Sederi 22 — 2012
Berta Cano Echevarría & Ana Sáez-Hidalgo
Francisco J. Borge López
Rosa M. García-Periago, “The re-birth of Shakespeare in India: celebrating and Indianizing the Bard in 1964.” SEDERI 22 (2012): 51-68.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34136/sederi.2012.3 Download PDF
While the Tercentenary of Shakespeare’s death (1916) was hardly celebrated in India and marked the beginning of a period in which Shakespeare was hidden, the Quartercentenary of his birth (1964) spawned a large number of collections, theatre performances and even exhibitions to pay homage to the Bard. Although a special issue of the journal Indian Literature published in 1964 contributed to the re-emergence of Shakespeare, the most revolutionary projects in the making of a vernacular Shakespeare occurred on the Indian stage via Utpal Dutt’s Shakespearean productions in Bengali. Following Arjun Appadurai, this paper argues that Utpal Dutt’s Bengali theatre productions in 1964 participate in a “decolonization” of Shakespeare, consisting in liberating Shakespeare “the text” and Shakespeare “the author” from the bonds of the empire, from restrictive colonial associations. Two out of his three theatre performances produced in 1964 – Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar – are symptomatic of the effects of “glocalizing” the Shakespearean texts since the original place names and names of the characters are combined with the Bengali language and some unavoidable localization. Thus, Shakespeare’s Quartercentenary in India not only saw the re-emergence of the Bard, but also took its first steps in his indigenization.
Keywords: Shakespeare; appropriation; theatre performances; Quartercentenary; India.
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