The Merchant of Venice and Othello are the two Shakespeare plays which serve as touchstones for contemporary understandings and responses to notions of 'the stranger' and 'the other'. This groundbreaking collection explores the dissemination of the two plays through Europe in the first two decades of the 21st-century, tracing how productions and interpretations have reflected the changing conditions and attitudes locally and nationally.
Packed with case studies of productions of each play in different countries, the volume opens vistas on the continent's turbulent history marked by the instability of allegiances and boundaries, and shifting senses of identity in a context of war, decolonization and migration. Chapters examine productions in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Italy, France, Portugal and Germany to shed light on wide-scale European developments for the first time in English.
In a final section, performance insights are offered by interviews with three directors: Karin Coonrod on directing The Merchant in Venice at the Venetian Ghetto in 2016, Plamen Markov on his 2020 Othello for the Varna Theatre (Bulgaria) and Arnaud Churin, whose Othello toured France in 2019.
In drawing attention to the ways in which historical circumstances and collective memory shape and refashion performance, Shakespeare's Others in 21st-century European Performance offers a rich review of European theatrical engagements with Otherness in the productions of these two plays.