Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance


Shakespeare’s dramas are potentialities. Any Hamlet may be understood as the space in which Shakespeare’s thoughts are remembered, as a reproduced copy of the unspecified, unidentified source, the so called original. Simultaneously, it may be conceived of as the space where Shakespeare’s legacy and authority is tested, trifled and transgressed. Nowadays Shakespeare’s dramas are disseminated in multifarious forms such as: printed materials, audio and video recordings, compact audio discs, digital videos and disc recordings. Since I am fond of the cultural phenomenon called Hamlet, not a singe text or performance, but a continuum of human interaction with intermediated and transcoded versions of the drama, in this article I focus on the abovementioned single play. I accentuate the title character’s profound meaning in Shakespeare studies and his iconic status in Western culture in different media. I exploit W.B. Worthen’s concept of “Shakespeare 3.0.” to demonstrate Shakespeare’s presence in digital reality on the example of a comic rendering of Hamlet (Tugged Hamlet, 1992) by the Polish cabaret POTEM. Their cabaret sketch, although it was not created for the Internet audience, is available on-line via YouTube, consituting “Shakespeare 3.0.” Furthermore, I pose several questions and attempt to answer them in the course of my analysis: to what extent does the image of a mournful and contemplative Hamlet pervade different dimensions of culture, especially our collective imagination?; what chances of realization has a cultural fantasy of challenging the myth of a witty and contemplative Hamlet when re-written and presented as a pastiche or satire?; was the Polish cabaret POTEM succesful in their comic performance?


Hamlet, cabaret performance, parody, digital Shakespeare


Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of Human, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead Books, 1998.

Crowl, Samuel. Screen Adaptations: Shakespeare’s Hamlet: The Relationship Between the Text and Film. London and New York: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2014.

Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. Harmondsworth: Penguin Freud Library; vol. 4, 1976.

Harry, Levin. The Question of Hamlet. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959.

Shaw, George Bernard. Shaw on Shakespeare. Ed. Edwin Wilson. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1961.

White, R.S. Avant-garde Hamlet. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Wilson, John, Dover. What Happens in Hamlet, 1935. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Worthen, W.B. Drama: Between Poetry and Performance, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2010.

Worthen, W.B. “Performing Shakespeare in Digital Culture.” The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture. Ed. Robert Shaughnessy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 227-47.

Worthen, W.B. “Shakespeare 3.0: Or Text versus Performance, the Remix.” Alternative Shakespeare 3. Ed. Diana E. Henderson. London and New York: Routledge, 2008. 54-77.

POTEM. Hamlet targany [Tugged Hamlet]. http://www.sikora.art.pl/bin/txt_story_potem.html (accessed 12 Aug. 2015).

POTEM. Hamlet targany [Tugged Hamlet]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjY_myPDCTM (accessed 12 Aug. 2015).

First Page


Last Page