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Off-Modern Hybridity in TV Theatre: Theatrical, Cinematic and Media Temporalities in Rupert Goold’s Macbeth (BBC - Illuminations Media, 2010)

Víctor Huertas-Martín


Rupert Goold’s screen production of Macbeth – firstly, staged in 2007 and, later, filmed in 2010 – has been studied as an example of the stage-to-screen hybrid corpus of Shakespearean audio-visual adaptations. Thus, much of the critical emphasis on the production has been placed on its filmic qualities. Particularly, the genre film conventions deployed across the film has summoned the attention of Shakespeare on screen scholars and it has been the creators’ intentions to precisely point at Goold’s filmic intertextual repertoire. Given the recent increasing attention to the multiple media and languages employed in stage-to-screen hybrid Shakespearean adaptations and other exchanges between the languages of the stage and film to rework Shakespearean and theatrical productions, it is instructive to observe the ways in which adaptations such as this one engage with larger processes of transmedia storytelling, not only paying attention to theatrical and filmic languages but to the transmedia strategies these TV theatrical films make use of. Importantly, it is instructive to look into the narrative and philosophical purposes served by transmedia storytelling as the multiple media and languages used in the film display a range of temporalities and film genres associated to them that allow us to expand the interpretive range of Shakespeare’s source text. Following this premise, this essay examines Goold’s Macbeth as a nostalgia narrative in which transmedia strategies serve to display a range of media-based narrative strands that expand the film’s range of possible interpretations. To prove this, I will insert Goold’s film in the larger process of transmedia storytelling encompassing the performance history of Macbeth. Additionally, I will identify narrative strands in Goold’s televisual, theatrical, musical, poetic and computer-based sources. The results will show that Macbeth – and, by extension, potentially this applies to TV theatrical adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays – constitutes a strand of the larger corpus of transmedia storytelling wrapping up the Scottish play’s performance history as well as Shakespeare’s overall performance history.


film, hybridity, music, poetry, reflective nostalgia, theatre, videogame

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ijtl-2019-004-huer

International Journal of Transmedia Literacy (IJTL)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (22/10/2014 n. 328)
Online ISSN 2465-2261 - Print ISSN 2465-227X

Editor in Chief: Matteo Ciastellardi
Managing Editor: Giovanna Di Rosario
Managing Committee: Matteo Andreozzi, Stefano Calzati, Ugo Eccli, Cristina Miranda de Almeida.

Board Committee: Alan Albarran (University of North Texas, United States), Rogério Barbosa Da Silva (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil), Giovanni Baule (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Laura Borràs Castanyer (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain), Derrick de Kerckhove (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Henry Jenkins (University of Southern California, United States), Marsha Kinder (University of Southern California, United States), Raine Koskimaa (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), George Landow (Brown University, United States), Paul Levinson (Fordham University, United States), Asún López-Varela (Universidad Complutense, Spain), Lev Manovich (City University of New York, United States), Nick Montfort (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States), Marcos Novak (UCLA - University of California, Los Angeles, United States), Massimo Parodi (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy), Bruce W. Powe (York University, Canada), Kate Pullinger (Bath Spa University, United Kingdom), Marie-Laure Ryan (Indipendent Scholar), Alexandra Saemmer (Université Paris 8, France), Carlos Scolari (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain), Susana Tosca (IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Alessandro Zinna (Université Toulouse II, France)

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