This essay studies "theatricality" and "anti-theatricality" in two film versions of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: Julius Caesar (dir. Gregory Doran, 2012) and I, Cinna (the Poet) (dir. Tim Crouch, 2012). The films' original stagings have been analyzed as examples of postcolonial Shakespeares and in connection to their relevance during the Olympic Games 2012. Nonetheless, as films, they can be studied as adaptations connected to the socio-economic and political struggles taking place in the local context. I am using Martin Puchner's distinction of "theatricality" and "anti-theatricality." While the former celebrates public performance, the latter questions everything unreliable or manipulative in spectacular performance. Such theoretical concepts are adapted to the current cultural landscape, where forms of mainstream and radical theatre collide. Our films' original stage productions were contextualized in Africa and in a totalitarian country respectively. Nonetheless, the analyses of stage, backstage and offstage spaces in the films reveal that the productions, anchored in the riot culture of London 2011-2012, are closer to home than the marketing suggests. I analyze theatricality and anti-theatricality in the films' paratexts as well as in the films themselves, attend to the mechanisms of ideological control produced by theatricality, and explore the means through which forms of anti-theatricality expose the films' worlds' disciplinary systems through the constant suggestion of a realistic context.


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pp. 537-560
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