“Tupi or Not Tupi, That Is the Question”: Brazilian Mythical Afterlives of Shakespeare’s Hamlet

  • Anna Stegh Camati
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare book series (RESH)


Shakespeare’s tragedies are fertile ground for mythmaking in Brazil. One of the main policies is superimposing local issues upon the Shakespearean matrix to contest hegemonic discourses and expose political scandals. José Celso’s Ham-let (1993) at the Teatro Oficina is an anarchic, tragicomic, Dionysian appropriation of Shakespeare’s play that articulates the director’s non-conformism with Brazilian social and political realities. Caixa-Preta’s Syncretic Hamlet (2005), directed by Jessé Oliveira, is a cultural translation enacted by a group of Black actors, highlighting the significance of negritude. This chapter discusses both productions, available on the MIT Global Shakespeares Video & Performance Archive, in the light of theoretical concepts by Oswald de Andrade and Silviano Santiago. Although the Brazilian Hamlet versions take liberties with Shakespeare’s text, paradoxically, they also show the deepest respect for it.


  1. Andrade, Oswald. 1928. Manifesto antropófago. Revista de Antropofagia I, no. 1.Google Scholar
  2. Artaud, Antonin. 1993. The Theatre and Its Double. Trans. Victor Corti. London/New York: Calder.Google Scholar
  3. Barbosa, Muryatan Santana. 2013. O TEN e a negritude francófona no Brasil: recepção e inovações. Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais 28 (81): 171–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burke, Peter. 2009. Cultural Hybridity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. Caixa-Preta. 2005a. Programme of Syncretic Hamlet, directed by Jessé de Oliveira. Porto Alegre, 1–12.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2005b. Syncretic Hamlet. Performance text. Collective Creation Inspired in Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Porto Alegre, 1–44. Digital version.Google Scholar
  7. Elito, Edson. 1999. A Street Called Theatre. In Teatro Oficina/Oficina Theater, ed. Bo Lina Bardi and Edson Elito. Lisboa: Editorial Blau.Google Scholar
  8. Fergusson, Francis. 1949. Oedipus: Ritual and Play. In The Idea of a Theatre, 26–32. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Fonseca, Duduca da, and Bob Weiner. 1993. Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset. New York: Alfred Publishing.Google Scholar
  10. Ham-let. 1993. MIT Global Shakespeares. Video and Performance Archive—Open Acess. Available at:
  11. Kott, Jan. 1994. Shakespeare Our Contemporary. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1963. The Structural Study of Myth. In Structural Anthropology, vol. 1, 206–231. Trans. Clair Jacobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf. New York: Basic.Google Scholar
  13. Livingstone, Robert Eric. 1995. Decolonizing the Theatre: Césaire, Serreau and the Drama of Negritude. In Imperialism and Theatre: Essays on World Theatre, Drama and Performance, ed. J. Ellen Gainor, 182–198. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Marowitz, Charles. 1991. Recycling Shakespeare. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Murray, Gilbert. 1914. Hamlet and Orestes: A Study of Traditional Types. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Oliveira, Jessé. 2005. Hamlet sincrético—ensaio descritivo, 1–20. Unpublished article. Digital version.Google Scholar
  17. Pavis, Patrice. 1992. Towards Specifying Theatre Translation. In Theatre at the Crossroads of Culture, 136–159. London/New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Santiago, Silviano. 1971/2001. Latin American Discourse: The Space In-Between. In The Space In-Between: Essays on Latin American Culture, ed. Ana Lúcia Gazzola, 25–38. Durham/London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Shakespeare, William. 2006. Hamlet, The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. Eds. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor. London: Thomson Learning.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 2007. Hamlet. The Text of 1603 and 1623, The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. Eds. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor. London: Thomson Learning.Google Scholar
  21. Syncretic Hamlet. 2005. MIT Global Shakespeares. Video and Performance Archive—Open Acess. Available at:

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Stegh Camati
    • 1
  1. 1.UniandradeCuritibaBrazil

Personalised recommendations