Lee Kuo-Hsiu's 1992 Shamlet is a "sham" Hamlet that possesses three palimpsestical levels of signification as it rearranges Shakespeare's play. The first level is the parody of the Shakespearean text, where scripted technical errors and confusion prevail when a fictional Taiwanese theater company rehearses and performs Hamlet. The second level is (auto)biographical: the stories of the characters of the company portraying Hamlet reflect the chaotic condition of theatre making and living in contemporary Taiwan, where the economics of the arts are vexed and the political future of the island is unclear. At a third level, where the parody of the Western classical text and the autobiographical rendition of contemporary East Asian reality confront each other in scripted improvisations, a new Asian modernity emerges in the articulate voice of Lee Kuo-Hsiu.
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Feb 15, 2005