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date: 24 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The South Sudan Theatre Company (SSTC) brought its Juba Arabic translation of Cymbeline to the Globe to Globe Festival in London in 2012 amid expectations that the production would represent the country’s recent independence struggle. Associating the African country with violent conflict while representing Shakespeare as a force for peace, the advance publicity for the production repeated neocolonial tropes that stereotypically inform both entities. The production itself, however, presented a very different version of both ‘Shakespeare’ and ‘Africa’. Instead of depicting a bloody war that yields to reconciliation only after great suffering, the SSTC retold Cymbeline as a melodramatic, slapstick comedy. The production’s playfulness opened a space for the company to deflect, redirect, and expose to question the very process of constructing knowledge. The obligation to represent South Sudan therefore became an opportunity to challenge the structures of thought undergirding stereotypes about the country and the African continent.

Keywords: Key terms, South Sudan Theatre Company, Cymbeline, stereotypes about Africa, neocolonialism, South Sudan, Globe to Globe Festival, translation, slapstick comedy, constructing knowledge

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