite treatment of the great soliloquies. I particularly like the “To be or not to be” reading (qtd. in Hunter 79). The fourth modern recording is the Dublin Gate Theatre Hamlet that features MacLiammoir as Hamlet, Edwards as Claudius and the ghost. Nancy Manningham as Gertrude, Maureen Toal as Ophelia and so on. Gertrude is shown as an emotional character after the closet scene but Hamlet is neither in despair nor is he conscious of Ghost’s presence. Sir Michael Redgrave is Hamlet in the 1961 Living Shakespeare version, the fifth modern recording. He is dispassionate. Hunter writes in the article: He delivers the “To be, or not to be” speech rather blandly, and in the nunnery scene becomes properly overwrought but twice—when he says “monsters” and “the rest shall keep as they are”. When Hamlet confronts Gertrude in her closet, 196 Redgrave becomes aroused quite belatedly, barely in time for the arrival of the ghost. Curiously, he delivers both “It hath made me mad” and “I must be cruel only to be kind” with great sensitivity, for immediately before making these remarks, his character has seemed neither mad nor cruel. He finally gets relatively stirred up in his challenge to Laertes at Ophelia’s grave-side and closes on an impressively majestic note, interpreting “The rest [PAUSE] is [PAUSE] silence” (81-82). Hunter praises this version for the significant performances by the actors: Its Claudius and Polonius come across as adequate but no more, its Ophelia offers a most appealing voice but does not pass the test of the insanity scene, and its Gertrude speaks too deliberately and thereby seems affected, though this trait serves her well when reporting Ophelia’s death (82). Hunter finds the obtrusive background music significant in the Living Shakespeare Hamlet: “waves slapping against the boat”; Dripping water at the ghost’s revelation; echoing of the words such as “revenge”, “murder”, “foul”, “strange” and so on; “laughter, heartbeat-simulating drums at the arrival of the players” (82); drumbeats at Ophelia’s funeral. It seems as if background music sounds marvelously apt to Hunter. A full-length fine 197 disc recording is the sixth recording wherein “the stage directions for the dumb show are read” (83). It is directed by the editor of The New Clarendon Shakespeare Hamlet—George Rylands who employs the text edited by Dover Wilson. Patrick Wymark is Claudius, Margaretta Scott is Gertrude. Jeanette Sterke plays the role of Ophelia. Hunter, however, was dissatisfied with background music here. The eighth modern recording, i.e. 1964 Broadway Cast Recording is under the directorship of Geilgud wherein Hamlet is presented as multidimentional. Richard Burton enacts Hamlet and Linda Marsh as Ophelia. Hunter describes Burton as: … though Burton is generally very good, there are quite a few lines in which he seems unnatural. At times he appears to have become a bit bored and to have started playing with the part somewhat–assuming an antic disposition, as it were. He shows a tendency to pause before words he wants to emphasize, especially in the second half of the play, as in “Now might I do it [PAUSE] pat!”; “who was in life a foolish, prating [PAUSE] knave”, “a thing of no [PAUSE] thing (87). About Linda Marsh’s personality, Hunter says: The amazing thing about Linda Marsh’s achievement is how well she continually shifts emotional gears. Although her full and somewhat boyish voice is not ideal for the first part of the 198 play, these qualities work very nicely in the insanity scene, and she carries out Gielgud’s suggestions to perfection (86). Hunter tells that the nineth recording, i.e. Hallmark Hall of Fame version presents Hamlet as sarcastic, vitriolic as well as volatile. Consider his saying: “These tedious old fools!” and “Thrift, thrift, Horatio”. He is found unsympathetic: His goodbye to Polonius, in which with strong emphasis the prince calls the just-departed lord chamberlain a fool, is totally unsympathetic. He says “a king of shreds and patches.” so caustically that it sounds more like “badges”. He revels in saying “Hide fox, and all after”, after which he runs off playfully. He also delights in telling the king to go to hell in order to look for Polonius (88-89). Apart from the characters, the 1970 Hallmark Hall of Fame version also presents impressive background music impressive, but at places it obtrudes and is incongruous. Further Hunter critically examines the 1980 BBC production and explains its failure: For any interpretation of Hamlet to be successful, Hamlet and Claudius must come across as exceptionally quick on their mental toes, but in this BBC production neither seems especially brainy. By contrast, the ones who come across as 199 the most mentally alert in this production are Gertrude and Laertes, played better by Claire Bloom and David Robb, respectively, than I have seen either part played before. Lines in the play also clearly establish that Polonius has had his own day as an astute politician, but as played by the Eric Porter in the BBC production, Polonius merely comes across as a pathetic busybody (90). Hamlet Quarto 1 was produced in Summer 1992 and was enacted by a little troop of seven Medieval Players with their strolling acts: fire-eating and stilt walking and some astonishing doubling feats: “Gertrude appears as the First Gravedigger’s wife or Second Gravedigger, and Ophelia who is raving mad in Act 3 appears as the Priest at the funeral in Act 4 and then as Osric” (Bradbrook 115). “Hamlet on the Hindi Screen” incorporated in Vol. 24 registers Shakespeare’s presence in India. The idea of Hamlet on the Hindi screen seems incredible but screen adaptations by Raja Athavale (1928), Sohrab Modi (1935) and Kishore Sahu (1954) have made it memorable. Since it is an epitome of cultural adaptation, the Hindi version of the play is produced with considerable changes from the original. Hindi cinema favours the presence of songs and dances and Mehdi Hasan’s Khoone Nahak (Unjust Assassination) proves the point. Besides change, Rajiva Verma says: 200 The Parsi theatre therefore should be of great interest to Shakespearean scholars as an example of a theatre that reproduces many of the conditions and features of Elizabethan theatre including the practice, in its earlier phase, of using male actors for female roles (83). The names were Indianized. Although Hamlet was on the Hindi screen but the coalescence of Muslim-Indian and Elizabethan styles were used for costumes and set designs. Modi’s film was shot at Saraswati Studio at Poona with no previous rehearsals or elaborate camera angles, opening with an invocation song. While in Kishore Sahu’s film the names remain the same, The Murder of Gonzago shifts to the end of the play. It resembles Khoone Nahak also. The Hindi version of “Frailty, thy name is woman”! (1.2.146): Bewafai aur behayai tera naam aurat hai — afsos mere baap ki maut ko kuch muddat bhi na guzar pai ki toone shaadi rachai — khushi manai, our who bhi kis-se — jo mere baap ka bhai — ai aurat, ai harjai — tumhe yeh soorat kyon pasand aai — jin haathon ka waram bhi na utarne paya ki uspar mehndi ka rang charhaya —O! — kahan woh sultane adil, kahan shaitane na-kabil — kahan noor — kahan naar — kahan phool kahan khaar …Uthenge ab na zulm-o-sitma assmaan 201 ke/Hum bhi kabr mein soyenge chadar taan ke. (Unfaithfulness and shamelessness thy name is woman. Alas, hardly had my father died when thou didst celebrate thy wedding — made merry — and with whom? — With him who is my father’s brother — O, thou wanton woman — how couldst thou ever come to like that face? — To put henna on thy hands before their sores had healed? — What likeness between that just king and this worthless villain — between that glorious light and this fire of hell, that flower and this thorn?... The tyranny of the skies we’ll no longer bear But sleep in our graves without any care. (qtd. in Verma 87-88). In the film, quotations are taken from Bahadur Shah Zafar and Mirza Ghalib. Rajiva Verma considers the three films as versions of Shakespearean play and not creative reinventions. Basavaraj Naikar discusses Kuvempu’s successful attempt in translating Hamlet linguistically and culturally. The cultural translation of Hamlet is entitled as Raktakshi, published in 1932. Naikar writes: Cultural dissimilarity poses a great challenge to the translator who, when s/he cannot find exact equivalents in the target 202 cultural codes has to make minor changes in the plot or structure, characters and texture to convey the essential vision of the source cultural codes in a manner acceptable to the readers and spectators of the target culture (110-11). Keeping in mind the Hindu philosophical belief that woman has power or say Sakti, the play is named after a woman instead of a man. Naikar says that to be in line with the cultural requirements of the story Kuvempu chooses a historical story of a “Virasaiva royal family of the Keladi kingdom in seventeenth-century Karnatka” (112). The characters are named accordingly: Ophelia as Rudrambe, King Hamlet as Basavappanayaka, Claudius as Captain Nimbavya; Queen Gertrude as Rani Cheluvambe and Hamlet as Prince Basavayya. The emendations made therein are pertaining to characters and scenes. Consider Nimbayya (Claudius) who is neither a legitimate king nor a husband. This is in accordance, says Naikar to “Hindu culture which is a hiding culture against the exhibitive culture of the West” (112-13). Kuvempu has not retained play-within-the-play and Polonius eavesdropping or Hamlet’s conversation with his mother. Rudrambe (Ophelia) is not warned but rather “asked by her father, Minister Linganna, to entertain Prince Basavayya and ease the burden of his soul’ (115). Further, Kuvempu creates rival of Basavyya: Sivayya who pushes him over the edge of the valley after diverting his 203 attention towards Nature. The next moment Basavyya is dead. Hyder Ali (father of Tippu Sultan) at Shivamogge suspects chaos as he receives from Minister Linganna the letter that, prince Basavayya had handed over to him before dying. The story moves on. Naikar opines that the alternations make the play suitable to the cultural context of Karnatka. Naikar finds the character of Rudrambe energetic and full of liveliness: She requests the three-eyed Lord Siva to burn her as He burnt Kama; she invokes Lord Bhairava to inspire her and to spark off an untimely thunder and to enable her to fulfil her lover’s wish. She also prays to the Lord not to shake her faith in Him (119). Throughout the article Naikar compares and contrasts Kuvempu’s play to that of Shakespeare. The article is divided into four sections and in the last section he discusses Kuvempu’s creative genius in transplanting an English play like Hamlet into Indian and Hindu cultural setting and transforming the character of Hamlet into Prince Basavayya who is relatively more firm and clear in his attitude to life than Hamlet. Furthermore, Kuvempu also uses imagery but in the Indian and Hindu cultural codes: The images of snake, snake-hole, kiss of a snake, the Kalakuta poison of Lord Siva the sepulchral sky, funeral pyre, dark night, sunya (void) hell, the planet Sani’s (Saturn’s) adverse 204 effect, Karma and Yama’s servants create an atmosphere of corruption, disorder, unhappiness, tragic death and futility (122). Raktakshi has been appreciated by twentieth-century Kannada readers and spectators. Above all, it highlights the alchemy of Kuvempu’s imagination. A unique production highlights Hamlet as a Bengali but his make-up conformed to the English tradition. The names were Indianized: Hamlet as Jehangir, Horatio as Akhtar and Ophelia as Meharbanoo. The Second Act introduces new characters to Shakespeare: Suleiman, Wazirzada, etc. Regarding story, it can be said that an English play’s story is woven in Indian cultural context. R.E. Vernede writes: Not only was his Queen Mother marrying her husband’s murderer, but she was remarrying; and to a Hindu Hamlet a widow’s marriage would justify any outburst. The Queen’s action represented shamelessness and passion or was supposed to; but none of the women in the play showed any emotion comparable with that of the men. It would not have been proper, or, presumably, like real life (103). J.F. Laldailova, an Army Officer in the Indian English Army translated many Shakespearean plays including Hamlet into Mizo language. Vikram Chopra opines that he does so with “a view to 205 assimilating Shakespeare in the cultural ethos of Mizoram” (119). A group of actors belonging to the Redemption Theatricals in Aizwal, the capital of Mizoram performed the adapted version of Hamlet. ““When Hamlet came to Mizoram:” A Film on Hamlet” (1989) hinges on the excerpts from the play as acted by these actors. These actors have shown their emotional affinity with the characters: The actor playing Hamlet is even more sentimentally involved in the role. He is moved by the “anguish and disappointment” of Hamlet. Hamlet’s nature of not revealing himself directly, appeals to him. The actor says that he is so deeply absorbed in the character that he often tends “to slip into his role and behave in life as Hamlet would have.” Like Hamlet, he too has started distancing himself from the people and he no more expresses his emotions, expectations and sentiments directly, “I often feel I live in the play itself”, says he (Chopra 120). Similarly Mizo youngsters’ and Laertes’ fury at the death of father is the same. Vengeance is in their mind as it is in the mind of Laertes. Vikram Chopra draws lines of similarity between Hamlet and Mizo life and culture found in the film. Hence the Film’s success is reflected in its appreciation by the people. Teator ITD produced The Dogg’s troupe 15-Minute Hamlet (1982) 206 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia which was directed and designed by Zlatko Bowrek, translated and adapted by Damir Munitic. The production is remarkable for the use of puppets and Tom Stoppard’s use of Dogg’s language thereby establishing a connection with Shakespearen play. It had a comic effect while preserving its tragic tone. Vesna Pistotnik writes, The puppets had glossy, painted faces (Hamlet, Claudius and Polonius were black-faced; Ophelia’s red face had white clown-like make-up), and were colourfully dressed in predominantly black and bright red costumes, with white ruff collars… A series of well developed, distinguishing details brought life and individuality to the characters (97). Puppets and a fine blend of tragedy and comedy gave a carnival look to the play. Characters as Opehlia posed seductively with her red, stocking legs and Laertes expresses grief while touching his forehead. Yorick is a skull on a stick; the Ghost and the dead actors in standing positions. The two black cushions on downstage left and right were two graves. Music played an important part in creating the atmosphere needed for the action. Ivan Dobchev directed a production (1988) in Bulgaria that is tragical, comical, historical, pastoral as well as political. It is the unity of opposites such as mad/sane, delicate/brutal, etc. that has been turned into a method of interplay between artificial reality and real artificiality. It 207 captures the imagination of the audience and stirs them thoroughly. In the case of Hamlet, truth is drawn from a false reality. He is on the island of freedom and sanity with a weird costume of a Jester, fouled yellow stockings, a pair of shackled shoes around his neck. He is in his own world of dreams, insanity and art—disconnected from reality. Hamlet’s victory over Claudius in the Mousetrap is enjoyed in a drinking and singing party held by the actors also inviting the audience to join. Even after interval the party is in full swing. Dobchev considers this as the supremacy of Art over Reality. The Danish prince is a Bulgarian intellectual of the 80s. Morality gains prominence in a corrupt society but no deep moral issues are dealt with. Also, the play is given modern touch. The Norwegian prince comes “in a modern pilot’s outfit, to the sound of passing helicopters, jet-planes and tanks” (Todorov 94). In the final scene we see: Hamlet and Laertes in snow-white modern fencing-suits with electric rapiers (we are reaching the present), and an expert Osric, leading the fight in technical French. After the four deaths, here comes the future—Fortinbras in his pilot’s outfit takes over. The curtain closes upon his ironical synthesized ‘laughter’. Reality triumphs once more upon the search for an ideal (95). Georgi Todorov comments that although the story is distinct, there is hope. 208 Horatio becomes a real hero—an idol for someone. Besides its being an intellectual production, the exceptional blend of the tragical, comical, pastoral, historical and political—lends it “a timeless quality, running with ease across ages and styles, genres and methods” (95). But there are a few shortcomings also. Another article of Georgi Todorov: “A Critique of Practical Hamlet: Post War Productions of Hamlet in Bulgaria”. Todorov senses all these productions as an implicit criticism of the play and explains: This practical criticism (i.e. theatrical practice viewed as criticism) has a special relevance, being direct, productive, theatrically professional, artistically (not academically) motivated, comprehensive exhaustively detailed, socially representative and statistically processable. It offers an unique opportunity to approach the text from the inside, from the author’s perspective, to see it in the making, and as part of a continuous individual and social creative process (97). Todorov begins his investigation of the seven post-war productions of Hamlet on the professional stage in Bulgaria. In his view, dissatisfaction with Shakespeare’s play and to achieve artistic effectiveness in front of the audience is the root cause of these productions. Considering textual manipulation an important factor, Todorov investigates that reordering of 209 pieces of the text is not so prominent as the subtraction of many lines from the play: “The minimal range is 1205 lines in Vili Tsankov’s production in Varna (1956-57), and the maximum is 1642 lines cut by Nedialiko Yordanov (in Bourgas, 1979-80)” (98). He classifies the text as: viz., the regularly-cut V the regularly-spared units and draws the percentage. “1355 specific lines out of 3911 are voted out by this procedure, i.e. 34.6% of the text–including 249 lines cut by all the producers” (98). This divides the text into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ lines thereby reshaping the play. Not only the minor characters but also the centrifugal plot-lines are done away with. The episode with the pirates or part of Norwegian theme with the plot-line of Fortinbras, are all cut. This leads to simplification and the focus is primarily on the main conflict. Many productions have removed Ophelia’s songs, some others have preserved these and some have reduced it to two to three quatrains. Besides this, there are other ineffective digressions that are discarded; whole scenes or subscenes in 2.2; “the text of the ‘MouseTrap’ play in 3.2; …small introductory and exit-pieces at the beginning of 4.1; 4.2; 4.3; 4.5;” (99) Glorious quotation, aphorism, wise old saw are also cut, but the regularly-cut passages are the one’s with topical allusions and reflecting differences in cultural context particularly concerning the Ghost theme. The character of the Ghost is an impasse for producers because it is deeply rooted and cannot be omitted by textual manipulation. 210 Producers such as Georgiev, Tsankov and Yordanov adopted circumvention in their respective versions; Varna (1967-68), Sofia (198283) and Bourgas (1979-80): In Georgiev’s version the words of the Ghost are put in the mouth of Hamlet by means of a hidden microphone. Tsankov… explains what the Ghost is–a life-size portrait of Hamlet Senior carried in silence by the black guards of Claudius… in Bourgas (1979-80), where the Ghost turns out to be Claudius himself in disguise, trying to tempt Hamlet “toward the flood” (Todorov 100). However, the audience probably failed to comprehend, because of methodological short comings or lack of textual support. The addition of textual material to the play automatically uses devices such as ballet or pantomime. The productions zoom in on Hamlet and his mind engrossed in the issues of moral and political system. He is against the evil political system in which he has to live. Fortinbras and Claudius join the evil political system. Todorov compares Shakespeare’s drama to Bulgarian productions: In Shakespeare the Court is a combination of people quite relevant to the main conflict—the impersonal Voltemand and Cornelius, the decorative Attendants, the ridiculous Osric, and 211 the purely functional Lord or Gentleman. Instead, in the modern Bulgarian productions there is a purposeful disciplined, omnipresent, anonymous and negative political force (101). In Yordanov’s version Ophelia’s sexuality is manifested; she becomes mistress of Claudius. Producers add to or delete from the play just to make Hamlet theatrically more effective to the modern Bulgarian audience. Todorov seems to be discontented as he says that ideas develop naturally and self-imposed limitations such as textual additions and use of devices are barriers to the rich development of ideas. Conclusively, a TV production or a cultural adaptation is exemplary of a new design in mind, obviously with an altered text of Hamlet. It seems as if an exciting sense of theatricality prevails. Viewers are whirled up in the world of productions and in these cultural adaptations the objective is to entertain people and let Shakespeare speak in a foreign language. However, the originality is interrogated, i.e. to say Where is the original Hamlet? Originality is destroyed by excessive stage business: in many productions characters like Voltemand & Reynaldo, etc. have been omitted and many scenes have been elminated; while in others there is a heavy use of doubling—one actor performs for three or four characters; Characters have been transformed. Besides , Five-Act format has been modified: the 212 adaptation is either a play in the poetic form or the story is unlike the original Hamlet. Hamlet’s famous soliloquy has also been reworked: Its parody could have been used to ridicule one’s political enemies. Apart from this, the main features of the productions/adaptations are shortening of multi-syllabic words, narrative and pantomime techniques, use of puppets & dog’s language and also music with songs and dances. Thus, the original Hamlet, so-called the Monalisa of English Literature is almost lost in the modern-day productions. Cultural appropriations obliterate the real text and make their own text to suit their own purpose. Cultural appropriations are attributed to Shakespeare but they cannot be termed as Shakespearean. They are the abridged, reshaped, trimmed or transformed versions—with a pick and choose, adhere here digress there approach. 213 Works Cited AL-Shetawi, Mahmoud F. “Hamlet in Arabic.” Hamlet Studies 22.1-2 (2000): 77-109. Print. Andreas, James R. Sr. “A Hamlet for Generation “X”: The Warehouse Theatre Production”. Hamlet Studies 20.1-2 (1998): 128-34. Print. Baumlin, James S. “Hamlet the Sailor”. Hamlet Studies 25.1-2 (2003): 41-66. Print. 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