ENGL 534-01: Shakespeare and Film
Shakespeare’s lasting role in public culture is due in large part to his openness to interpretation: there are always new Shakespeares to discover. This seminar is about the interpretations of Shakespeare we find on film and in video captures of stage performance. We will review what we know about Renaissance stage methods and their approximation in today’s “original practices” movement, and we will sample the three genres—comedy, history, tragedy—recognized in Shakespeare’s First Folio. We will undertake “close readings” of the choices made by directors, actors, designers, and cinematographers. Many literary-critical approaches cut their first teeth on Shakespeare—psychoanalytical theory, historicism, feminism, queer theory, critical race studies, post-colonialism, eco-criticism, disability studies—and we will seek out the ways in which these approaches inform the stage and screen. We will take up such specific issues as color-blind casting and color-conscious casting, single-gender casting (all men or all women) and gender-switched casting, cultural translation and cultural adaptation. If circumstances permit, we will attend one D.C.-area theatrical production to experience the live as well as the cinematically archived.