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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers work created by the Synetic Theater Company in the Washington, DC, area. Since its inception in 2002, Synetic has produced an award-winning series of “physical theater.” Under the co-direction of Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili, both of whom were trained professionally in the Republic of Georgia, Synetic has created over a dozen “wordless” Shakespeare performances that have received numerous awards. They recently remounted their original production, Hamlet: The Rest Is Silence, although they have offered a wide range of successful, though surprisingly diverse, Shakespearean adaptations, including Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, King Lear, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, and Much Ado about Nothing. According to their website, “Synetic” reflects the company’s artistic goal of combining “synthesis,” or the “coming together of distinct elements to form a whole,” and “Kinetic: pertaining to or imparting motion, active, dynamic” to create Synetic: a dynamic synthesis of the arts.” They state their ambition to become “the premier American physical theater . . . fusing dynamic art forms—such as text, drama, movement, acrobatics, dance, and music.” Synetic labels itself as “physical theater,” not as dance, but dance theory provides a relevant framework through which to discuss their creations. This chapter discusses the theoretical and practical implications of presenting Shakespeare through movement and music rather than spoken language.

Keywords: William Shakespeare, Synetic Theater, physical theater, Shakespearean adaptation, Hamlet

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