Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance 2021-02-17T12:39:59+00:00 Monika Sosnowska Open Journal Systems <div style="text-align: justify;"> <p><em>Multicultural Shakespeare&nbsp;</em>is an international journal devoted to Shakespearean studies; it is a forum in which researchers, especially those from non-English-speaking backgrounds, can air local concerns and themes that contribute to the creation and understanding of Shakespeare as global phenomenon. Initially devoted mainly to translations,&nbsp;<em>Multicultural Shakespeare<strong>&nbsp;</strong></em>developed into a publication mediating vigorous discussions on the adaptation of Shakespeare’s texts, their ontology and cross-cultural significance. It created an opportunity to present the universal dimension of Shakespeare’s works by focusing on their local values found in the cultures of Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the&nbsp;USA.</p> </div> Introduction: Shakespeare, Blackface and Performance. A Global Perspective 2021-02-17T07:54:24+00:00 Coen Heijes Ayanna Thompson 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Book Reviews 2021-02-17T12:18:07+00:00 Limin Li Qian Jiang 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Theatre Reviews 2021-02-17T12:39:59+00:00 Xenia Georgopoulou 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Black, White and Blue: Pregnancy and Unsettled Binaries in The Masque of Blackness (1605) 2021-02-17T08:10:39+00:00 Pascale Aebischer Victoria Sparey <p>This article examines the construction of national and racial identities within Ben Jonson’s and Inigo Jones’s <em>Masque of Blackness </em>against the backdrop of King James’ investment in creating a ‘British’ union at the start of his reign. The article re-examines the blackface performance of the Queen and her ladies in the contexts of the Queen’s and Inigo Jones’ European connections, the Queen’s reputation as ‘wilful’, and her pregnant body’s ability to evoke widespread cultural beliefs about the maternal imagination’s power to determine a child’s racial make-up. We argue that the masque’s striking use of blue-face along with black and white-face reveals a deep investment in Britain’s ancient customs which stands in tension with <em>Blackness</em>’ showcasing of foreign bodies, technologies, and cultural reference points. By demonstrating the significance of understanding Queen Anna’s pregnancy and her ‘wilful’ personality within the context of early modern humoral theory, moreover, we develop existing discussions of the humoral theory that underpins the masque’s representation of racial identities. We suggest that the Queen’s pregnant performance in blackface, by reminding the viewer that her maternal mind could ‘will’ the racial identity of royal progeny into being, had the power to unsettle King James I’s white male nationalist supremacy in the very act of celebrating it before their new English court and its foreign guests.</p> 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Othello-dor: Racialized Odor In and On Othello 2021-02-17T09:01:10+00:00 Benjamin Steingass <p>For Shakespearean scholars, the subject of scent in his work has remained relatively lukewarm to discussion. Shakespeare’s use of smell is not only equal to that of his other senses, but smell’s uniquely historical record both on and off the stage illuminate his works in more ways than currently perceived. Shakespeare’s usage of smell is found throughout his works, and their importance on the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean stage present a playwright-director that was exceptionally in-tune with his audiences on the page and in person. Positioned at this culturally significant point in Shakespeare’s career, one work’s utilization of scent textually and theatrically fully explicates the importance of odor in a societal, racial, and domestic capacity: <em>Othello</em>. This article explores and establishes the importance of smell in relation to textual Othello, his “dyed in mummy” handkerchief, and Desdemona in the written tragedy. Additionally, it studies the heighted focus of smell in <em>Othello </em>on a metatheatric level for Shakespeare on his early modern stage, calling attention to the myriad of odors contained in and around his Renaissance theatre and the result effect this awareness would have had on his contemporary audiences in their experience of <em>Othello </em>as a uniquely smell-oriented show.</p> 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Brown, Never Black: Othello on the Nazi Stage 2021-02-17T09:36:47+00:00 Alessandra Bassey <p>This paper examines the ways in which Othello was represented on the Nazi stage. Included in the theatre analyses are <em>Othello </em>productions in Frankfurt in 1935, in Berlin in 1939 and 1944, and in pre-occupation Vienna in 1935. New archival material has been sourced from archives in the aforementioned locations, in order to give detailed insights into the representation of Othello on stage, with a special focus on the makeup that was used on the actors who were playing the titular role. The aim of these analyses is not only to establish what Othello looked like on the Nazi and pre-Nazi stage, but also to examine the Nazis’ relationship with Shakespeare’s Othello within the wider context of their relationship with the Black people who lived in Nazi Germany at the time. In addition, the following pages offer insights into pre-Nazi, Weimar productions of <em>Othello </em>in order to create a more complex and comparative understanding of Nazi <em>Othello </em>productions and the wider theatrical context within which they were produced. In the end, we find out, based on existing evidence, why Othello was brown, and never Black.</p> 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Othello and the Ambivalences of Italian Blackface 2021-02-17T09:57:49+00:00 Shaul Bassi Igiaba Scego <p>Blackface is a cultural practice that appears ubiquitously in Italian history cutting across the political spectrum; it also lends itself to suprising anti-racist actions. This essay examines the use of blackface from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century by looking at its appearance in popular culture and, contextually and dialectically, at its adoption in selected performances of <em>Othello</em>, a play that holds special meaning in Italy because of its famous operatic adaptations. Africa and blackness were often represented in Italian visual arts in the early modern period, but the early colonial ventures of the new independent Italy create a new exotic imaginary that is particularly manifest in popular culture. <em>Othello </em>is influenced by new African discourses but it allso exists in a parallel dimension that somehow resists facile political interpretations. The colonial ventures of post-unification and Fascist Italy do not reverberate in any predictable manner in the growing popularity of the play. After World War II new forms of exoticism emerge that will be subverted only by a new postcolonial scenario that also coincides with a re-emergence of racism. Against the respective historical backdrops, we examine the idiosyncratic versions of blackface by Tommaso Salvini, Pietro Sharoff, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Carmelo Bene, and Elio De Capitani to suggest continuities and discontinuities in Italian interpretations of <em>Othello</em>.</p> 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 How Should You Perform and Watch Othello and Hairspray in a Country Where You Could Never Hire Black Actors? Shakespeare and Casting in Japan 2021-02-17T10:44:00+00:00 Kitamura Sae <p>This paper discusses how Japanese theatres have handled race in a country where hiring black actors to perform Shakespeare’s plays is not an option. In English-speaking regions, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, it is common to hire a black actor for <em>Othello’</em>s title role. Blackface is increasingly unacceptable because it reminds viewers of derogatory stereotypes in minstrel shows, and it deprives black actors of employment opportunities. However, the situation is different in regions where viewers are unfamiliar with this Anglo-US trend. In Japan, a country regarded as so homogeneous that its census does not have any questions about ethnicity, it is almost impossible to hire a skilled black actor to play a title role in a Shakespearean play, and few theatre companies would consider such an idea. In this cultural context, there is an underlying question of how Japanese-speaking theatre should present plays dealing with racial or cultural differences. This paper seeks to understand the recent approaches that Japanese theatre has adopted to address race in Shakespearean plays by analysing several productions of <em>Othello </em>and comparing them with other major non-Shakespearean productions.</p> 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Interpreting Othello in the Arabian Gulf: Shakespeare in a Time of Blackface Controversies 2021-02-17T10:57:59+00:00 Katherine Hennessey <p>This article opens with some brief observations on the phenomenon of Arab blackface—that is, of Arab actors “blacking up” to impersonate black Arab or African characters—from classic cinematic portrayals of the warrior-poet Antara Ibn Shaddad to more recent deployments of blackface in the Arab entertainment industry. It then explores the complex nexus of race, gender, citizenship and social status in the Arabian Gulf as context for a critical reflection on the author’s experience of reading and discussing <em>Othello </em>with students at the American University of Kuwait—discussions which took place in the fall of 2019, in the midst of a wave of controversies sparked by instances of Arab blackface on television and in social media.</p> 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Othello in the Balkans: Performing Race Rhetoric on the Albanian Stage 2021-02-17T11:19:36+00:00 Marinela Golemi <p>This essay examines the racialized rhetoric in Fan Noli’s 1916 <em>Othello </em>translation and the racialized performance techniques employed in A.J. Ricko’s 1953 National Theatre of Albania production. Hoping to combat racial discrimination in Albania, Noli’s translation of <em>Othello </em>renders the Moor an exceptional Turk whose alienation in Venice was designed to mirror the Albanophobic experiences of Albanian immigrants. Moreover, the Albanian <em>Othello </em>can serve as a platform for addressing ethno-racial tensions between Albanians and Turks, northern and southern Albanians, and Albanians of color and white Albanians. Both Noli and Ricko believed there was an anti-racist power inherent within Shakespeare’s play. In the end, however, the race-based rhetoric in the Albanian language, the use of blackface make-up in performance, and the logic and rhetoric of Shakespeare’s play itself challenged these lofty goals for race-healing.</p> 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 “Far more fair than black”: Othellos on the Chilean Stage 2021-02-17T11:31:05+00:00 Paula Baldwin Lind <p>This article reviews part of the stage history of Shakespeare’s <em>Othello </em>in Chile and, in particular, it focuses on two performances of the play: the first, in 1818, and the last one in 2012-2020. By comparing both productions, I aim to establish the exact date and theatrical context of the first Chilean staging of the Shakespearean tragedy using historical sources and English travellers’ records, as well as to explore how the representation of a Moor and of blackness onstage evolved both in its visual dimension — the choice of costumes and the use of blackface—, and in its racial connotations alongside deep social changes. During the nineteenth century <em>Othello </em>became one of the most popular plays in Chile, being performed eleven times in the period of 31 years, a success that also occurred in Spain between 1802 and 1833. The early development of Chilean theatre was very much influenced not only by the ideas of the Spaniards who arrived in the country, but also by the available Spanish translations of Shakespeare; therefore, I argue that the first performances of Othello as Other — different in origin and in skin colour — were characterised by an imitative style, since actors repeated onstage the biased image of Moors that Spaniards had brought to Chile. While the assessment of <em>Othello </em>and race is not new, this article contrasts in its scope, as I do not discuss the protagonist’s actual origin, but how the changes in Chilean social and cultural contexts can reshape and reconfigure the performance of blackness and turn it into a meaningful translation of the Shakespearean Moor that activates audiences’ awareness of racism and fears of miscegenation.</p> 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 The Moor’s Political Colour: Race and Othello in Poland 2021-02-17T11:51:12+00:00 Anna Kowalcze-Pawlik <p>This paper provides a brief outline of the reception history of <em>Othello </em>in Poland, focusing on the way the character of the Moor of Venice is constructed on the page, in the first-published nineteenth-century translation by Józef Paszkowski, and on the stage, in two twentieth-century theatrical adaptations that provide contrasting images of Othello: 1981/1984 televised <em>Othello</em>, dir. Andrzej Chrzanowski and the 2011 production of <em>African Tales Based on Shakespeare</em>, in which Othello’s part is played by Adam Ferency (dir. Krzysztof Warlikowski). The paper details the political and social contexts of each of these stage adaptations, as both of them employ brownface and blackface to visualise Othello’s “political colour.” The function of blackface and brownface is radically different in these two productions: in the 1981/1984 <em>Othello </em>brownface works to underline Othello’s overall sense of alienation, while strengthening the existing stereotypes surrounding black as a skin colour, while the 2011 staging makes the use of blackface as an artificial trick of the actor’s trade, potentially unmasking the constructedness of racial prejudices, while confronting the audience with their own pernicious racial stereotypes.</p> 2020-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021