Since the turn of the millennium, the Arabian Peninsula has produced a remarkable series of adaptations of Shakespeare. These include a 2007 production of Much Ado About Nothing, set in Kuwait in 1898; a 2011 performance in Sharjah of Macbeth, set in 9th-century Arabia; a 2013 Yemeni adaptation of The Merchant of Venice, in which the Shylock figure is not Jewish; and Hamlet, Get Out of My Head, a one-man show about an actor's fraught response to the Danish prince, which has been touring the cities of Saudi Arabia since 2014.
This groundbreaking study surveys the surprising history of Shakespeare on the Arabian Peninsula, situating the current flourishing of Shakespearean performance and adaptation within the region's complex, cosmopolitan, and rapidly changing socio-political contexts. Through first-hand performance reviews, interviews, and analysis of resources in Arabic and English, this volume brings to light the ways in which local theatremakers, students, and scholars use Shakespeare to address urgent regional issues like authoritarianism, censorship, racial discrimination and gender inequality.
Dr. Katherine Hennessey is Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Assistant Professor of English at the American University of Kuwait, where her scholarship focuses on theatre and cinema in the Arabian Gulf, Yemen, and Ireland. She has held academic appointments on the Palestinian West Bank and in Yemen and, before moving to Kuwait, was a Global Shakespeare Research Fellow at the University of Warwick and Queen Mary University of London and a Moore Institute Visiting Fellow at the National University of Ireland in Galway.
Hennessey is the author of numerous articles on the performing arts in Yemen and the Gulf. She is also co-editor, with Margaret Litvin, of the anthology Shakespeare in the Arab World (Berghahn, 2019); director of the short film Shakespeare in Yemen, which was screened in June 2018 at the Signature Theatre in New York City; and translator of Wajdi Al-Ahdal's A Crime on Restaurant Street, the first Yemeni play to appear in English.
1. All the Perfumes of Arabia.- 2. Shakespeare on the Peninsula in the 20th Century.- 3. Shakespeare in the University Classroom.- 4. Shakespeare in Performance at Gulf Universities.- 5. Shakespeare on Tour in the Gulf.- 6. Shakespeare and 'New Local' theatre in the UAE and Qatar.- 7. Shakespeare in Oman, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.- 8. Shakespeare in Kuwait.- Conclusion.