In many ways, the work of ‘le Grand Will ‘ , as Shakespeare is frequently referred to in Quebec, is a perfect manner to turn to issues of Quebec patriotism, as his work frequently addresses inquiries of nationhood and who gets to portion in the spoils associated with national individuality. Merely nine old ages before Samuel de Champlain founded the colony of Quebec in 1608, audiences of Henry V in London, an ocean off, heard the Irish Captain Macmorris ask, “ What ish my state? Ish a scoundrel and a asshole and a rogue and a rascal? What ish my state? Who talks of my state? ” ( 3.3.61-63 ) .[ 1 ]Similarly, Canadians-both francophone and anglophone-have continually used literature, theater, and other signifiers of artistic output-not least of all the work of Shakespeare-as capital with which to negociate and renegociate their individualities as Canadians, speaking of their state and inquiring, like Macmorris, “ What is my state? ” As Larry Shouldice writes, “ the nationalist constituent has varied well both in sort and in strength, but it has about ever been an of import and distinguishable characteristic of the Quebec rational landscape ” ( qtd. in Corse 48 ) .
As both a literary figure and a accelerator for theatrical production, Shakespeare has ever maintained a strong presence in Quebec. Yet this presence has manifested itself in complex and frequently at odds ways. On one manus, Quebec has revered him as ‘le Grand Will, ‘ a singularly great creative person who, as Jean Gascon, manager of Montreal ‘s Theatre du Nouveau Monde said in 1962, was “ such a dramatic mastermind that his remarkable voice traverses the barrier of linguistic communication and reaches us with unbelievable force ” ( qtd. in Lieblein, “ Pourquoi ” ) . To rephrase Ben Jonson ‘s celebrated statement, in Quebec, Shakespeare is a poet non of an age or civilization, but for all times and venues. Gascon ‘s remark, nevertheless, seems to connote that Shakespeare ‘s plants are understood and produced in a more or less inactive manner. In world, the production of Shakespeare ‘s plants have continually been appropriated and adapted to reflect societal and political worlds throughout history and throughout the universe, and Quebec is no exclusion. He is therefore non a remarkable voice, but instead a blare of ever-multiplying, ever-conflicting voices.
The instability of the text is to the full understood and reflected in Quebecois productions of Shakespeare, since Quebec itself is an unstable entity. As the state with the largest concentration of francophones and the lone 1 with Gallic as its exclusive official linguistic communication, the Quebecois are double marked as foreigners, inside a state whose ain genealogical line of descent is comparatively ill-defined. This sense of Quebec as a separate, outside Other is retained by the Quebecois themselves, many of whom retain a strong sense of pride in their Gallic heritage and as a consequence have been forcing for sovereignty from Canada for over four decennaries.
Quebecois creative persons have therefore besides been extremely leery of Shakespeare due to his presence as a male parent of a dominant, established, and specifically English civilization, particularly since Shakespeare was frequently used in English settlements as a tool to maintain alive the thought of English high quality. As a consequence, they have frequently rewritten Shakespeare in ways which “ refut [ vitamin E ] the power of the English ” ( Lieblein, “ Francophone ” ) and, as Annie Brisset writes, “ rupture down the theoretical accounts and make a genuinely Quebecois theatre infinite ” ( 105 ) .
As we see, there has ever been slightly of a contradiction between Quebec ‘s interventions of all things English, including Shakspere: they have adopted a reverent attitude towards England ‘s most well-known dramatist while at the same clip handling England-or at least the “ thought ” of England-with intuition, if non straight-out ill will. I suggest that this multiplicity of significance has been manifested in one manner by the manner in which a Quebecois Shakespearean repertory has been created. In “ Nationalizing Shakespeare in Quebec, ” Jennifer Drouin provides a list of thirty-one texts which she has labeled as Quebecois versions of Shakespeare created since the Quiet Revolution of the sixtiess. A speedy glimpse at the list reveals that Quebecois Shakespeareans have adapted largely calamities: for illustration, there are three versions of Romeo and Juliet, uncovering a certain sum of anxiousness between two colliding “ houses ” in Canada ; every bit good as two versions of Macbeth, which raised inquiries of legitimate regulation, dirty power, and violent governmental alteration. Curiously, there are no comedies on the list: La tempete, a 1989 version of The Tempest by Michel Garneau, is the closest any outstanding Quebecois version has come to a comedic reworking of Shakespeare, at least harmonizing to Drouin.
Even more interestingly, the list seems to be unusually short of dramas that take topographic point in England. The lone exclusions to this regulation are one Quebecois King Lear-which I suggest is n’t genuinely an English drama because it takes topographic point in pre-England ancient Britain-and Richard III, which has had three separate Quebecois interventions since 1998. As Drouin suggests, a major ground that Quebecois adapters have focused on Richard III is extremely political and chauvinistic: there is “ a individual nationalist discourse centered around the state ‘s trespass by a tyrant [ read: England and Canada ] and its despairing demand for release ” ( “ Nationalizing ” ) . England, it seems, has small topographic point in Quebec, except to be set up as a deliberate antagonizer towards a colonised group of people.
Not merely has Quebec used Shakespeare to discourse its ain national individuality in relation to the remainder of Canada, but the remainder of Canada has used Shakespeare to discourse Quebec in relation to them. This has been brooding of the national argument of Quebec ‘s place which has taken topographic point over the past 40 old ages. To exemplify these two often-overlapping conversations, I will utilize this essay to discourse four productions of Shakespearean dramas which address issues of the Quebecois states from both inside and outside Gallic Canada: Robert Gurik ‘s 1968 Hamlet, Prince du Quebec, which, as Lieblein notes, “ was a prophetic response to the events environing the 1967 centenary of Canadian alliance ” ( “ Francophone ” ) ; Michel Garneau ‘s 1978 ‘tradaptation ‘ of Macbeth, which I suggest functioned as an anti-FLQ fable ; the 1989 bilingual Romeo and Juliette, produced by the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival ; and a 1991 Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of Twelfth Night, having a Gallic Canadian Malvolio portrayed as the Other. Although there have been a figure of other Quebecois interlingual renditions and versions of Shakespeare in the past 40 old ages, I consider these four productions to be representative of the politically variable ways in which they articulate visions and thoughts of what Quebec is and how it should be approached.
Hamlet, Prince du Quebec ( 1968 )
In July 1967, Gallic President Charles de Gaulle, on an official visit to Montreal, gave an ad-lib address from the balcony of his hotel room, shouting to a multitude of adoring Quebecois, “ Vive Montreal! Vive lupus erythematosus Quebec! Vive lupus erythematosus Quebec libre! ” ( Morton 510 ) . This earned him a strong reproof from then-Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, who famously shot back, “ Canadians do non necessitate to be liberated. ” The thrust to divide Quebec from the remainder of Canada, one that had been publicized for old ages antecedently, now had international legitimacy. In 1968, the twelvemonth after de Gaulle ‘s nation-shaking dictum, Quebecois playwright Robert Gurik published and produced his new drama, Hamlet, Prince du Quebec.[ 2 ]Born in 1932, Gurik immigrated to Canada from France at age 18 ( Doucette ) ; he therefore brings to his work both the position of an “ foreigner ” every bit good as that of one closely connected to his adopted fatherland. Gurik is known as “ a cardinal portion of the Quebec Nationalist motion, ” but his work has widely varied, bring forthing everything from the surreal to satire to science fiction to political fabrication ( “ Gurik, Robert ” ) . The drama, as the rubric implies, was an version of Shakespeare ‘s Hamlet which addressed the issue of Quebec ‘s individuality and sovereignty in Canada. The drama, as Leanore Lieblein argues, “ is marked by its irreverence towards Shakespeare and Shakespearian public presentation ” ( “ Francophone ” ) .
There is a reversal of thematic outlooks at work here. Shakespeare ‘s text, by about all histories, is an intimately personal and psychological journey in which the chief character ‘s dreams and anguish are laid bare for the audience to witness. This is a drama in which one adult male asks himself the inquiry of who he is. The focal point on the find and mediation of personal individuality is supplemented by a subplot focused on Danish national self-government and by proxy, Danish national individuality, one which is basically changed when Fortinbras comes crashing through the castle door at the terminal of the drama. In contrast, Prince du Quebec is basically about national individuality ; so much so, in fact, that the characters ‘ emotions towards one another in any personal sense are cast aside unless they further serve Gurik ‘s political intent.
As I have suggested, the text at one time is and is non Shakespeare ‘s Hamlet. In John Dryden ‘s words, Gurik ‘s text could be defined as “ a interlingual rendition with latitude, where the writer is kept in position. . .but his words are non so purely followed as his sense ” ( qtd. in Hutcheon 17 ) . The basic points of the narrative are the same: a prince comes place to happen that his male parent ‘s throne has been usurped, and the remainder of the drama is centered on the intrigues of the prince ‘s effort to repossess that which he believes to be justly his. The major outstanding difference is that the characters are explicitly linked to modern-day Canadian and Quebecois politicians by the usage of masks. Lieblein provides a description of the characters in Prince du Quebec and the politicians whom they are meant to portray:
All of the characters, with the exclusion of Hamlet, wore masks that were imitations of the political figures they represented. As glossed by Gurik, “ Hamlet is Quebec with all of its vacillations, with its thirst for action and for autonomy, constricted by one hundred old ages of inactivity. ” King Claudius represented l’Anglophonie, “ which holds the reins of economic and political power ” and Queen Gertrude the Church, “ everlastingly willing to compromise. ” Other equalities were evilly precise: Polonius was Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson ; his boy Laertes was prime-minister-in-waiting ( as it turned out ) Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and Ophelia was then-Quebec prime Jean Lesage. Horatio was Rene Levesque, leader of the soon-to-be-born separationist Parti Quebecois and future Prime Minister of Quebec, and the shade of Hamlet ‘s male parent was Charles de Gaulle, whose ( in ) celebrated dictum of “ Vive lupus erythematosus Quebec libre ” [ “ Long live a free Quebec ” ] from the balcony of Montreal ‘s metropolis hall a few months before had electrified Federalists and separationists likewise. ( “ Francophone ” )
Gurik ‘s usage of masks, slightly ironically, immediately reveals much about the characters ( both those of Shakespeare and their Canadian opposite numbers ) and their intended relationship to the audience. Hamlet/Quebec, as noted is the lone maskless character, or the lone 1 who is shown as he is. In this manner, the theatrical production of Gurik ‘s drama reveals a profound misgiving in the masked, ambidextrous, Janus-like political system and the politicians who inhabit it, be they anglophone or Quebecois. There is a Brechtian distancing at work here: the masks are so evidently non-realistic-and are non meant to be-that they expose at the same clip they conceal that which is behind them. This is genuinely a people ‘s drama, and Gurik systematically argues that these Quebecois people must stand up and take control of their ain fate, instead than waiting for the political system to give them the state they desire and deserve.
By duplicating the characters of Hamlet with figures of Canadian and Quebecois political relations, Gurik ‘s drama therefore becomes an fable in the same expressed nature as the medieval morality plays which preceded it centuries earlier: audiences are directly-almost didactically-informed of the dramatist ‘s purposes in the messages he wishes to convey. The text is edited to help this message: Shakespeare ‘s text-or at least the most well-known parts of it-remain more or less integral, yet interwoven with some of the most celebrated lines in the English linguistic communication are treatments of and mention to the most urgent issues of 1960s Quebec. In this manner, the audience is taken in by a narrative with which most of them have at least a passing acquaintance, yet they are likewise distanced and caught off guard by the obvious slippages between Shakespeare ‘s text and Gurik ‘s. In some manner, the importance of Shakespeare ‘s drama as a beginning text becomes secondary: as Lieblein writes, “ Gurik did non utilize Quebec to light Shakespeare, but Shakespeare to supply a searching anatomy of his Quebec ” ( “ Francophone ” ) .
Prince du Quebec begins non with the visual aspect of Old Hamlet ‘s shade outside of a palace at midnight, but with two gravediggers playing cards in the cemetery. Gurik draws attending to the presence of Maurice Duplessis ‘ memorial: the former Premier of Quebec had died nine old ages before, in 1959, after taking the function of “ the keeper of the traditional values and of the civilization of the people of Quebec ” ( Belanger ) and rejecting calls for Quebec to absorb into Canadian society. It is ill-defined at this point whether Duplessis ‘ memory is to be venerated or spat upon, yet what is clear is that his shadow will loom over the proceedings for the balance of the drama. In this manner, Duplessis-who does non look in the drama except in monument form-is closely connected to the Ghost/de Gaulle, as both represent in some signifier the deceasing dreams of a free Quebec.
The terminal of Hamlet/Quebec ‘s first monologue ends with, “ But however I remember… ” ( 4 ) . This statement echoes the official slogan of Quebec, “ Je me souviens, ” which, as Gaston Deschenes notes, was adopted “ without public argument as if it went without stating, but several Quebecers asked themselves what they should really retrieve. ” Indeed, there has been a reasonably lively argument over precisely what is to be remembered in the official slogan, yet Gurik makes it clear with this expressed mention to Quebec ‘s official position that they are to retrieve de Gaulle ‘s exhortation, “ Vive lupus erythematosus Quebec libre, ” inquiring, “ Why had he to decease? Why has he abandoned us? ” ( 4 )[ 3 ]In this manner Hamlet/Quebec recalls the despondence of Shakespeare ‘s Hamlet in his gap monologue, yet his “ however I remember ” reveals a proactive stance which his predecessor does non yet possess at this point in the drama. This is brooding of the general stance of Quebec in the late sixtiess and early 1970s, in which, as Jennifer Drouin writes, “ patriotism was expressed mostly in footings of taking action, passer a l’action, and throwing off the defeatism of a ne-pour-un-petit-pain attitude of self deprecation. . .this patriotism came to be articulated in footings of Quebec ‘s sociopolitical, lingual, and economic inequality within the model of Canadian federalism. ”[ 4 ]As I mentioned before, this Prince is at one time Hamlet and non Hamlet, and it is this slippage between the expected and the present which causes audiences to sit up and take notice of Gurik ‘s message: as Susan Bennett notes, such a differentiation “ seeks to bring forth an internal skyline of outlooks which will pull audiences through disputing their ain already-formed expectations/assumptions about a peculiar drama or theatrical manner ” ( 121 ) .
The most startling case of the rupture between Shakespeare and Gurik takes topographic point in Gurik ‘s version of the most celebrated monologue in all of Shakespeare. In act two, scene two, Ophelia/Lesage enters reading a book called One Country, One State. My hunts for the book has turned up nil ; I therefore assume at the minute that this is a fabricated book which Gurik has created in order to impeach Lesage of basically disregarding the nationalist/separatist motion in Quebec. Hamlet/Quebec enters-he does non look to notice Ophelia/Lesage ‘s presence-and says, “ To be or non to be, free, that is the inquiry ; whether ‘t is nobler in the head to endure the slings and pointers of hideous luck, or to take weaponries against a sea of problems, and by opposing stop them? ” ( 27 ) . The remainder of the monologue mirrors Shakespeare ‘s text ( although Gurik cuts everything after “ Therefore scruples does do cowards of us all ” ) , yet Gurik ‘s point has been made. Hamlet/Quebec says, “ To be or non to be, ” as Shakespeare ‘s Danish prince has said for four hundred old ages, and ( apparently ) intermissions and adds, “ Free. ” The comma between “ be ” and “ free ” inextricably ties sovereignty to existence. In this manner Hamlet/Quebec transforms the overpoweringly personal into the explicitly chauvinistic.
I hesitate to impute a specific intentionality to Gurik ‘s words here, as there is evidently a danger in reading this as a call to build up conflict-or worse yet, as a condoning of the Front de liberation du Quebec, a leftist revolutionist group which was responsible for over two 100 bombardments in the sixtiess. But what is clear is Gurik ‘s repeated statement that Quebec must either be free and self-sustaining-and that freedom must be a merchandise of the Quebecois ‘ ain passer a l’action-or it will die.
Relative to Shakespeare ‘s text, the construct of retaliation is one which Gurik tiptoes about. Shakespeare ‘s text, of class, is explicitly a retaliation calamity, yet Gurik ‘s drama seems to concentrate more on the thought of freedom and self-government, as I ‘ve outlined above. However, two important scenes explicitly mention retaliation: foremost, when the Ghost/de Gaulle foremost appears to Hamlet/Quebec ; and 2nd, at the terminal of the drama, when Hamlet/Quebec pang Claudius/England. How is an audience member to read the concluding scene, if non as an explicit call for Quebec to take retaliation against England and anglophone Canada? In response to this job, I suggest that about the full drama is an fable, and it would be slightly unlogical to take Hamlet ‘s concluding action literally while his actions up until this point have been about entirely metaphorical. Death is approached throughout the drama as a metaphor: the Ghost represents de Gaulle, who in 1968 was still really much alive, and Hamlet/Quebec ‘s decease is, when placed in context, surely non meant to denote the actual decease of the state. “ Revenge ” could therefore merely be a call for the Quebecois to take back their province, by metaphorically “ killing ” the English, instead than any specific direction by Gurik to perpetrate actual force.
Interestingly plenty, Prince du Quebec does non stop, as its male parent calamity does, with a alien processing in to take control of a destroyed monarchy. While Hamlet ‘s stoping is a decease knell for Danish individuality, holding been possessed-albeit peacefully-by the Norse Prince Fortinbras, Gurik refrains from denoting the decease of both Quebec as a state and as an individuality. Hamlet/Quebec ‘s concluding lines are clear:
I am dead, Horatio. Who will come and take us to the visible radiation? One can kill the serpent but its nest must besides be put afire for this Earth to turn freely what should blossom o n’t. Will thou be strong and brave plenty to will this? It is so much easier to decompose in the repetitive wonts of these glooming yearss. To eat… slumber… dice… and ne’er a twenty-four hours to woolgather… and ne’er one to laugh. Who… who… will tweak us from this boggy soil of via medias, who will interrupt these ironss which we ourselves hypocritically have forged. My decease must function those who follow on. For it must… must populate… ” Vive the Quebec Libre. ” ( 53 )
Macbeth ( 1978 )
If Gurik ‘s version of Hamlet was an explicitly political call for the Quebecois to stand up and take control of their ain sovereignty against the English, so Michel Garneau ‘s ‘tradaptation ‘ ( as he calls it ) of Macbeth about a decennary subsequently was a more elusive, although no less political, attack to the construct of Quebecois self-government. Created in 1978, Garneau ‘s Macbeth follows the translative expression of his other tradaptations, which “ are neither actual interlingual renditions of Shakespeare nor versions that mostly modify the content of the beginning text ” ( Drouin, “ Macbeth ” ) . Annie Brisset has spent a important sum of clip deconstructing Garneau ‘s usage of the joual ( Quebec working-class slang ) , proposing that Garneau uses interlingual rendition as a “ re-territorializing operation ” which creates a nationalist discourse via linguistic communication, because the usage of the Quebecois as opposed to English or Gallic shows Quebec ‘s demand for decolonisation from both France and England/Canada ( “ Search ” 346 ) . Surely, the ability to command and talk in one ‘s ain linguistic communication is a critical facet to making and keeping one ‘s national self-identity. I will farther propose that Garneau used linguistic communication as a specifically political tool in order to name attending to the force environing the Quebecois at the clip of the drama ‘s first production.
Born in 1939, Michel Garneau has been a dramatist, poet and transcriber, although the last of these chases have garnered the most success. His most successful interlingual renditions have been those of Shakespeare ; along with Macbeth, he has translated The Tempest ( as mentioned in this survey ‘s debut ) and Coriolanus, every bit good as Lorca ‘s The House of Bernarda Alba and Joe Orton ‘s travesty What the Butler Saw ( “ Garneau, Michel ” ) . Macbeth was foremost produced at the Cinema Parallele in Montreal by Theatre de la Manufacture, which “ promotes the find and development of a theater which inquiries our current society and issues, personal or corporate ” ( Theatre La Licorne, interlingual rendition mine ) . Surely there was a cardinal political statement being made in Garneau ‘s wresting off an English text from its conceivers and doing it talk for his ain people in their linguistic communication, but how did Macbeth “ inquiry current society and issues ” in 1978?
Shakespeare ‘s Macbeth, of class, trades chiefly with the violent trespass of a throne from within. I suggest, hence, that Garneau chose Macbeth as a manner to react to FLQ force which had rocked Quebec in the sixtiess and 1970s, impeaching them of destabilising a more or less peaceable society. Garneau added onto Gurik ‘s statement, saying that while Quebec needed to stand up and take control of their ain political fate, they foremost needed to acquire their ain house in order before it crumbled under its ain helter-skelter weight.
In this manner, Garneau ‘s Macbeth functioned as a political fable associating to modern-day times, although surely one far less direct than Gurik ‘s Hamlet. Throughout the sixtiess and 1970s, the Front de liberation du Quebec claimed duty for a figure of violent political Acts of the Apostless, including the bombardment of the Montreal Stock Exchange in 1969 and the 1970 snatchs of British Trade Commissioner James Cross and Quebec Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte. The group ‘s apparent purpose was to emancipate Quebec from Canada and to set up a leftist socialist society in a newly-formed state of Quebec. As could be expected, the group drew extended unfavorable judgment, labeled as a terrorist group by many, for the agencies by which it attempted to free Quebec. Garneau ‘s drama, although eight old ages after the “ October Crisis ” ( the name used to depict the snatchs and the radioactive dust which followed ) , took topographic point at the intersection of the treatment of whether democratic agencies ( as seen in the attempts of the freshly formed political party Bloc Quebecois ) or force should govern Quebec ‘s release attempt. The inquiry therefore became, “ How do we as a society define ourselves, and how does that definition inform our quest for self-government? ”
Garneau foremost accomplished this by altering the word “ Scotland ” in assorted topographic points in the text to the Quebecois “ chez-nous ” ( place ) or “ wages ” ( state ) , as Brisset notes ( qtd. in Drouin, “ Macbeth ” ) . Garneau therefore removed portion of the fable of puting piece, as Drouin provinces, still reminding the audience that Quebec was still on the borders of the British Empire, as was Scotland ( “ Macbeth ” ) . This map of designation was further enhanced by the specific dialect-the joual-which Elaine Nardocchio describes as a “ typical popular parlance. . .a mixture of Anglicisms, Old French, neologisms, and standard Gallic ” ( 50 ) . In this manner, Garneau used linguistic communication to make an parallel between Macbeth and the FLQ, every bit good as to talk straight to the lower categories, who were more likely to place with the FLQ than the upper-class Quebecois. That is, by talking their linguistic communication, Garneau both identified himself as a “ freedom combatant ” ( although a non-violent 1 ) and showed them the pandemonium which would necessarily follow from an effort to catch power.
This is likely best illustrated in act four, scene three ( in both Shakespeare ‘s text and Garneau ‘s tradaptation ) , in which Malcolm tests Macduff ‘s trueness to his fatherland. After hearing Malcolm say ( falsely ) that he has none of “ the king-becoming graces, ” Garneau ‘s Macduff responds, “ Pauv’pays, pauv’Ecosse… ” or “ Poor state, hapless Scotland… ” ( interlingual rendition mine, 119 ) . This is in contrast to Shakespeare ‘s Macduff, who merely says, “ O Scotland, Scotland! ” ( 4.3.102 ) . The add-on of “ wages, ” or “ state, ” reinforces the pseudo-allegory of this critical scene in Garneau ‘s drama: the scene therefore retains Shakespeare ‘s scene in name while thematically vibrating around the boundary lines of Quebec.
As is demonstrated by Gurik ‘s and Garneau ‘s versions within Quebec, the Quebecois have frequently used Shakespeare as a manner towards national self-government and to specify themselves as non English. However, another narrative emerges when Shakespeare is used to discourse Quebec outside of its provincial boundaries. In the two cases which follow, it becomes clear that Shakespeare has continued to be used in English Canada as a elusive tool with which to either suppress or sponsor the Quebecois.
Romeo and Juliette ( 1989 )
In 1989, the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival presented the first Canadian bilingual version of Shakespeare ‘s most celebrated love calamity, Romeo and Juliette. As the rubric implies, the warring kins were the anglophone Montagues and the francophone Capulets ; this division was highlighted by the usage of a different manager for each group: Gordon McCall of Saskatchewan directed the Montagues and Robert Lepage of Quebec directed the Capulets. The first joint production of an English-speaking and a French-speaking theater company in Canada ( Yungblut ) , critics hailed Romeo and Juliette as a concerted attempt, one which momently superseded the political and staged an ideologically unified Canada which was to mirror Verona at the terminal of Shakespeare ‘s original, where the Capulets and the Montagues agreed to stop their “ ancient score. ” The message, it seemed, was that Canadians were tired of the bloodshed created by the conflict-the FLQ ‘s terrorist acts throughout the sixtiess still resonated aloud in the eastern Canadian mind-and were ready to populate in peace. In one manner, this meant that the production focused more to a great extent on the struggle instead than the narrative of the “ star-cross ‘d lovers ” which grew in malice of it.
Adapting Romeo and Juliet as a manner of supplying penetration into another societal or cultural struggle is surely nil new. Stephen Sondheim ‘s West Side Story, of class, is the most celebrated illustration, and James N. Loehlin describes a figure of other productions in the last two decennaries which have focused on modern-day societal or cultural struggles ( 79-82 ) : for illustration, a 1994 production in Jerusalem featured Arab Montagues and Jewish Capulets ; Joe Calarco ‘s Shakespeare ‘s R & A ; J addressed inquiries of gender and homoerotic desire ; eventually, infinite American productions have discussed tensenesss between Whites and inkinesss from the bondage epoch to the modern twenty-four hours. Each of these versions seems to propose in its ain manner that apparently incalculable difference between people are simply surface-Juliet famously asks, “ What ‘s Montague? It is nor manus, nor pes, / Nor arm, nor face, nor any other portion / Belonging to a adult male ” ( 2.1.82-84 ) -and envisions a hereafter in which these differences no longer affair, even if a brace of guiltless lovers need to decease in order to ordain that hereafter. Surely in the instance of Romeo and Juliet, as Jonathan Bate has noted, “ the history of appropriation may propose that ‘Shakespeare ‘ is non a adult male who lived from 1564 to 1616 but a organic structure of work that is refashioned by each subsequent age in the image of itself ” ( qtd. in Cartelli 2 ) .
Yet although the apparent end was to convey together English Canadian and Quebecois creative persons on an equal degree by presenting, as Barbara Crook writes, “ a clang between two civilizations who have ne’er understood each other ” ( qtd. in Maguire 62 ) , I suggest that this production functioned in such a manner that reasserted English laterality while shriving them of the majority of the incrimination for the tensenesss between anglophone and francophone. That is, the colonialist voice still dominated the conversation and was able to border that conversation on its ain footings. This is best viewed in footings of its public presentation scene: Saskatchewan sits three-thousand-plus kilometres from Quebec and the Canadian capital of Ottawa. Yet Saskatchewan is an highly anglophone-heavy state, as less than two per centum of its population speaks French. Any treatment of a colonial state which takes topographic point outside of that state is besides to some extent a reassertion of the hegemonic construction, as the dominant party is therefore able to command the argument and to talk for the colonized. Lepage and his company were therefore forced to go to Saskatoon to more or less defend themselves as the foreigners portraying foreigners among a linguistically and culturally homogeneous public. This relationship is farther complicated by Saskatchewan ‘s ideological place as a nominally “ Western ” state, along with Alberta and British Columbia ; the Western provincial mentality by and large separates itself from the East and looks upon the eastern states, particularly Quebec, with a certain sum of bitterness. Saskatchewan, although far removed from the centre of the struggle, still resonates with tensenesss between E and West, and non in a manner which favors the Quebecois voice. The subaltern is able to talk for itself, but it does so within a model that is conditioned to devaluate that address.
The drama ‘s celebrated prologue, when delivered within the anglophone/francophone model, notes a figure of ruptures between Shakespeare ‘s original and its new scene:
Two families, both likewise in self-respect,
In just Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient score interruption to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil custodies dirty.
( Prologue 1-4 )
Most notably, although the English Canadians and the Quebecois are in fact two separate families trying to portion one “ Verona, ” they are non, nor have they of all time been, likewise in self-respect. Gallic talkers make up merely 21 per centum of Canada ‘s population, and Quebec, where these francophones have been largely ghettoized, holds 23.4 per centum of Canada ‘s population. Furthermore, “ likewise in self-respect ” implies that the two sides hold equal power and that the struggle is hence a contrast of two every bit obstinate volitions. The English voice has in fact held the upper manus since 1763, when the British established official regulation over the formerly Gallic settlement of Quebec. This laterality has continued to attest itself in Canadian political relations to the current twenty-four hours ; in the latest parliamentary election in 2008, the Bloc Quebecois merely holds 16 per centum of the seats in the House of Commons.
Further tearing the thought of “ two families, both likewise in self-respect ” is the fact that Shakespeare ‘s book draws far more attending to the Capulets ( read: Gallic ) as the provokers of the struggle. In the first scene, Benvolio, a Montague, attempts to maintain the peace while Tybalt, a Capulet, spurs him on to contend:
BEN. Part, fools!
Put up your blades, you know non what you do.
TYB. What, art 1000s drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy decease.
( 1.1.57-60 )
If there is a scoundrel in this drama, it is most surely Tybalt, the Prince of Cats, who hates the word peace, “ as [ he ] hate [ s ] snake pit, all Montagues, and thee [ Benvolio ] . ” It is he who draws Benvolio into a battle ; he who attempts to get down a battle with Romeo at the “ ancient banquet. ” It is besides he who fights with Romeo despite Romeo ‘s protestations of love:
TYB. Romeo, the hatred I bear thee can afford
No better term than this, — thou art a scoundrel.
( . . . )
ROM. I do protest, I ne’er injured thee,
But love thee better than 1000 canst devise…
( 3.1.55-64 )
The allegorical map of the struggle between Tybalt and Romeo is clear. Romeo and Juliette therefore paints the francophones as the provokers of the struggle, and the anglophones as the peaceable victims of a group of goldbricks who are purpose on destructing them. Once once more, this tactic really clearly takes down the true colonizer/colonized matrix by seting the English Canadians and the Quebecois on equal terms. In this manner, the ruling power clearly speaks for the junior-grade and inscribes it in such a manner to guarantee that the subaltern will non be able to clearly talk for itself outside of its ain boundaries. This inquiry will be farther explored in my following survey: the visual aspect of a Quebecois Malvolio in an Ontario production of Twelfth Night.
Twelfth Night ( 1991 )
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival ‘s 1991 production of Twelfth Night, which featured Quebecois histrion Albert Millaire as the much-maligned retainer, Malvolio, received largely negative reappraisals. Interestingly plenty, most referees agreed on the possibilities available in Millaire ‘s stressing his Quebecois heritage in the function ; nevertheless, they disagreed on how good he really took advantage of these possibilities. Brady, for illustration, called Millaire ‘s Malvolio “ a preening Puritanical foreigner. Millaire ‘s Gallic Canadian speech pattern and gravelly voice set up him instantly as person out of melody with Illyria ‘s pleasance ” ( 239 ) and Garebian agreed, composing that Millaire ‘s portraiture was “ really Gallic. . .totally at odds with the remainder of the dramatis personae in manner and phrasing. ” Watermeier, on the other manus, wrote that Millaire “ might hold capitalized, for illustration, on his marked Gallic Canadian speech pattern to stress Malvolio ‘s ‘otherness, ‘ his disaffection from the other ‘Anglophone ‘ characters. Such a pick could hold had political every bit good as psychological deductions. ”
These changing statements on the “ Quebec-ness ” of Millaire ‘s public presentation seems to cast some visible radiation on the differing ways that Quebecois individuality is defined outside of Quebec. Although these three critics differed in their ratings and readings of Millaire ‘s public presentation, it ‘s interesting to observe that all three were mensurating Millaire ‘s public presentation against a rubric of what they thought a Quebecois actor-or character-should be. The colonised organic structure is therefore flattened and essentialized by these referees, viewed merely in footings of how good it reflects their outlooks of him.
However, because these comparatively short reappraisals do non specifically discuss Millaire ‘s “ Quebec-ness ” and how that figured into specific on-stage minutes, I ‘d wish to wrap up this essay by embarking into the country of public presentation possibilities with such an reading. I realize that such an analysis can be debatable, since I may wrongly presume that Millaire performed certain minutes in ways that suit my analysis. However, I hope that I will be forgiven for temporarily straddling the fencing between the historical and the theoretical, in hopes that I can cast some visible radiation on the ways in which Shakespeare ‘s Malvolio could hold been played as a Quebecois in an Ontario production, irrespective of the dissension between these three critics over how good it was enacted by Millaire in pattern.
A expression at the text of Twelfth Night in concurrence with the ( comparatively small ) information given about Millaire ‘s portraiture of Malvolio in this production reveals a polyphonic attack to the production ‘s intervention of the Quebecois. As I have said, the state of Quebec is an unstable entity in respects to how other Canadians perceive it and its people: they are treated on one manus with understanding due to their comparatively ineffective efforts at self-government, and on the other with scorn from those who see them as secessionists and even treasonists. Similarly, Malvolio ‘s entreaty to audiences relies on his unstable place as both a misanthropist and a victim of the society around him, one which has endeavored to project him out as a sap, or worse. Two general readings are possible here: foremost, that the Stratford Festival was taking an chance to satirise Quebec by Othering it via its portraiture of Malvolio. However, given that Millaire himself is Quebecois and owes most of his calling and celebrity to the Quebec and francophone humanistic disciplines scene, it did non look excessively likely that he would volitionally and one-dimensionally mock his ain people in such a manner. I suspect, alternatively, that Millaire was offering what Homi K. Bhabha refers to as a “ reappraisal of the premise of colonial individuality through the public presentation of prejudiced individuality effects, ” a insurgent scheme by which Millaire turned “ the regard of the discriminated dorsum on the oculus of power ” ( 173 ) . However, as I suggested in respects to Romeo and Juliette, any political statement enacted by Millaire fell abruptly due to his inability to finally command and border the argument.
We can get down by doing clear two geographical connexions between the colonisers and the colonized, between Twelfth Night ‘s original scene and that which was implied by the production at the Stratford Festival. The majority of Shakespeare ‘s drama is set in Illyria: in Shakespeare ‘s clip, as Bruce R. Smith notes, “ the part stood merely at the contested boundary line between Christendom and Islam, between Austria and the Ottoman Empire. As is such it occupied liminal infinite between ‘us ‘ and ‘them ‘ ” ( 126 ) . Malvolio, as it has frequently been theorized, could really good hold been viewed by Elizabethan audiences as acclaiming from the Ottoman side of this contested infinite: in act three, Maria says, “ Yon chump Malvolio is turned heathen, a really renegado, for this is no Christian that means to be saved by believing justly can of all time believe such impossible transitions of coarseness ” ( 3.2.59-62 ) . As a “ renegado ” was defined by the Elizabethans as a Christian converted to Islam, Malvolio was immediately cast ( if he had n’t been already ) as the Other in both race and faith.
Similarly, the Stratford Festival is in Ontario, a state which portions a drawn-out boundary line with Quebec and is home to a big figure of francophones, even if it does non admit Quebecois as an official provincial linguistic communication ( although Canada as a whole is officially bilingual ) . Stratford is therefore positioned within “ the liminal infinite between ‘us ‘ [ anglophone Ontarians ] and ‘them ‘ [ francophone Quebecois ] , ” to analogise Smith ‘s remark. There is besides a spiritual analogue, as Maria alludes to: historically, Quebec was mostly Roman Catholic and the remainder of Canada was Protestant, and the differentiation remains so today.
If this geographic analogue has been made between Shakespeare ‘s text and the production in inquiry, the audience ( or at least the Canadian audience-Stratford has a healthy relationship with tourers from the United States and elsewhere around the universe ) has therefore to some extent been primed to have a treatment on Quebec ‘s place and individuality in Canadian society. I suggest that the inquiry of how Malvolio-as-Quebecois should be interpreted by the audience depends on how his concluding visual aspect in the drama is read. At the drama ‘s shutting, Malvolio finds that he has been fooled into believing that Olivia is in love with him, which would hold earned him a ticket to high category society. As Lyn Gardner notes of Shakespeare ‘s Malvolio, he is “ a adult male socially stranded by his retainer position and desperate to accomplish the regard that he believes his standing deserves. There is calamity in this hapless adult male ‘s dreams. ” The modern-day connexion would be instantly clear to an audience member looking out for a political fable: Quebec had been led to believe that Canada would accept it as one of its ain after the alliance of 1867, but it had been humiliated and left to its ain devices.
Before go outing, Malvolio says to his tormentors, “ I ‘ll be revenged on the whole battalion of you ” ( 5.1.365 ) . The construct of retaliation upon the colonisers one time once more rears its ugly caput ; nevertheless, it must be read somewhat otherwise than that of Gurik ‘s Hamlet, Prince du Quebec. I suggest that the context of Malvolio ‘s concluding line-in footings of genre every bit good as the site of its production-effectively neutralizes any fright of Malvolio ‘s vow for retaliation. If the nature of comedy dictates that malcontents such as Malvolio are taught some kind of lesson and so are welcomed back into the crease, so Quebec ‘s ailments are neutralized and it is re-integrated as portion of the dominant anglophone Canada-after a thorough humiliation, of class. In add-on, as was the instance with Romeo and Juliette, the fact that the production took topographic point in Ontario-rather than Montreal, for example-meant that Malvolio was forced to talk within the dominant anglophone model. His power is even further minimalized than that of the Capulets, since he is besides forced to talk the linguistic communication of the coloniser, whereas the Capulets spoke freely in French. These two facets of the production meant that although Malvolio was free to kick every bit much as he liked, his vows of retaliation were neutralized and hence lost any intended political clout.
As Lindsey Posner says, “ All of Shakespeare is so rich with ambiguity that you can truly turn any of his dramas in your ain civilization ‘s image. That ‘s why he has lasted so long. There ‘s ever something in them with resonance that can be interpreted and re-interpreted as history alterations ” ( qtd. in Summerskill ) . In Canada, Shakespeare has been interpreted and re-interpreted as a manner to talk to and of Quebec, and as we have seen, these voices have changed depending on the topographic point and manner in which they are heard. Shakespearian versions such as the four I ‘ve studied will probably prevail, so long as Quebec and Canada continue to inquire, “ What is my state? ”