MAGAZINE
Staging Shakespearean Dissent: spring magazine 2016
24 Mar 2016
BY VICKY BAKER

This year brings the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and Index on Censorship is marking it with a special issue of our award-winning magazine, looking at how his plays have been used around the world to sneak past censors or take on the authorities – often without them realising.

Our special report explores how different countries use different plays to tackle difficult themes. Hungarian author György Spiró writes about how Richard III was used to taunt eastern European dictators during the 1980s. Dame Janet Suzman remembers how staging Othello with a black lead during apartheid in South Africa caused people to walk out of the theatre.

Spring 2016 cover

Kaya Genç tells of a 1981 production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream in Turkey that landed most of the cast in jail. And Brazilian director Roberto Alvim recounts his recent staging of Julius Caesar, which was inspired by the country’s current political tumult. The issue also includes contributions from Simon Callow, Tom Holland, Preti Taneja and Kathleen E McLuskie. Plus we explore Shakespeare’s ability to provoke and protest in India, Zimbabwe and the USA. Currently Shakespeare is very much in favour in China and our contributing editor Jemimah Steinfeld explores why.

Shakespeare aside, we have Hollywood screenwriter John McNamara on why his film on blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo nearly didn’t make it to the big screen. There are interviews with US academic Steven Salaita and Syrian playwright  Liwaa Yazji. We look at how one man from New Zealand has been hacking North Korea for years. And we explore Index’s archives on Argentina’s dictatorship, 40 years after the coup, with interviews from former prisoners and descendants of the disappeared.

The issue also includes new fiction from Akram Aylisli, one of Azerbaijan’s leading, and persecuted, writers. Plus lyrics from Egyptian musician Ramy Essam, famed for his performances in the Tahrir Square revolution, and Basque protest singer Fermin Muguruza. And there are illustrations and cartoons by Martin RowsonBen Jennings, Eva Bee and Brian John Spencer.

Order your copy here, or take out a digital subscription via Exact Editions (just £18 for the year, with a free trial). Copies are also available in excellent bookshops including at the BFI and Serpentine Gallery (London), News from Nowhere (Liverpool), Home (Manchester) and on Amazon. Each magazine sale helps Index on Censorship fight for free expression worldwide.

SPECIAL REPORT: STAGING SHAKESPEREAN DISSENT

Plays that protest, provoke and slip by the censors

Editorial – Rachael Jolley on why governments fear theatre more than they realise

Rising star – Jemimah Steinfeld on how China has embraced Shakespeare, with performances spanning from brash pro-government productions to a Tibetan Hamlet

When the show doesn’t go on – Jan Fox reports on why school and community theatre productions in the US are under increasing pressure to curb “controversial” themes

The Bard meets Bollywood – Suhrith Pathasarathy looks at how India’s films use Shakespeare to tackle controversy

Lifting the curtain on Zimbabwe – While Shakespeare’s tales of power play and ageing rulers get the go-ahead, local playwrights struggle to be heard, says playwright Elizabeth Zaza Muchemwa

Lend me your ears – Claire Rigby interviews leading Brazilian director Roberto Alvim about tackling his country’s current political turmoil through Julius Caesar

Plays, protests and the censor’s pencilSimon Callow explores Shakespeare’s ability to rattle and toy with authorities over the centuries

The play’s the thing – Kathleen E McLuskie on how the Bard kept out of trouble with the censors of his day, despite some close calls

Morals made to measure  – Tom Holland suggests that Measure for Measure could be reworked for our times

Stripsearch – Martin Rowson’s cartoon on how the history plays would be staged in the Pious People’s Hereditary Democractic Republic of Kryxygistan

The writer of our discontent – György Spiró remembers when a Hungarian staging of Richard III became a way to take on eastern Europe’s dictators

Star-crossed actors – Preti Taneja visits a dual production of Romeo and Juliet staged by theatres in Kosovo and Serbia

When the Dream upset the regime – Kaya Genç on the enduring legacy of a subversive 1981 performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Turkey

Say no moor – Dame Janet Suzman tells Natasha Joseph why South Africa’s apartheid-era censors wouldn’t dare touch Othello

IN FOCUS

Theatre of war – Charlotte Bailey interviews Syrian playwright Liwaa Yazji

Beyond belief – Ryan McChrystal looks at whether Ireland’s new government will finally phase out the country’s blasphemy law

Exposing history’s faultlines – Vicky Baker explores the Index archives for stories of Argentina’s dictatorship 40 years on, and talks to those who were affected

Rainbow warriors – Duncan Tucker reports on the attacks and killings of LGBT activists in Honduras

Hack job – Sybil Jones interviews Frank Feinstein, who monitors the North Korean propaganda machine

“They worried I’m dangerous. I’m absolutely harmless” – Nan Levinson speaks to US academic Steven Salaita who lost his job after posting controversial tweets

Tools and tricks for truthseekers – Alastair Reid and Peter Sands on why people need to learn verification techniques to combat hoaxes and misinformation on social media

Your television is watching you – Jason DaPonte explains how information stored by internet-connected home devices could be used against us

Tackling Trumbo – Hollywood screenwriter John McNamara on how his story about blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo almost didn’t make it to screens

CULTURE

Know your enemy – John Angliss introduces his translation of a new short story by one of Azerbaijan’s leading, persecuted writers, Akram Aylisli

Borderless bard – Josie Timms interviews poet Edin Suljic who fled war in Yugoslavia and found inspiration in Shakespeare

Singing for Tahrir – Musician Ramy Essam who roused crowds during the Egyptian revolution shares his lyrics and future plans

Notes of discord – Rachael Jolley speaks to the Basque singer Fermin Muguruza about having his concerts banned in Madrid

COLUMNS

Global view – Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg debunks the argument that powerful voices should be silenced to promote the free speech of others

Index around the world – Josie Timms runs through the latest news on Index on Censorship’s global work, including a Magna Carta-inspired youth project

END NOTE

T-shirted turmoil – Vicky Baker looks at the power of the slogan T-shirt and how one can land you in trouble with the law

Web exclusives: Student reading list: theatre and censorship | Quiz: Are you a Shakespeare expert?

SUBSCRIBE

Index on Censorship magazine was started in 1972 and remains the only global magazine dedicated to free expression. Past contributors include Samuel Beckett, Gabriel García Marquéz, Nadine Gordimer, Arthur Miller, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and many more.

Writers picks

In print or online. Order a print edition here or take out a digital subscription via Exact Editions.

Copies are also available at the BFI, the Serpentine Gallery, MagCulture, (London), News from Nowhere (Liverpool), Home (Manchester), Calton Books (Glasgow) and on Amazon. Each magazine sale helps Index on Censorship continue its fight for free expression worldwide.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Vicky Baker

Vicky Baker is the former deputy editor of Index on Censorship magazine.

Latest posts by Vicky Baker (see all)

Comments are closed.