Louise Geddes deposited Some Tweeting Cleopatra: Crossing Borders on and off the Shakespearean Stage on Humanities Commons 2 years, 11 months ago
This essay will examine the multiple performance texts that exist in Ivo Van Hove’s transcultural and transmedial performance event, The Roman Tragedies (which toured worldwide from 2007 to 2013) to suggest that, in today’s “spreadable” culture (to borrow from Henry Jenkins), appropriative use becomes the bridge that can unify ‘work’ and ‘event.’
Van Hove’s six hour, Dutch aggregation of Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus, presented the play’s politics through the thematic device of globalized media, and drew attention to his appropriation’s identity as an iteration of the text through its recognition of the ease with which media transgresses boundaries. Audience members were encouraged to move around the auditorium and stage, and documenting the experience on social media. The audience was offered the opportunity to become the bridge between work and event, not only playing the role of the chorus-like Roman citizens, but also building a collaborative performance text consolidated through the use of the hashtag #romantragedies. The formulation of a new performative micro-text extended the life of the event, as well as its scope, through twitter’s temporal-spatial collapse that engendered the conflation Van Hove’s event with other Roman Tragedies globally produced since 2007. Thus, the audience of #romantragedies (Van Hove’s and beyond), participate in a palimpsested, global appropriation of Shakespeare that foregrounds the appropriative flexibility of text.