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Title: Fairy politics : productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Poland, 1946-1970
Author: Kardel, Maria M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 4612
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2012
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In this thesis, I analyse the interpretations and reception of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Polish theatre between 1946 and 1970. My main focus is to investigate the influence of political, historical and economic circumstances on the shape of five specific productions. Thus, A Midsummer Night's Dream emerges as a political play, which - to Polish audiences in the specified period - addressed the issues of subversion and challenge to the established authority, social distinctions and conflicts and the nature of performance under political oppression. I take Jan Kott's reinterpretation of the play in Shakespeare Our Contemporary as a vantage point for discussion about the factors that caused this shift from operatic/fairy-tale interpretations, to socio-political/anthropological readings. The first three chapters of this thesis offer insight into the cultural, historical and political background of understanding and performing Shakespeare in Poland. I demonstrate the significance of Polish Romantic and neo-Romantic drama in shaping attitudes towards Shakespeare's plays facilitating the cultural adoption of Shakespeare as a quasi-national poet. The historical chapter presents an overview of the political changes in post-war Poland, explaining how these impacted on the social and theatrical life, including the funding of the arts and the degree of state control over Polish theatre. In the critical chapter, I collate Polish scholarly approaches to A Midsummer Night's Dream, presenting socio-political, historicist and anthropological interpretations that anticipate certain trends in modem Western criticism. An overview of Slavic mythology presents ideas applicable to domesticating and visualising the supernatural elements of the play. The five post-war productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream I reconstruct in the subsequent chapters demonstrate gradual reinterpretation of the play from a feerie (B. Dabrowski, 1947), through monumental post-Romantic approach (W. Horzyca, 1946, 1948, 1953) and modernised commedia dell'arte (A. Bardini, 1959) to anthropological and socio-political readings (L. Zamkow, 1963; K. Swinarski, 1970).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available