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Female voices found in the Tainaner Ensemble’s Shakespeare Unplugged 3 – Macbeth

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In 2003 and 2007, the Tainaner Ensemble performed two adaptations of Macbeth in Taiwanese, the most frequently spoken local language in Taiwan other than Mandarin Chinese. Both adaptations, based on the same script, deleted the battle scenes and featured three witches as protagonists. The number of female characters thus increased, and additional care was taken to show female influences. These Taiwanese adaptations produced various tunes by addressing the rhyme, meter and tone of these compositions. Actors were required to find rhythm in their body movements and the voice of their characters. The female actors playing Lady Macbeth and the three witches also incorporated different vocal techniques into their speeches to enhance the rhythm. The female voices came to the forefront and complemented the feminine power in these adaptations. This article discusses how this female domination was established, and the ways that the coordination between physical and verbal actions equipped the female characters to create melody in their performances. The manifestation of these female voices offered the feminist reading of Macbeth to signify the female rise to power.

Keywords: Macbeth; Taiwanese; adaptation and performance; feminist Shakespeare criticism; rhythm and melody; voice and movement

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Providence University

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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