Moroccan Shakespeare: From Moors to Moroccans

Khalid Amine (Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Tetuan, Morocco)

My paper aims at illuminating the space that William Shakespeare occupies in the dynamics of writing Moroccan postcoloniality. Moroccan negotiations of Shakespeare are construed within a liminal space that is thoroughly hybrid. It is a third space that is located between Self and Other, East and West, as well as tradition and modernity. These negotiations are informed by the Moroccan postcolonial condition of hybridity, a condition that is itself situated across diaspora and diaglossia. The result of the re-writing process is the production of a new kind of writing and ultimately a new Shakespeare, a Moroccan Shakespeare. This new writing which is a representation of another representation supervenes upon its former at the very moment of reproducing it, yet in a different way. Moroccan dramas that are related to Shakespeare are not innocent adaptations or supplements but new texts that bear a strong local field of reference. The themes underlined by these texts have much to do with the postcolonial.

My paper also demonstrates that Moroccan dramatists' re-reading of Shakespeare have produced a Shakespeare who is their contemporary, a Moroccan Shakespeare. This latter is demythologized, revised, and re-located within the emerging space of Moroccan postcolonial condition. Abdelkrim Berrchid uses Shakespeare's Othello only to illuminate a different narrative. As for his Imruu Al Qays, it subverts Shakespeare's Hamlet at the very moment of repeating it in a festive way. Berrchid's output, as I will illustrate in my paper, exhibit a deeply rooted desire to voice out a repressed narrative, that of the Moroccan postcolonial subject. Meanwhile, Nabil Lahlou's and Abdelhak Zerouali's Hamlet is liberated from the state of procrastination and delay of action that confine Shakespeare's Prince of Denmark. These dramas and others can be seen as travelling texts, scripts that interfere, decenter rather than mystify and mythologise.

[complete essay]

Postcolonial OV discourseov Casablanca Conference

Last modified: 7 May 2001