Shakespeare and Digital Pathways. Shortening distances with ‘Romeo and Juliet’


Two recent productions of Romeo and Juliet have turned to video or Skype technology to fragment and infract the dramatic text as well as to create “virtual spaces”, which, I think, contribute to better understand Shakespeare’s ethical relevance as well as the two directors’ political agendas: Nawar Bulbul’s 2015 Romeo and Juliet in Amman, Jordan; and Giuseppe Scutellà’s 2018 Romeo Montecchi: innocente o colpevole? (Romeo Montecchi: innocent or guilty?) in Milan, Italy. In both cases the actors could not be onstage together because they were either entrapped in a bombed-out city in Syria or locked in a juvenile detention centre in Italy and were therefore replaced by their virtual avatars. I argue that while the diffuse connectivity of digital communication has been used as a tool to accomplish very practical purposes, it has also deeply conditioned the experience of the performances as well as of their reception in ways that this paper seeks to explore.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v45p169

Keywords: digital Shakespeare; Romeo and Juliet; contemporary theatre; remediation; intermediality; Prison Shakespeare; juvenile detention centre; Syrian refugees; Nawar Bulbul; Giuseppe Scutellà


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