Ursula Mayerl-Fellner

Department English and American Studies
PhD Supervisor Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sabine Coelsch-Foisner
PhD Co-Supervisor tba
Start Summer semester 2014
Contact ursula.fellner@stud.sbg.ac.at
Topic/Title The Translation and Adaptation of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: Aesthetics, Music, Comic Relief and Their Production and Performance History


Communication between cultures is brought forward by the reception of the reading and writing of Shakespeare by others. This philosophy was also the basis of the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival in England. In 2016, the quartercentenary of Shakespeare's death, there will be even more worldwide celebrations reappraising the heritage of the artist's works.Shakespeare died in 1616 but has been, according to Peter Holbrook, reborn in limitless acts of performance, understanding, scholarship, transformation, critique, celebration. The International Shakespeare Association holds its 10th World Shakespeare Congress in late July and early August 2016 in two locations: Stratford-upon-Avon and London. Hosts in Stratford will be the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. In London, Shakespeare's Globe, the London Shakespeare Theatre and King's College London will organize and celebrate the cultural legacy of his works.The theory of the art of translating drama and theatre was shaped primarily by Susan Bassnett (1990, 1998), David Johnston (1997) and Patrice Pavis (1992). Drama translation (i.e. theatrical translation or stage translation as it is also called) is still in development as far as its theory is concerned. A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy which dramatizes gender issues which originate from restrictive, authoritative patriarchal family structures and the problem of self-determination and autonomy in relationships and marriage. As such, particular focus will be placed on finding the female "signatures" to the reception, distribution and translation of Shakespeare's works. Further, my dissertation examines Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream from the following perspectives: The translation and adaptation of Shakespeare's plays as individual forms of art, the history of the play's theatre performance and the history of its cinematic production.
The comparative analysis of "Shakespeare Found in Translation and Adaptation" in the light of new levels of intercultural understanding stands in the foreground, i.e. how the play was distributed and translated in Europe, how theatrical and film productions were interpreted and realized. Within this field of investigation the comedy's aesthetics (staging, historical performance practice, practical theatrical implementation, costumes, etc.), its musical (Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, 1826; Benjamin Britten, 1960) and cinematic realization (e.g. Max Reinhardt, 1935 for Warner Bros.; Michael Hoffmann, 1999, for Fox Searchlight Pict.) as well as the play's comic mode and the analysis of its translation through the centuries (etymological research) will be at the centre of my approach.
From Max Reinhardt to Henry Mason, on a local level, the main point of interest is the production, translation and adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Salzburg Festival, especially Henry Mason's versions, productions and translations: "Die Sommernachtsträumer", 2013, for children from the age of 6 and "Ein Sommernachtstraum" , Salzburger Festspiele 2013, Residenzhof, with the music of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

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