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Staging Madness in Contemporary Shakespearean Adaptations

Staging Madness in Contemporary Shakespearean Adaptations

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Funded by:  University of Glasgow, College of Arts

Main contact:   Molly Ziegler

Start date:  2015

End date:  2018

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As one of the most internationally revived playwrights, Shakespeare’s works are continually reinterpreted to suit different theoretical aims. My project, based in theatre studies, explores how such interpretations engage with psychological discourses to suit modern views on mental illness. In doing so, I ask how Elizabethan insanity, through contextual shifts in social perception and diagnostics, might translate to the contemporary stage. The key questions underpinning this research include: how have theatre practitioners represented madness in contemporary Shakespearean stage adaptations? What dramaturgical approaches are used in such adaptations to portray insanity? How do these representations fit into and/or contest current debates on mental illness? With this aim, I seek to also interrogate theatre’s role in constructing and challenging meanings of madness. Specific areas of interest for this research include: Elizabethan and modern discourses on psychology/psychiatry, adaptation processes, Shakespeare studies, dramaturgical practices and gender studies.

This research is funded through the University of Glasgow, College of Arts PhD Scholarship and is supervised by Drs Vicky Price and Anselm Heinrich.