Date(s) - 11 Dec 2012
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
NYU 19 University Place
Category(ies) No Categories
NYU Abu Dhabi Presents:
Literature Faculty Candidate
Thomas Cartelli, Muhlenberg College
“High Tech Shakespeare in a Mediatized Globe”
Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 2:30 – 4:00 PM
Comparative Literature Department
19 University Place, Room 222
Refreshments Will Be Served
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Two of the world’s most rigorously “experimental” theater companies, New York’s Wooster Group and Toneelgroep Amsterdam, have made the mediatized stage an integral part of their theater practice, nowhere moreso than in the former’s Wooster Group Hamlet (2007-8) and the latter’s 6-hour Roman Tragedies (2009-10), scripted and directed by Ivo van Hove (both of which were revived for short runs in New York this Fall). Comprising loosely linked productions of Coriolanus,Julius Caesar, and Antony & Cleopatra, The Roman Tragedies produce the plays with live actors onstage and also displayed on variably sized video monitors spaced on and above the stage, mimicking the way our global media stage political debates and generate the simulacrum of war rather than the thing itself. Van Hove turns the theater itself into a high-tech version of Shakespeare’s Globe, encouraging spectators to move from one viewing space to another; to lounge on couches and view the nearby actors through the mediation of TV screens; to order and consume food and drinks; and check their email or tweet on desktop computers.
Extending Shakespeare’s “all the world’s a stage” conceit to a world connected by screens, cellphones, satellites and satellite dishes, “clouds” of information transported on viewless wings and deposited in airy dropboxes, van Hove’s stage is everywhere and nowhere at once, trafficking on the uniform look and feel of the world’s cathected centers of privilege and power. The historical specificity of Shakespeare is particularly challenged by the increasingly sophisticated technology deployed in this updating, prompting such questions as: How does the technology-driven thrust into contemporaneity alter the content of individual plays? What do these alterations encourage or require of audiences in terms of their range of response?