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Recasting, Restorying, and Restructuring Shakespeare for Liberation


Recasting refers to giving a steel object new life by melting it down and reforming it. By taking Shakespeare out of the classroom and placing the expertise of Shakespeare into the palms of these working with the textual content with a concentrate on embodiment, we give a brand new kind to the outdated work.

Restorying is positioning the tales in relation to ourselves and taking liberty with our personal interpretations of characters, plotlines, and subtexts to make the story significant to a contemporary group.

Restructuring the present energy inherent in Shakespeare’s works permits us house to follow envisioning the world during which we want to reside. Not solely do Shakespeare’s themes and tales uphold structural energy, however Shakespeare is commonly used as a software of western, imperial, white supremacy. For example, Shakespeare’s first function within the classroom was as public talking follow in rhetoric and elocution, which we all know has been used to keep up management over Black kids’s speech patterns. Nevertheless, by restructuring the norm of placing Shakespeare on a pedestal, we will start to dismantle bigger methods of energy.

My challenge constructed upon many traditions of reimagined Shakespeare, and utilized theories throughout academic disciplines to a efficiency challenge with the aim of deepened self-awareness and sense of self-in-community. I particularly targeted on the function of embodied workouts not as a software for understanding the textual content, however for understanding the self and group. Via the lens of Brazilian Marxist educator Paolo Freire’s “liberating training,” I argue that grappling with historic energy constructions deepens understanding of contemporary energy constructions and personal-political identities. And so, the touchstone guiding my work is a quote from Freire. Within the seminal Pedagogy of the Oppressed, he posits “there’s no such factor as impartial training. Training both features as an instrument to result in conformity or freedom.” Or, to paraphrase Hamlet, “There’s nothing both good or unhealthy, however [teaching] makes it so.”

The Course of

Macbeth has been on the forefront of my thoughts for just a few years; I used to be notably eager about Macbeth as a “rehearsal for the revolution,” watching an try at government-overthrow go fallacious and watching characters struggle again towards fascism. In Macbeth, the characters are royalty—princes and lords. How did the proletariat struggle again?

The rehearsal course of was divided into three components: exploration of themes/group identification, creation and workshop of fabric, and compiling materials and sprucing the present. Whereas a whole lot of the curriculum I drew upon stemmed from constructive experiences interviewees had with Shakespeare training, I held their unfavorable experiences in my thoughts too. Lots of the contributors within the challenge had studied theatre at the highschool or school stage, some even working as theatre professionals for a time frame. A lot of them had skilled marginalization from their Shakespeare training and/or the skilled theatre business in a roundabout way. Crucial outcomes of my challenge had been for contributors to have a joyful time being in group, and to really feel like they’d one thing distinctive and essential so as to add to the Shakespearean custom. To do that, I set an expectation from the primary rehearsal that this was not an adaptation of a Shakespeare play, however a response to it. I used to be clear with contributors that I used to be eager about their ideas and experiences greater than the unique textual content. When a participant expressed dissatisfaction with one thing that occurs within the unique play, I reiterated that disagreeing with the textual content was celebrated. I additionally didn’t take part in reflective writing or scene creation, however drew others’ writings collectively as a facilitator and organizer. I didn’t wish to information the dialog greater than I already was because the chief of the challenge. These rules allowed us to place ourselves as specialists in relation to the textual content—not due to any official Shakespeare coaching, however due to everybody’s personal experiences. We had been co-constructing an understanding of the play anchored locally identification that had fashioned. As radical doula adrienne maree brown says in Emergent Technique, “There’s a dialog within the room that solely these folks at this second can have. Discover it.” The story informed within the devised piece was a mirrored image of particular person and group identification, which rejects conformity in Shakespeare training.

Earlier than rehearsals even begun, we had recast the play into one thing uniquely ours.


The primary section started in February 2023 with month-to-month “textual content events.” Members got here to my home and I cooked a meal for everybody. We sat in the lounge and performed with, manipulated, rearranged, mentioned, and rejected monologues and quotes from Macbeth. In an train I realized from JD Stokely—a self-described “trickster-in-training” and theatre research scholar—referred to as “aggravating the textual content,” we manipulated unique Shakespeare textual content into discovered poems. This was a casual gathering with mates and strangers, a few of whom continued with the method and signed as much as take part within the present, others who didn’t. The poems written on the textual content events had been used within the closing present and as supply supplies for dialogue. Shakespeare was performed with and altered to inform the story the contributors felt was most essential. Earlier than rehearsals even begun, we had recast the play into one thing uniquely ours. Positioning the play as a leaping off level moderately than a closing product modified the aim from understanding Shakespeare to understanding the self and group, which is the aim of liberatory training.




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