Theatre, Drama, and Performance in Post-apartheid South Africa
Edited By Greg Homann and Marc Maufort
“After Titus:” Towards a Survey of Shakespeare on the Post-apartheid Stage
← 74 | 75 → “After Titus”
Towards a Survey of Shakespeare on the Post-apartheid Stage
University of the Witwatersrand
When undertaking an account of South African Shakespeare-in-performance since the legislative end of apartheid, one is faced with a number of structural choices. What is the best way to “categorise” Shakespearean productions? By date – a chronological narrative? By play? By director? By actor? By company? By theatre? By city? By popularity and commercial success – audience response and critical reception? What I am about to offer is a combination of these, and by no means an attempt to be comprehensive. It is also worth emphasising the problem of defining the “Shakespearean,” never mind the “South African”; this is a consideration to which I shall return shortly. It seems, however, that an obvious (indeed, a necessary) starting point is Titus Andronicus, staged at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg in 1995, the year after South Africa’s first democratic elections.
No post-apartheid Shakespeare production has received more scholarly attention than this Titus, which continues to function as a key point of reference when critics and theatre historians discuss the ways in which Shakespeare has been presented on South Africa’s stages over the last two decades.1 Various anxieties related to “local” adaptation emerge from these responses: the play-as-political-allegory, the representation of race and ethnicity, the “colonial cringe” and the practicalities of theatre-making (amongst others). The production was a collaboration with the ← 75 | 76 → English National Theatre...
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