Hamlet in Times of War: Two Appropriations of Shakespeare’s Tragedy in Former Yugoslavia in the 1990s

  • Alexandra Portmann
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare book series (RESH)


Portmann offers a critical investigation of political Shakespeare in Former Yugoslavia. Taking Jan Kott’s influential essay collection Shakespeare Our Contemporary (1961) as a starting point, she argues that a universal understanding of political Shakespeare in Eastern Europe risks reducing dramaturgical strategies in political theatre to Kott’s strategy of actualization and allusion. Drawing on Hans-Thies Lehmann’s and Jacques Rancière’s theories, Portmann analyses two Hamlet productions during the 1990s. She points out that there is a significant shift from performance’s content to its formal aspects, such as modes of representation, which are considered as political. By offering an alternative to such established strategies as Kott’s actualization, the chapter reveals a greater variety of approaches in political theatre.


  1. Brecht, Bertolt. 1967. Schriften zum Theater. In Gesammelte Werke. Bd, 1517. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.Google Scholar
  2. De Grazia, Margreta. 2007. Hamlet Without Hamlet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Didi-Huberman, Georges. 2010. Das Nachleben der Bilder. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.Google Scholar
  4. Elsom, John, ed. 1989. Is Shakespeare Still Our Contemporary? New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Filipović, Rudolf. 1948. Shakespeare i Hrvati u 19. Stoljeću. Zagreb: Ulomak iz dokt. disertacije, Filozofski fakultet.Google Scholar
  6. Kennedy, Dennis. 1993. Foreign Shakespeare. Contemporary Performances. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Klajn, Hugo. 1954. Shakespeare in Yugoslavia. Shakespeare Quarterly 5 (1): 41–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kott, Jan, 1970. Shakespeare Heute. München: R. Piper & Co. Verlag, January.Google Scholar
  9. Lehmann, Hans-Thies. 2006. Postdramatic Theatre. Trans. Karen Jürs-Munby. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 2011. Wie politisch ist Postdramatisches Theater? In Politisches Theater machen. Neue Artikulationsformen des Politischen in den darstellenden Künsten, ed. Jan Deck and Angelika Sieburg, 29–40. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.Google Scholar
  11. Lukić, Darko. 2011. Kazalište, Kultura, Tranzicija. Zagreb: Teatrologija Biblioteka Mansioni.Google Scholar
  12. Mihailović, Dušan. 1984. Šekspir i srpska Drama u XIX. veku. Beograd: Univerzitet Umetnosti u Beogradu.Google Scholar
  13. Portmann, Alexandra. 2016. The Time Is Out of Joint. Shakespeares Hamlet in den Ländern des ehemaligen Jugoslawien. Zürich: Chronos Verlag.Google Scholar
  14. Radosavljević, Duška. 2009. The Alchemy of Power and Freedom—A Contextualisation of Slobodan Šnajder’s Hrvatski Faust (the Croatian Faust). Contemporary Theatre Review 19 (4): 428–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rancière, Jacques. 2013. The Politics of Aesthetics. The Distribution of the Sensible. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  16. Rothberg, Michael. 2009. Multidirectional Memory. Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Senker, Boris. 2006. Bard u Iliriji. Shakespeare u hrvatskom kazalištu. Zagreb: Disput.Google Scholar
  18. Šorli, Maja. 2009. The Internationalization of Slovenian National Theatre Between 1989 and 1996. The Seven Years of Pandur Theatre. In Global Changes—Local Stages. How Theatre Functions in Smaller European Countries, ed. Hans Van Maaren et al. Amsterdam/New York: Editions Rodopi.Google Scholar
  19. Stříbrný, Zdenek. 2000. Shakespeare and Eastern Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Portmann
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Ludwig-Maximilans-Universität MünchenMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations