“Something rotten in this age of hope”: Wesley Deintje directs The HamletMachine. Rhodes University Theatre, 28 September 2007. (theatre review)

Wright, L.S. (2008) “Something rotten in this age of hope”: Wesley Deintje directs The HamletMachine. Rhodes University Theatre, 28 September 2007. (theatre review). Shakespeare in Southern Africa, 20 . pp. 66-68. ISSN 1011-582X

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Abstract

Heiner Müller’s most famous play (Die Hamletmaschine, 1977) has evolved into something of a familiar war-horse for student theatre. The United States in particular has taken to the work; indeed, it was meant in part for them: “Heil Coca-cola!” says the script. For today’s South African ears this has become, very aptly, “Hail the Rainbow Nation!” What young director can resist it? Only eight pages in extent, the sparse yet densely referential text offers unfettered scope for interpretation and contextualization. Sure, the original offered Muller’s despairing take on the collapse of western civilisation, typified in the East German predicament where intellectuals felt trapped between the total failure of ‘actually existing socialism’ – that ideological mirage – in the German Democratic Republic, and the horrors of emergent bandit capitalism presaging an uncomfortable future. But the spaces in the text are so capacious that almost any claim to climactic despair can be entertained: idiot consumerism, gender oppression and aggression, political treachery and malfeasance, fascism, existential angst, intellectual cowardice, the postmodern condition, the rejection of hope.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Heiner Müller; The HamletMachine; Die Hamletmaschine; Wesley Deintje; Baader-Meinhof; Susan Atkins; Rhodes Drama Department; Drama Department; Rhodes University; Karl Popper; unended quest; Grahamstown; South africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1210
Deposited By: Prof Laurence Wright
Deposited On:09 Oct 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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