Global Shakespeares

Shakespeare on the Arabian Peninsula

Authors: Hennessey, Katherine

  • - Examines why and how Shakespeare is currently being studied and performed across the Arabian Peninsula, in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen
  • - Explores the ways in which adaptations of Shakespeare can circumvent censorship in order to comment upon fraught socio-political issues 
  • - Investigates the ways in which theatrical performances--and performances of Shakespeare in particular--can create and model more diverse, inclusive, and egalitarian forms of community for a fractured and stratified region
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eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-58471-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-58470-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Since the turn of the millennium, the Arabian Peninsula has produced a remarkable series of adaptations of Shakespeare. These include a 2007 production of Much Ado About Nothing, set in Kuwait in 1898; a 2011 performance in Sharjah of Macbeth, set in 9th-century Arabia; a 2013 Yemeni adaptation of The Merchant of Venice, in which the Shylock figure is not Jewish; and Hamlet, Get Out of My Head, a one-man show about an actor’s fraught response to the Danish prince, which has been touring the cities of Saudi Arabia since 2014.
This groundbreaking study surveys the surprising history of Shakespeare on the Arabian Peninsula, situating the current flourishing of Shakespearean performance and adaptation within the region’s complex, cosmopolitan, and rapidly changing socio-political contexts. Through first-hand performance reviews, interviews, and analysis of resources in Arabic and English, this volume brings to light the ways in which local theatremakers, students, and scholars use Shakespeare to address urgent regional issues like authoritarianism, censorship, racial discrimination and gender inequality.

About the authors

Dr. Katherine Hennessey is Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Assistant Professor of English at the American University of Kuwait, where her scholarship focuses on theatre and cinema in the Arabian Gulf, Yemen, and Ireland. She has held academic appointments on the Palestinian West Bank and in Yemen and, before moving to Kuwait, was a Global Shakespeare Research Fellow at the University of Warwick and Queen Mary University of London and a Moore Institute Visiting Fellow at the National University of Ireland in Galway.

Hennessey is the author of numerous articles on the performing arts in Yemen and the Gulf. She is also co-editor, with Margaret Litvin, of the anthology Shakespeare in the Arab World (Berghahn, 2019); director of the short film Shakespeare in Yemen, which was screened in June 2018 at the Signature Theatre in New York City; and translator of Wajdi Al-Ahdal's A Crime on Restaurant Street, the first Yemeni play to appear in English.




Reviews

“Katherine Hennessey's outstanding book ... is an act of accomplished scholarship, combining personal involvement with scholarly analysis, and some brilliant interpretations of texts in relation to social, political, educational and cultural conditions. It is a highly enjoyable, in many ways unique, work that is in reality much more than a history of Shakespeare in the Arabian Peninsula; it is, to a considerable extent, a history of the Peninsula itself. Erudite, lucid and thought provoking. … This book does a lot more than simply enrichShakespearian studies; it adds a new Shakespeare, totally unknown to the West, to the many Shakespeares that we all love and cherish, a Bard who does a great deal more than we associate with his genius; he contributes on the deepest and most existential levels to the shaping of real life for whole societies, for different social groups, minorities, communities and individuals, in regions of the world that aspire for a brighter future and more humane forms of social interaction and organization.” (Kamal Abu-Deeb, Emeritus Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London)

“This wide-ranging new study by Katherine Hennessey is particularly important and welcome. She covers the peninsula and its theatrical traditions from Kuwait to Yemen, and discusses not only local and touring productions, but Shakespeare’s position in the university classrooms and studio theatres of this region.  Students of theatre of the Arab world as well as scholars interested in the global influence of the English dramatist will undoubtedly find this study an essential addition to their bookshelves.” (Marvin Carlson, Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Performance, Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies, The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

“We need to keep learning more and more about the global phenomenon that is Shakespeare. Katherine Hennessey’s outstanding book is the first to introduce us to the complexities and riches of Shakespeare in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the other countries of the Arabian Peninsula. I was fascinated and excited by her study, learning much from her as an excellent and endlessly helpful guide to these many cultures’ widely varying engagements with Shakespeare.” (Peter Holland, McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies at the University of Notre Dame)

“Stressing artists’ ability to create community through Shakespeare, this book offers a new and sympathetic glimpse into cultural life on the Arabian Peninsula. Academic and general readers alike will enjoy Hennessey’s visits to Gulf universities, expatriate enclaves, international festivals, and local theatre companies, from Abu Dhabi’s Resuscitation Theatre to a Shakespeare-as-folklore performance in Yemen.” (Margaret Litvin, Associate Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature and founding director of Middle East and North Africa Studies at Boston University)

Table of contents (9 chapters)

  • Introduction: All the Perfumes of Arabia

    Hennessey, Katherine

    Pages 1-42

  • Chapter 1. “Abstract and Brief Chronicles”: Shakespeare on the Peninsula in the Twentieth Century

    Hennessey, Katherine

    Pages 43-81

  • Chapter 2. Sparking Debate: Shakespeare in the University Classroom

    Hennessey, Katherine

    Pages 83-116

  • Chapter 3. Challenging Segregation: Shakespeare in Performance at Gulf Universities

    Hennessey, Katherine

    Pages 117-147

  • Chapter 4. Negotiating Censorship: Shakespeare on Tour in the Gulf

    Hennessey, Katherine

    Pages 149-177

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-58471-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-58470-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Shakespeare on the Arabian Peninsula
Authors
Series Title
Global Shakespeares
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-58471-7
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-58471-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-58470-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXI, 340
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations, 25 illustrations in colour
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