Reappropriations of Shakespearean history on the post-communist Hungarian stage

Title: Reappropriations of Shakespearean history on the post-communist Hungarian stage
Source document: Theatralia. 2021, vol. 24, iss. Special Issue, pp. 239-253
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
Type: Article

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The essay examines Hungarian theatrical productions of Shakespeare's history plays in the post-1989 period, pointing out the paradoxical qualities of the genre that can make these plays at once distant and foreign to non-British audiences. Nevertheless, these dramas' representations of political conflict and power struggles may also explain their adaptability to local socio-historical and political contexts. After an overview of the stage history of the chronicle plays on Hungarian stages, including possible reasons given for the noticeable popularity of certain works over others, this article also reflects briefly on the new attitudes to Shakespearean translation since the post-1989 period. The final section focuses on three contemporary productions of Shakespearean history plays, comparing and contrasting the way they make use of the early modern practice of doubling. Ways in which textual strategies are employed as well as how casting and scenographic choices infuse the dramas with political interpretations rooted in the here and now of the performances are also considered.