Abstract

This essay examines Macbeth and presidential politics during the Cold War and during the Global War on Terror. The essay focuses on two sets of productions: 1) a series of "tactical," counterinsurgent protest performances of Macbush, including amateur rewritings of Macbeth which appeared on stages, online, in magazines and in the street in direct contact with Bush's presence at the G8 summit, and 2) the NEA's seemingly co-opted, official, "strategic" performances of Macbeth at military bases, part of a military tour sponsored generously by Boeing and the US Department of Defense. Using the mode of "immanent critique" developed by Deleuze and de Certeau, Barnes argues that dialectical understandings of culture and power rely upon a particular way of understanding the priority of space, one rooted firmly in Cold War discourses of cultural fronts and quantitative movements through homogenous space. Reading the NEA's founding documents alongside the Iraq Study Group report, Barnes argue that the Bush administration's confidence in static space-like Macbeth in Dunsinane when the "wood began to move"-encountered "terror" when it met with temporal changes in the space of the battlefield. Despite national efforts to determine the meaning of performance spaces (in ways that parallel military efforts to control and determine unstable cartographies), the durational work of performance does more than it means, producing affective bonds and temporal behaviors that exceed and reconfigure the ostensibly determined semantic spaces of the page (much as temporal improvisation and insurgency work to disrupt static notions of the battlefield).

Keywords

Strategies,Tactics,Military,Protest,Improvisation,Counterinsurgency,NEA (National Endowment for the Arts),Shakespeare in American Communities

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-1427
Print ISSN
0748-2558
Pages
pp. 1-29
Launched on MUSE
2008-08-29
Open Access
No
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