Sunday, January 23, 2011

Talk back to Shakespeare

(Basic Concepts and Format developed by KRS Murthy)



Dear Scholars and Literary Enthusiasts,

I humbly invite all you to participate in setting up a novel tradition in literature and art. Please feel free to invite your friends and other literary enthusiasts to participate in this project.

I have developed the basic concepts and format for a new literary tradition. I envision this to be a project for people, run by the people and for the benefit of the people. "People" could be scholars and novices, adults or youngsters, and most importantly of all languages, backgrounds and cultural / art / literary interests and accomplishments.

It is time that we really talked back to these literary masters and asked them directly anything all of us want to really ask.

In general, my intention and vision is to lay the foundation for a novel tradition of talking back to authors.

Please Note: I have intentionally not documented the details, for it is a people’s project.

Theme and Vision

This is actually a people’s project for setting a novel tradition of direct debate and discussion with the authors of famous works. The debate will take the form of dialogues, critical and constructive discussion groups and extravagant theatre presentations.

This is a master plan for critical and constructive dialogue with the greatest literary master of all times. The vision is to set up a foundation for a new tradition of continuing dialogue for many years and generations of scholars and literary enthusiasts. The foundation will set the stage for a new approach to study literary masterpieces, applicable to all languages.

This is only a high level overview of the plan. Details will be developed with a team of motivated and creative core group. During deployment of the dialogue and critical analysis, both scholars and novices would be encouraged to participate actively.

Debates and discussion of special characters

In the first project, we will be talking back to Shakespeare. I have chosen Shakespeare because I have the greatest admiration for him for his contribution to English literature. Great authors like him had superhuman literary gifts. These authors have mesmerized generations by their great writing. These authors have spoken to their readers through characters, events and even direct messages in their stories, poetry and especially dramas. We can also talk back to the author’s through the same characters that talked to us. For example, as authors, we could create a drama in which Shakespearean characters talk back to Shakespeare. The drama we create may have characters from only one of his dramas, or a combination of characters from his different dramas. We could even be creative and come up with our own characters. The central person we talk back to is Shakespeare, but through his characters. We could create events in our drama in which the characters (potentially from different Shakespearean dramas) interact with each other and debate and discuss among them, and also with Shakespeare. As an example, let us imagine a scene in King Lear’s court in his palace. The scene could start with King Lear presiding and many characters from Shakespeare’s dramas present in his court. The characters in the king’s court may not have to be limited from the drama "King Lear", but also other dramas like "Romeo and Juliet", "Mac Beth" or "Othello". After few tradition dialogues and little proceedings in the king’s court, someone demands that they bring in Shakespeare. Soon, Shakespeare is brought dragged into the court by some soldiers. The characters start questioning Shakespeare about some situation of his drama or the motive behind the shaping of a particular character. Juliet may be in tears very angry with Shakespeare and accuse him of what happened to her and her lover Romeo. Shakespeare responds. Some other character from another drama may come to the rescue of Juliet, while another character may support Shakespeare in the discussions and debates. King Lear may declare that Shakespeare be subjected to the same fate he was subjected to, when Fool may speak on behalf of Shakespeare. It can even take the form of cross-examining Shakespeare by different characters. In time, the topic may turn into another character like Othello. Please keep in mind that in all of these dialogues, debates and cross- examining, we as, dramatists or authors, are really talking back to Shakespeare.

Please also note that this is really completely opposite and reciprocal to dramatists like Shakespeare talking to us as his readers through his characters. We are using his own characters to talk back to him.

Many corollaries are possible to this central technique, in which we may use any genre of literature like poetry, short story, novel, and drama to implement the "talk back to the author" tradition. We can choose a poet like William Wordsworth or William Blake to write a poem (or even a drama) using the "talk back" technique. We may choose a novelist or short story writer. We can incorporate humor as needed.

Examples of our intentions would be the following:

* Raise a lot of issues on the theme

* Analyze characters

* Question the author on the treatment of characters

* Debate with the author on moral and social values

* Dialogue with the author on the selection of heroes versus villains

* Understand the intentions of the author through direct discussions about good guys versus bad guys

* Pin point to the author on disturbing events and discuss regarding potential alternative events and other potential alternative tracks for the story.

* Understand the author’s intentions on the creation of VIP characters.

Implementation and Deployment Techniques

* Parallel efforts in all languages

* Team effort with open participation by all – novices and scholars would be participating different levels of activities.

* Many genres would be created – poetry, drama, essays, discussion with a potential for a movie

* Many debate and discussion groups are encouraged around the world.

* Encourage a lot of people to read literature seriously, not merely read passively, but critically and constructively.

* Encourage kids and youngsters to understand with a questioning and constructive mind

* Increase worldwide awareness of great literature in all languages around the world.

* Encourage translations of the masterpieces to many more languages

* In addition to taking current interpretations, encourage expanded constructive interpretations.

* Use internet for publicity, awareness, coordination and distribution.

* Encourage all web-based forums to participate and cooperate.

* Hold interim discussion groups on web and in many parts of the world

* Use characters in the masterpieces to ask questions back to its creator – the author.

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