“… the ruins of Europe in back of me.” Jan Klata’s Shakespeare and the European condition

Thumbnail Image





Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Adam Mickiewicz University

Title alternative


Jan Klata’s Shakespearean productions are famous for his liberal attitude to the text, innovative sets and locations, and a strong contemporary context. His 2004 H., a Teatr Wybrzeże production performed in the Gdańsk Shipyard, reaches to the Polish history of the eighties (the importance of Solidarity and the fall of communism) to comment on the state of the democratic Poland twenty years later. The 2012 Titus Andronicus, a coproduction of Teatr Polski in Wrocław and Staatsschauspiel Dresden, explores the impact of historical traumas on national prejudice and relations within the new Europe. The 2013 Hamlet with Schauspielhaus Bochum again tries to diagnose the contemporary condition and is again deeply rooted in a specific geopolitical context. Discussing both Titus Andronicus and Hamlet, I would like to explore Klata’s formula of working with Shakespeare. Primarily, he takes advantage of the fact that Shakespeare’s texts are not simply source texts but hypertexts with multiple layers of meanings accumulated over the centuries of circulation, production and adaptation. Perhaps similarly to Heiner Müller, whose plays he willingly incorporates in his productions, Klata anatomizes the plays and then radically reconstructs them using other texts, literary and paraliterary. What Klata eventually puts on stage is a hybrid that is rooted in the Shakespearean hypertexts but also heavily draws from historical, cultural and political contexts, and that is relevant to him as the director and to the particular specificities of the venues, theatres and companies he works with. The hybridized and contextualized Shakespeare becomes for Klata a way to comment on current issues that he sees as vital, like dealing with the burden of the past, confronting the reality of the present, or understanding and expressing national identity, problems that are at once universal and specific for a person living in the EU in the twenty first century.




Jan Klata, European Shakespeare, intercultural dialogue, heteroglossia, Heiner Müller, Hamlet, Titus Andronicus


Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, vol. 50.4(2015), pp. 67-77



Title Alternative

Rights Creative Commons

Creative Commons License

Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego