The aim of this article is to explore the potential of hauntological theories to explain and problematise selected aspects of authority and performance in the context of Shakespeare’s drama. Referring primarily to Derrida’s and Abraham’s concepts of the ghost and the phantom and their connection to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the article discusses hauntological perspectives on performance, both deconstructing and reaffirming authority. The paper comments on the relation between text and performance (Brook, Lehmann), memory and repetition (Carlson), disappearance and perpetual present (Phelan), as well as archive and repertoire (Taylor) in order to highlight the contradictory yet productive ways of understanding performance. The final part of the article, focusing on the significance of the ghost figure, examines experimental appropriations of Shakespeare’s play in Walny Theatre’s Hamlet (2015) in the light of postdramatic aesthetics.


authority, hauntology, Shakespeare, Hamlet, postdramatic performance, Walny Theatre


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Walny Theatre. Hamlet. Live performance at Klamra Theatre Festival (23 Akademickie Spotkania Teatralne), Toruń, 2015.

Worthen, William B. Shakespeare and the Authority of Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

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