Village theater, Hamlet and social change

The Guardian published a cute story (below is the link) about the staging of Hamlet in a Turkish village. The article’s argument of social change seems to be well-placed though I believe some caution is necessary when discussing the social transformative power of any media. I get uneasy whenever a reporter (or a scholar, including myself) makes a quick judgement of how media, whether it is cell phones or theater –Hamlet was CNN and West Wing combined plus better back in the day!–, are causing social change. The fact that theater is used as a vehicle to discuss larger social issues reminds me of Dwight Conquergood’s work. I wonder how much the villagers’ interpretation of Hamlet opens up a space for them to address those issues though or if this is merely a novel experience that they didn’t get to do when they were at school. I know a lot of westerners would like their classics to magically heal those of us who are in the east. This is certainly a feel-good story for a Brit and one that needs more answers for me!

The article suggests that there is also a documentary about this called Oyun by Pelin Esmer in 2005 that I just ordered and am very curious about watching it!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2009/aug/12/hamlet-in-turkey

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