Shakespeare in Canada Essay example

Shakespeare in My Canada

If you ask my dad about Shakespeare, he will quote you a soliloquy fromMacbeth. If you ask my dad about Kathakali, he will instantly quote you a poetic epicfrom the Mahabharata. If you ask my dad about how Shakespeare and Kathakali fittogether, in truth, he is not quite sure. I was not sure of the reasons myself, when I firststarted thinking about what Shakespeare in my Canada meant to me, why I immediatelythought of Kathakali. Kathakali is an indigenous art form of Kerala, the southernmoststate of India, and my father’s home. It is an extremely expressive form of dance-drama,originally performed to tell the stories of the major Indian epics, the Mahabharata andthe Ramayana. In recent years, there have been attempts in both India and Canada toadapt Shakespearean works to the Kathakali form, with varying degrees of success.Through exploration of two such attempts, as well as brief examination of criticalresponses to them, I would argue that Kathakali is in fact a viable form through whichShakespearean works can be adapted in a Canadian and/or post-colonial context.As we all know, Shakespeare himself based many of his plays on already existingplays and stories. It is fitting then that “Shakespeare’s works have, from their inception,been both the product and the source of an ongoing explosion of re-creation” (Fischlin,1). As a country once colonized by the British, Canada is especially familiar withShakespeare’s near-universal power to lend a sense of cultural authenticity to any setting,be it school-house stage, or tavern theatre. Today, despite being more than a century past2its colonial days, Canada is still struggling to define itself as a nation. Although we ma…

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…onewith great potential to open new artistic doors in both Canada and India in the future.6Works CitedFischlin, Daniel and Mark Fortier. “General Introduction.” Adaptations of Shakespeare.Eds. Daniel Fischlin and Mark Fortier. London: Routledge, 2000.Khandwani, Sudha. “A Century of Indian Dance.” Kala Nidhi Fine Arts of Canada.Available: . 2005.Raina, Arjun. Arjun Raina. Available: . 2004.7AppendixImage 1Annette Leday performing “Stuff of Dreams” at Kala NidhiToronto, 2004Available from________________________________________________________________________Image 2Arjun Raina performing his KhelKali adaptation of Othello at Leela a ElahiDelhi, 1997Available from


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