Invited Speakers

There will be four invited speakers, who will deliver special lectures on various themes related to Shakespeare in Asia throughout the conference period.

WooSoo Park
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

WooSoo Park is Professor of English at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea. He is the president of the Korean Association for Medieval and Early Modern English Studies, and honorary president of the Rhetoric Society of Korea. Among his books on Shakespeare are Shakespeare’s History Plays: Language, Drama and Irony (2013), and Shakespeare and the Sea (2016). He has translated into Korean major plays and poems of Shakespeare, the latest of which is A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2019). He has published “Shakespeare Studies in North Korea” in the Shakespeare Newsletter.
A Korean Adoptation of Shakespeare in Choi Inhoon's Typoon
Choi Inhoon simultaneously adopts and adapts Shakespeare’s romance play, The Tempest in his novel Typhoon. His thematic development of death and resurrection in the tempest finds a kinship with Shakespeare’s The Tempest. His creative and free use of his source materials is not confined to The Tempest; the protagonist’s psychomachia and inaction is compared to Hamlet’s situation on the sea, and the character of Marina is borrowed from Shakespeare's Pericles. However, these similarities and allusions to Shakespeare are not as significant as his borrowings from Shakespeare of his ruling metaphors of the sea, shipwreck and the tempest as a renewing atmosphere of the novel. In fact, while Shakespearean romance is characterized by a family reunion and reconciliation embedding political conflicts in terms of his typical characters, Choi foregrounds history as time and historical changes as his fictional protagonist. As the wind blows, so the time flows. Romance is the genre appropriate to represent the seasonal cycles of mutability repeating in difference the archetypal pattern of separation and reunion, life and death, and despair and hope, transcending an individual and a national life. Choi adopts this romance genre to represent his political utopian vision, and develops the geographical Asianism to the spiritual kinship of the non-allied counties. This utopian vision is realized in the novel by Bana Kim and Mariana’s adoption of Amanda as their daughter. This adoption means cultural and political assimilation and adaptation of the colonizer with/to the colonized in a post-colonial Asian country. For Choi ‘naturalization’ stands in for cultural hybridity and peaceful coexistence, and his adaoption, a mixture of adoption and adaptation, is his strategy of literary and political rewriting and rebirth in the tempest.
Susan Bennett
University of Calgary

Susan Bennett is Professor of English in the Faculty of Humanities at University of Calgary. Her research interests are primarily in the area of performance and critical theory. She has studied contemporary cultural and literary practice, and also researched texts of the Early Modern period, particularly Shakespeare. She has published books and journal articles in theatre and Shakespeare performances. She is the author of Theatre Audiences: A Theory of Production and Reception (1997) and Performing Nostalgia: Shifting Shakespeare and the Contemporary Past (1996).
What is Global Shakespeare?
‘Global Shakespeare’ has become a considerable and influential presence in the larger field of Shakespeare Studies, familiar not only to scholars writing essays, chapters and books but also as a title for classes taught in English, Theatre and Drama Departments across the English-speaking world (and even beyond). ‘Global Shakespeare’ has also been widely adopted as a marketing category for performances seen outside their country of origin. Yet how we address those theatrical productions we assign to this idea of a ‘global Shakespeare’ is, I think, quite narrowly defined.
On the one hand, there has been an exponential growth in the archive of what Dennis Kennedy first captured as ‘foreign Shakespeare’—that is, an abundance of work on Shakespeare in many regions and nations (for example, scholars and students can now easily find English-language accounts of ‘Shakespeare in Korea’, ‘Shakespeare in India’, ‘Shakespeare in Latin America’ etc.). On the other, ‘global Shakespeare’ on stage has been often characterized primarily for its aesthetic, dramaturgical and broadly cultural differences from the ‘norms’ of English-language or even continental European theatrical productions. Some of these ‘global Shakespeare’ performances become familiar to worldwide audiences because of their availability in digital format either through online collection (such as the MIT Global Shakespeares Video & Performance Archive) or through paid circulation (such as the performances from the 2012 Globe to Globe Festival in London via the Shakespeare’s Globe Player). These practices have, I suggest, produced a canon of ‘global Shakespeare’ performances.
My presentation will review the history of ‘global Shakespeare’ and look to challenge the assumptions behind and parameters for what we have come to call ‘global Shakespeare’. I will also consider how we might better understand and appreciate more inclusive, ethical and responsive accounts of the very many ways Shakespeare is read, performed and understood across the world.
Mark Thornton Burnett
Queen’s University Belfast

Mark Thornton Burnett, FEA, MRIA, is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast and PI of the ‘Indian Shakespeares’ project. He is the author of Masters and Servants in English Renaissance Drama and Culture: Authority and Obedience (1997), Constructing ‘Monsters’ in Shakespearean Drama and Early Modern Culture (2002), Filming Shakespeare in the Global Marketplace (2007; 2012), Shakespeare and World Cinema (2013) and ‘Hamlet’ and World Cinema (2019).
Shakespeare and Keraliyatha: Romeo and Juliet, Adaptation and South Indian Cinemas
This plenary explores Annayum Rasoolum/Anna and Rasool (dir. Rajeev Ravi, 2013) and Eeda/Here (dir. B. Ajithkumar, 2018), two recent film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet from Kerala, south-west India. According to the ‘Kerala model’, a measure of local social and economic success, the state scores highly on a range of developmental indicators. In terms of literacy, education, sex ratio, life expectancy, the provision of social services, and infant and adult mortality rates, Kerala is generally favourably placed. However, in their intersections with Romeo and Juliet, Annayum Rasoolum and Eeda situate the ‘star-crossed lovers’ in a regional milieu which challenges any easy notions of progress. These adaptations elaborate distinctive settings and geographies in their representation of political and religious contest. Conflict takes several forms, not least, as both films reveal, cycles of violence and social and sexual segregation. Taking Ratheesh Radhakrishnan’s claim that the recent Malayalam film prioritises Keraliyatha or ‘Kerala-ness’, I argue that songs and rituals are key to the films’ imagining of the lovers in relation to local cultures. Illuminating here, therefore, is the emphasis on calendrical rituals, the coding of religious spaces, and soundtracks that intersect with the play via specifically Keralan musical idioms. Crucial to both films are scenarios that cut across barriers of affiliation; accordingly, Annayum Rasoolum and Eeda hold out the prospect of different futures, either through sub-narratives or conjurations of change. Yet, ultimately, both films fall back on ambiguated conclusions, whether these suggest themselves in cyclical narratives or spectacles of separation and precarity. In this way, even as they yearn for alternative realities, these cinematic adaptations affirm a less ameliorative construction of Kerala’s modernity and reflect dispassionately on the entangled histories that shape their imaginative possibility.
Sonia Massai
King’s College, University of London

Sonia Massai is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at King's College London. Her publications include her books on Shakespeare’s Accents: Voicing Identity in Performance (2020) and Shakespeare and the Rise of the Editor (2007), collections of essays on Ivo van Hove: from Shakespeare to David Bowie (2018), Shakespeare and Textual Studies (2015) and World-Wide Shakespeares (2005), and critical editions of The Paratexts in English Printed Drama to 1642 (2014) and John Ford's ’Tis Pity She's a Whore for Arden Early Modern Drama (2011).
Zoom Theatre and Global Utopian Shakespeare
My presentation reflects on the new opportunities offered by digital platforms like Zoom to create a virtual performance space for Shakespeare, while traditional physical spaces remain off limits. By focusing on a selection of recent digital productions, I wish to start exploring ways in which the rise of Zoom Shakespeare develops pre-pandemic notions of ‘global Shakespeare’ as network. The increasing movement of people, ideas and practices across national, linguistic and cultural borders had started to make the global cultural field of Shakespeare in performance resemble a digital network. The notion of network was a theoretical model through which we could best understand the modes of production and reception of Shakespeare in pre-lockdown times. But the digital network has now become our main (albeit virtual) reality and the main means by which creatives and their audiences congregate. The digital productions I have selected for discussion in my presentation have given us a fresh sense of community by allowing us to enjoy both synchronous and a-synchronous collective experiences of Shakespeare in performance, which exceed the physical confines of our homes and regions and of the communities (familial and professional) within them. Some of these productions have quite rightly been hailed as examples of best practice in innovation, leading to greater diversity than was ever achieved in pre-lockdown Shakespearean performance, which, although increasingly networked, revealed uneven access to resources and therefore unequal visibility to its interlocking parts. Zoom Shakespeare has therefore opened up an utopian global space, primarily in the sense that it is not bound to place (u-topos). I want to test this understanding of Zoom Shakespeare against Marc Auge’s problematic but freshly relevant critique of the impact of non-place in hypermodernity versus Paul Gilroy’s celebration of utopian spaces created by the movement and mediation that follow the uprooting of people and practices from a place of origin in order to establish what can be learned from lockdown Shakespeare that can be lastingly transformative.
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