Join us and Paul Majkut for an exploration of silent film productions of Shakespeare’s plays!
Sunday, January 12th at 2:00 pm
Mission Valley Library
2123 Fenton Pkwy
San Diego, CA 92108
“Silent Shakespeare” is a contradiction.
Above all, Shakespeare is known for his use of spoken, dramatic English—not his plots, borrowed and adapted from diverse sources. Although he employed dumbshows within his plays, these are always in the context of the spoken word. But early silent-film productions of his plays silenced his incomparable verse. With language impossible in the medium at the time, the conventions of early silent-film acting came into play, attempting the impossible.
This is the critical problem: How to judge the success or failure of these early film productions not only within the broad literary aesthetics of the English stage, but also in terms of the new medium incapable of representing auditory speech.
Paul Majkut has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Shakespeare, Elizabethan-Jacobean drama, and the poetry of the English renaissance and 17th century in his career as a university teacher. He has been awarded two National Endowment for the Humanities grants (Cambridge, 2003, Oxford, 2010), and has served as a Fulbright Scholar (Argentina) and Fulbright Senior Specialist (Finland, Germany, Mexico). For over a decade, he was the drama and film critic for The San Diego Review, winning numerous press awards, including reviews of Old Globe productions of Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and As You Like It, as well as films (Richard III, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream).