Shakespeare’s new Contemporariness in Serbia

Portmann, Alexandra (June 2015). Shakespeare’s new Contemporariness in Serbia (Unpublished). In: ESRA-Konferenz: Shakespeare’s Europe, Europe’s Shakespeare(s). University of Worcester, UK. 29.06.-02.07.2015.

Since the middle of the 19th century, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is an essential part of the theatrical repertoire in the region of former Yugoslavia. Besides its classical staging’s, which are faithful to the Shakespearean text and follow mostly the psychological paradigm, there are significant modern performances, in which directors choose the Shakespearean text to experiment with different theatrical aesthetics. These performances usually challenge psychological approaches to Hamlet with different dramaturgical means and therefore offer a new perspective on both, the reception of the play within the cultural context and on aesthetic languages in theatre. The aim of this paper is to show how these different approaches to Shakespeare are mirrored in two performances, which were staged in the Yugoslav Drama Theatre. Dušan Jovanović chooses in his performance (2005) a highly visualized approach to Hamlet and therefore challenges traditional readings of the play. While Jovanović renegotiates the relationship between the dramatic text and different theatrical means such as music, light and scenography, Vukičević completely breaks away form the staging tradition of Shakespeare in this region. Her “Cirkus istorija” (2006, Circus of Histories) is a metareflection on the function of Shakespeare in former Yugoslavia, in which she uses the dramatic characters of Titus Andronicus, Othello, Macbeth, Richard III. and Hamlet to reflect on Jan Kott’s grand mechanism of history. In order to articulate her reading of Kott and of Shakespeare’s tragic characters, she uses an artistic body language, which could also be described as physical theatre. The dialogical perspective on both performances marks different aesthetic trends in theatre and shows how Shakespeare’s contemporariness is rediscovered in Serbia after the fall of Slobodan Milošević.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Theater Studies

UniBE Contributor:

Portmann, Alexandra


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Alexandra Portmann

Date Deposited:

17 Aug 2017 10:06

Last Modified:

17 Aug 2017 10:06


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