Transformation of Shakespeare’s Tyrants and Anti-Tyrants in Soviet and Post-Soviet Georgia and Around the World

Convener: Dr. David Maziashvili (Academic Fellow, REES, University of Oxford)

Speakers: Prof. Mark Burnett (Queen’s University, Belfast) & Dr. David Maziashvili (Academic Fellow, REES, University of Oxford)


The aim of the seminar is to analyze the transformation, which Shakespeare’s tyrant and anti-tyrant characters undergo in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Georgian, Russian and Global theatre and cinematography.

Prof. Mark Burnett will speak in his paper that late twentieth - and early twenty-first century Shakespeare films from around the world repeatedly examine forms of modern tyranny – spectres of military oppression, the dangers of demagoguery, governmental corruption, linguistic dispossession. He explores the ways in which global cinema is as much attentive to the legacies of tyranny as it is to the possibilities of present-day reconstitution and repair. In the Soviet and post-Soviet worlds, in particular, He suggests, the dangers of tyranny are writ large, whether this shows itself in the acerbically angled Russian Gamlet (dir. Grigori Kozintsev) or the parodically framed Russian Playing the Victim (dir. Kirill Serebrennikov, 2006).

Dr. David Maziashvili will focus on Shakespeare’s anti-tyrants (Hamlet, Brutus, Richmond) according to the productions of Richard III (1979) Hamlet (1998) (2001) and Julius Caesar (2015) by contemporary Georgian stage director Robert Sturua at The Rustaveli Theatre, Tbilisi, Georgia and The Satirikon Theatre in Moscow, Russia.


Mark Thornton Burnett, FEA, MRIA, is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast. He is the author of Masters and Servants in English Renaissance Drama and Culture: Authority and Obedience (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997), Constructing ‘Monsters’ in Shakespearean Drama and Early Modern Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), Filming Shakespeare in the Global Marketplace (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007; 2nd ed. 2012), Shakespeare and World Cinema (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013) and ‘Hamlet’ and World Cinema (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).


Dr. David Maziashvili is an Associate Professor at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University; Currently Academic Fellow at REES, University of Oxford. He is the author of over 10 academic articles on Shakespeare, Postmodernism, Tom Stoppard, Shakespeare’s reception in contemporary English literature and theatre and the monograph Tom Stoppard and Postmodernism (2014) (a copy is in the Bodleian Library). In 2015, at Tbilisi’s Rustaveli Theatre, he shot a 38-minute documentary, ‘Robert Sturua’s Julius Caesar, Fragments From Performance Rehearsals.’ David’s research interests include Postmodernism, Shakespeare’s transformation in the Second Half of the 20th and in the 21st century English literature, English drama and English and Georgian theatre.