A collection of recent adaptations of four of Shakespeare’s most famous plays (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet) was published by Penguin, in a series entitled OMG Shakespeare. The new titles are: A Midsummer Night #nofilter (2015) and YOLO Juliet (2016) by W. Shakespeare and Brett Wright, and Macbeth #killingit (2016) and srsly Hamlet (2015) by W. Shakespeare and Courtney Carbone. The plays are rewritten as text messages with abbreviations, emoticons, signs, photos, music, etc. The plot is also changed to fit this contemporary medium of transmission. According to the description, the OMG Penguin series (OMG Shakespeare and OMG Classics), is included in “teen and young adult fiction” and, indeed, though they appear readable to such audiences, these books are often rather difficult for more traditional readers, less skilled in using the new technology. The purpose of the analysis of these adaptations is to trace the manner in which identity and power are constructed by the presence in the social media space. Contemporary society gradually turns into a network society, which challenges the traditional views on center and periphery, identity and social adherence, power and hierarchies. In the middle of apparent fragmentation, equalization and informality, new identities and new forms of power and control are born. The choice of the specific layout for these adaptations, which resembles social media interaction, brings into the forefront the dilemmas of the modern world concerning control, surveillance, traceability, inclusion vs. isolation. Such adaptations may appear unsatisfactory for an avid reader of Shakespeare, but they provide meaningful insight into the new foundations of the modern world and mostly into the tremendous shifts in reading, literature consumption, or entertainment.
Dr Iulia Andreea Milică (Blănuţă) is associate professor of English and American Literature at the English Department, the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania. Her teaching and research interests lie in the field of American cultural studies (mainly Southern Studies) and British Literature (the Middle Ages and the Renaissance). The teaching activities are completed by her research interests that resulted in a number of presentations in national and international conferences and publications in (conference) volumes or journals. She is the author of Southern Cultural Dimensions in Flannery O’Connor’s Fiction (Universitas XXI, Iasi, 2008), Literary Representations of the Southern Plantation (Junimea, Iași, 2013), Studies in American Literature (Casa Editorială Demiurg, Iași, 2013), Shakespeare. Essays on Royalty (Vasiliana ’98, Iași, 2014).