The Arab Shakespeare Trilogy
Shakespeare’s plays have been a part of the global cultural lexicon for centuries. Love, hate, humor, tragedy, wit, despair, anger, betrayal… his works encapsulate all aspects of the human experience, no matter how far removed from the world he knew. And that’s what makes them so perfect for adaptation.
The Arab Shakespeare Trilogy collects three reimaginings of classic works of the bard, crafted to comment on modern troubles in the Arab world. Sulayman Al Bassam has breathed fascinating new life into Hamlet, Richard III, and Twelfth Night through the lens of the complicated 21st-century realities of the Middle East.
It’s an intriguing experiment to say the least, one that demands those unfamiliar with the politics, culture, and traditions of the Islamic world to open their eyes and challenge their preconceived notions. Whether it’s Ophelia’s explosive sacrifice or the multi-layered narrative of actors trying to be provocative without provoking reprisals from conservative leaders, Al Bassam’s reworkings are a rich and demanding reading experience.
Although some of the references are inaccessible to a Western reader — even with the copious footnotes and explanations provided — The Arab Shakespeare Trilogy remains an incredibly worthwhile read, one that raises key issues in a intriguing way.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Author||Sulayman Al-Bassam, Sulayman Al Bassam, Graham Holderness, Editor|
|Page Count||224 pages|
|Publisher||Bloomsbury Methuen Drama|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Music & Movies|