Coriolanus

Adaptations

Bertolt Brecht adapted Shakespeare's play in 1952–55, as Coriolan for the Berliner Ensemble. He intended to make it a tragedy of the workers, not the individual, and introduce the alienation effect; his journal notes showing that he found many of his own effects already in the text, he considered staging the play with only minimal changes. The adaptation was unfinished at Brecht's death in 1956; it was completed by Manfred Wekwerth and Joachim Tenschert and staged in Frankfurt in 1962.[38]

In 1963 the BBC included Coriolanus in The Spread of the Eagle.

Slovak composer Ján Cikker adapted the play into an opera which premiered in 1974 in Prague.

In 1983, the BBC Television Shakespeare series produced a version of the play. It starred Alan Howard and was directed by Elijah Moshinsky.

In 2003 the Royal Shakespeare Company performed a new staging of Coriolanus, along with two other plays, at the University of Michigan. The director, David Farr, saw the play as depicting the modernization of an ancient ritualized culture, and drew on samurai influences to illustrate that view. He described it as “in essence, a modern production. The play is basically about the birth of democracy.”[39]

In 2011, Ralph Fiennes directed and starred as Coriolanus with Gerard Butler as Aufidius and Vanessa Redgrave as Volumnia in a modern-day film adaptation Coriolanus. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray in May, 2012. It has a 93% rating on the film review site Rottentomatoes.com, giving it a Certified Fresh award.[40] Slavoj Žižek argued that unlike preceding adaptations, Fiennes' film portrayed Coriolanus without trying to rationalize his behavior, as a raw figure for the "radical left", a figure who represents contempt for a decadent liberal democracy and the willingness to use violence to counter its latent imperialism in alliance with the oppressed, someone he compares to Che Guevara (who justified himself as a revolutionary killing machine).[41]

Parody

While the title character's name's pronunciation in classical Latin has the a pronounced "[aː]" in the IPA, in English the a is usually prononunced "[eɪ]." Ken Ludwig's Moon Over Buffalo contains a joke dependent upon this pronunciation, and the parody The Complete Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) refers to it as "the anus play". Shakespeare pronunciation guides list both pronunciations as acceptable.[42]

Cole Porter's song "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" from the musical Kiss Me, Kate includes the lines: "If she says your behavior is heinous,/Kick her right in the Coriolanus."

Based on Coriolanus, and written in blank verse, "Complots of Mischief" is a satirical critique of those who dismiss conspiracy theories. Written by philosopher Charles Pigden, it was published in Conspiracy Theories: The Philosophical Debate (Ashgate 2006).[43]


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