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Something is rotten on the stage of Flanders : postdramatic Shakespeare in contemporary Flemish theatre

(2010) CONTEMPORARY THEATRE REVIEW. 20(4). p.437-448
Author
Organization
Project
'Marqué par une image'. Onderzoek naar het statuut van het (film)beeld m.b.t. herinneringsmechanismen en geheugenparadigma's in een postdramatische esthetiek. Funding program. FWO Contract 22043 G.O.667.08.N.10.
Abstract
The diverse afterlives of Shakespeare's tragedies often disclose particular artistic visions within a changing theatre landscape. This article explores how contemporary Flemish adaptations reflect a changing understanding of the 'tragic' that signals the emergence of a postdramatic theatre aesthetic. In particular, productions by Jan Decorte, whose Hamlet shocked the Brussels audience in 1978, Jan Lauwers' Shakespeare-cycle, created with his Needcompany in the 1990s, and Peter Verhelst's two poetic adaptations of Romeo and Juliet (1998 and 1999) will be discussed. I shall argue that in these wayward versions, Shakespeare's text is treated as Fremdkorper - as an impure, foreign body - in order to articulate a postdramatic vision of the vanity of action, of the unrepresentable notions of violence and death, and of the performative power of poetic language. The tragic heroes are no longer treated as traditional elevated characters where catharsis develops from a mimesis of pain, from an empathic identification with the hero. Here, instead, as Hans-Thies Lehmann observed in Postdramatic Theatre, borrowing a term from Adorno, a 'mimesis to pain' haunts the contemporary Flemish stage: we witness a 'transition from represented pain to pain experienced in representation' (p. 166, original emphasis [Routledge, 2006]).
Keywords
Flemish theatre, Jan Lauwers, Jan Decorte, postdramatic theatre, Peter verhelst, Shakespeare

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Chicago
Stalpaert, Christel. 2010. “Something Is Rotten on the Stage of Flanders : Postdramatic Shakespeare in Contemporary Flemish Theatre.” Contemporary Theatre Review 20 (4): 437–448.
APA
Stalpaert, C. (2010). Something is rotten on the stage of Flanders : postdramatic Shakespeare in contemporary Flemish theatre. CONTEMPORARY THEATRE REVIEW, 20(4), 437–448.
Vancouver
1.
Stalpaert C. Something is rotten on the stage of Flanders : postdramatic Shakespeare in contemporary Flemish theatre. CONTEMPORARY THEATRE REVIEW. 2010;20(4):437–48.
MLA
Stalpaert, Christel. “Something Is Rotten on the Stage of Flanders : Postdramatic Shakespeare in Contemporary Flemish Theatre.” CONTEMPORARY THEATRE REVIEW 20.4 (2010): 437–448. Print.
@article{1089825,
  abstract     = {The diverse afterlives of Shakespeare's tragedies often disclose particular artistic visions within a changing theatre landscape. This article explores how contemporary Flemish adaptations reflect a changing understanding of the 'tragic' that signals the emergence of a postdramatic theatre aesthetic. In particular, productions by Jan Decorte, whose Hamlet shocked the Brussels audience in 1978, Jan Lauwers' Shakespeare-cycle, created with his Needcompany in the 1990s, and Peter Verhelst's two poetic adaptations of Romeo and Juliet (1998 and 1999) will be discussed. I shall argue that in these wayward versions, Shakespeare's text is treated as Fremdkorper - as an impure, foreign body - in order to articulate a postdramatic vision of the vanity of action, of the unrepresentable notions of violence and death, and of the performative power of poetic language. The tragic heroes are no longer treated as traditional elevated characters where catharsis develops from a mimesis of pain, from an empathic identification with the hero. Here, instead, as Hans-Thies Lehmann observed in Postdramatic Theatre, borrowing a term from Adorno, a 'mimesis to pain' haunts the contemporary Flemish stage: we witness a 'transition from represented pain to pain experienced in representation' (p. 166, original emphasis [Routledge, 2006]).},
  author       = {Stalpaert, Christel},
  issn         = {1048-6801},
  journal      = {CONTEMPORARY THEATRE REVIEW},
  keyword      = {Flemish theatre,Jan Lauwers,Jan Decorte,postdramatic theatre,Peter verhelst,Shakespeare},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {437--448},
  title        = {Something is rotten on the stage of Flanders : postdramatic Shakespeare in contemporary Flemish theatre},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2010.505757},
  volume       = {20},
  year         = {2010},
}

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