the head of counter-intelligence at the FBI, Elizabeth taunts him, saying ‘no knock on your charms there, Romeo’. 15
He will prove her wrong, committing bigamy by marrying Martha to make her go for this ruse.
The point of departure for the crossmapping this final chapter explores is not, however, any actual Shakespeare citation. Instead, the correspondence it proposes is that the topsy-turvy world of festive comedy has an analogy in the equally carnivalesque world of ColdWar espionage. While I will place A Midsummer Night’s Dream in conversation with The
but it did not necessarily cause Johnson’s polemic. Yet, in the
same way that the 1965 Coriolanus reflected ColdWar tensions,
both theatrical topicality and journalistic polemic are indexes of the
factiousness of British politics in the middle of the 1980s. The real
lesson about the theatrical consequences of such political engagement,
however, is that the Shakespeare-plus- relevance view of performance abides in
further transformations on that stage. Coriolanus’ varied
identity was the result of the different historical and theatrical
contexts to which it was adapted, contexts that were created in the
relationships amongst various theatre practitioners, ColdWar
politicians and audiences, including British theatre reviewers. In this
chapter, I will trace the development of the Brecht-related
design, costumes, and music that
evoked specific recent eras: the Fascist 1930s, the ColdWar 1950s, and the present-day
1990s, still plagued by racial discord, juvenile delinquency, domestic violence, and ethnic
cleansing. Nevertheless, in her film, Taymor altered her stage production’s bleak
ending to express a brighter outlook for the world at the dawn of a new millennium.
In both her New York production and her film, Taymor underlined the
immediate relevance of the violence in Titus Andronicus by inventing a hybrid
. With Paul
Robeson playing Othello, it could not be otherwise, as the American
actor brought the full weight of ColdWar politics into the theatre with
him. Owing to Robeson’s outspoken criticism of colonialism
worldwide and of racism in the United States, and because he was a vocal
supporter of the Soviet Union, the US State Department had withheld his
passport from 1950 to 1958. During that eight
discussed in Chapter 6, which treats The Americans in the context of ColdWar espionage.
25 See Jason Read, in Potter and Marshall (eds), Urban Decay and American Television , p. 128. For a discussion of the actual wars that The Wire implicitly makes reference to, see Eschkötter, The Wire , pp. 54–5.
26 The Wire , ‘Straight and True’, season 3, episode 5, dir. Dan Attias, writ. Ed Burns, m27 (HBO 2004).
27 The Wire , ‘Homecoming’, season 3, episode 6, dir. Leslie Libman, writ. Rafael Alvarez, m16.30 (HBO 2004).
28 The Wire , ‘Moral Midgetry’, season
the carnivalesque political stage into which this spy thriller transforms Washington, DC, in the 1980s, with our preposterous gaze guided by the knowledge that the ColdWar is about to end. The point of departure for this proposed conversation is Feste, the fool in Twelfth Night , who, comparable with these Soviet spies, has no proper place and, instead, shuttles between the courts of Orsino and Olivia. No longer Russian, yet not properly American either, Elizabeth and Philip Jennings use an infinite variety of disguises to rehearse versions of what might be taken
, ‘Fictions of Terror: Complexity, Complicity and Insecurity in Homeland’, who, in the same issue, sees Homeland less as an antidote, exorcising the ghosts of 24 , and instead as reflecting the Obama administration’s continuation of a ColdWar paranoid style of politics; pp. 139–42.
26 As Patricia-Ann Lee, ‘Reflections of Power: Margaret of Anjou and the Dark Side of Queenship’, Renaissance Quarterly 39:2 (1986), pp. 183–217, suggests, if, faced with the weakness of her husband, Queen Margaret came to be regarded as the leader of the royal party, the negative
people never entirely stopped believing in and converting between belief
systems, but Enlightenment legacies and the apparently benign faiths of
the later European empires gently pushed the exemplary transition
between faiths to the periphery (although associated anxieties
resurfaced in the repeated horrors of ‘turning native’). In
the twentieth-century ColdWar clash of political ideologies prominent
. Janet Lloyd
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).
See C. Piot, Nostalgia for the Future: West
Africa after the ColdWar (Chicago: University of Chicago
See F. Barker, The Culture of Violence