Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Redrawing Shakespeare

John Mullan is the Guardian finds Jon Howard's graphic fiction version of Macbeth:

... a jarring experience

But notes that it is:
... something more interesting than just another attempt to make the Bard look flashy and relevant. The graphic novel helps the unschooled reader see that Macbeth - extraordinary as its language might be - is not just words. Every frame has people acting and reacting, pressed by events. Pupils reading the play often have difficulties simply understanding what is happening. Here, the illustrations will let them see, and leave them (you hope) free to absorb the words.
Graphic fiction representations of the bard are taking off in a big way as some of you will realise from attending events organised by the British Council when Paul Duffield and Emma Schofield were in town.

But how do the literary purists feel about this? Shakespearean expert Professor Lim Chee Seng of University Malaya is all for it, in this very nice review of Duffield and Schofield's manga interpretations on the Kakiseni website.

Me? I think it looks great fun and I love to see Shakespeare interpreted in new and interesting ways. (By the way, I love the series of BBC dramas based on Shakespeare plays that were shown here last year.)

Such interpretations never harm the original. Shakespeare's work was meant to be performed and not poured over on the page. And every performance is of course a reinterpretation.

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