ARIANE MNOUCHKINE: THE ORIENTAL STAGE FOR SHAKESPEARE
Ariane Mnouchkine, in preparing a series of Shakespearan productions at the Théâtre du Soleil in the early 1980's (Richard II, Twelfth Night and Henry IV), used traditional theatrical forms from Japanese Noh, Kabuki and Bunraku; Indian Kathakali and Bharata-natyam, Balinese Topeng and Beijing Opera. The Shakespearan series, an example of transcultural experimentation, represented a breakthrough for the group from Cartoucherie, and was the director's first decisive step towards searching for her own sources. Asian theatrical forms that served above all as inspirations and 'traces of imagination', not just as models to be copied, 'refresh'Shakespeare's works and allow us to take a step back from them, as well as express the universal dimension of his dramaturgy. Mnouchkine used the traditional methods of the Asian theatre also as a means of amplifying Western stage conventions, thus creating the opportunity to pose new questions about the tasks that stand before theatre as an art form.
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