Edited by Silvia Bigliazzi
[Shakespeare in European Culture 2] 2020
► pp. 175–211
Chapter 5. Allegorising and minoritising Richard III
Against the backdrop of widespread topical readings of Richard III as post-war allegories of totalitarianisms ‘reconciling’ us with painful memories of trauma and monstrosity, this chapter discusses Carmelo Bene’s experiment in minoritisation as a form of political disengagement but also political challenge. It reappraises Bene’s dialogue with Deleuze by situating his 1977 anti-theatrical experiment with Shakespeare’s play within the context of contemporary forms of theatrical contestation and, contrariwise, connivance with political power in the 1970s. Finally, it investigates Bene’s experimental minoritisation of Shakespeare’s history play by contrasting a subversive conception of history with official history, and to this end exploiting the dynamic resources of the eventfulness of the performance. It also assesses Bene’s own claimed anarchic way of transcending power games by examining his interpretation of ‘essential minority’ as opposed to ‘actual minority’ in relation to a notion of immanent politics that refuses transcendental justifications.