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Towards best intercultural practice: An analysis of Tim Supple's pan-Indian A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Director Tim Supple's British Council-funded production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (2006) was a pan-Indian and Sri Lankan spectacular. Working with performers from a diversity of sub-continental cultural, linguistic, socio-economic and performance backgrounds, Supple created a boldly physical adaptation of Shakespeare that toured globally for three years. Drawing on intercultural and postcolonial theory, this article tackles both the potentially productive working models and the potentially uncomfortable power dynamics arising from Supple's production. A Midsummer Night's Dream was performed in eight different languages: a fact that allowed it to operate intraculturally and to guard a sense of place in an international arena. The sexual and violent nature of its staging, however, lead to troubling Orientalist interpretations in global touring contexts. In thinking through the effects of these two key dramaturgical choices, this article works towards a pragmatics of best intercultural practice without eliding the socio-political ramifications of cross-cultural exchange.
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Keywords: Orientalism; best practice; globalization; interculturalism; materialities; postcolonialism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of London

Publication date: December 14, 2011

More about this publication?
  • 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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