Performing the Shakespearean supernatural in Avignon
A challenge to the Festival
in Shakespeare and the supernatural
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This chapter explores the interactions between text, performance and venue to develop a typology of the aesthetics of the supernatural in Shakespearean productions in the Honour Court of the Avignon Popes' Palace between 1947 and 2015. A locus of conflicts, whether it actualises the hero's inner turmoil or the opposition between characters – generally between the murderer and his victim(s) thirsting for revenge – the ghost also crystallises the challenging confrontation between performance and venue, theatrical event and spectacular monument, the transient and the permanent. As a metatheatrical motif, the ghost questions not only the theatrical medium but also the theatricality of the venue and their compatibility. Shakespearean ghosts thus challenge the Avignon Festival while paradoxically confirming its vocation as a platform for experimentation, a laboratory for the performing arts and a showcase of contemporary theatre.

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