Hamlet’s Role In The Revolution

In Romania in the early 80s censorship in the theatre had stiffened and all plays had to be approved by the Councillor of Culture and Social Education. However, the suggestion of a play by Shakespeare went unchallenged: like Beethoven and Tolstoy, Shakespeare was a Universal Artist – to dispute this would be to expose the apparatchiks, always keen to defend their amour-propre, to charges of stupidity.They were enraptured. Line after line was greeted with the applause of recognition: this was their story. Hamlet’s oppression by Claudius mirrored theirs by Ceausescu, and if Hamlet vacillated, accused himself of cowardice, cursed himself for his inaction, it only reflected their own frailty and submissiveness. Allegory and metaphor are part of any theatre syntax but at that time in Romania they were its essential core.”