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date: 06 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Abstract In successive single-set productions of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra, Ivo van Hove’s Roman Tragedies transforms the stage into a high-tech version of Shakespeare’s Globe, mimicking how global media stage political debates and generate the simulacrum of war and social conflict. Mixing live actors with video projections displayed on monitors spaced on and above the stage, van Hove encourages spectators to move from one viewing space to another, to order drinks, check email, or tweet on desktop computers. Extending Shakespeare’s ‘all the world’s a stage’ conceit to a world connected by ‘clouds’ of information transported on viewless wings and deposited in airy drop boxes, van Hove’s stage is everywhere and nowhere at once. But in replicating the aesthetic design of global media, while suppressing the populist components of Coriolanus and Julius Caesar, van Hove arguably extends only the illusion of emancipation to spectators ‘immersed’ in competing demands on their attention.

Keywords: Key terms, Ivo van Hove, Roman Tragedies, ‘immersed’ spectators, audience emancipation, live actors, video projections, global media, populism

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