Abstract

This article examines how the first two Romanian productions of Hamlet after the 1989 revolution negotiated their relations with history - the play's seventeenth-century heritage, four centuries of international reception of Hamlet since, and the relatively recent Romanian past which had turned Hamlet into a Romanian-history play - through a particular focus on the productions' treatment of stillness and interruption. Through an exploration of how Gabor Tompa's 1997 production and Ion Sapdaru's staging in 1998 engaged explicitly with Hamlet's local history as a direct response to the play's absence from post-1989 Romanian theatres, the study seeks to demonstrate how each production took advantage of the interruptions readily available in Shakespeare's playtext, using them as a theatrical strategy to expose history as an accumulation of individual stories, showing theatre as remembering the past. The essay is also concerned with how, unlike productions which preceded 1989, Tompa's and Sapdaru's Hamlets used such interruptions and acts of remembrance both to mark their disengagement from Hamlet's history of dissent in Romania during communism and to (re)engage with Shakespeare's play, interrupting or activating the "stillness" of the text through performance. Prompted by the explicit "tokens" post-1989 Romanian Hamlets offered, the article also argues that through the use of stillness, these productions uncovered and recovered a history which had been forcefully rewritten, invoking history in order to observe and question it, before negotiating it and ultimately leaving it behind in order to tell their individual stories.

Keywords

Hamlet,Romania,1989 revolution,Communism,Remembrance,Stillness,Interruption,Gabor Tompa,Ion Sapdaru

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-1427
Print ISSN
0748-2558
Pages
pp. 61-85
Launched on MUSE
2007-04-12
Open Access
No
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