Shakespeare, Madness and Music: Scoring insanity in cinematic adaptations

Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 6:30pm

Many forms of disability, including mental illness, are represented in multimedia like film, television and music.  This presentation will examine the musical and visual depictions of mental illness in three of Shakespeare's plays: Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear.  By watching and listening to the acting, direction, and musical accompaniment assigned to Hamlet, Ophelia, Lady Macbeth, King Lear, and Edgar, in various film adaptations we can understand how what Shakespeare calls "madness" was thought about in the Early Modern period, how it interacted with and was described by music and how these associations between madness and music continue in film adaptations of the plays.

Dr. Leonard is a musicologist and music theorist whose work focuses on women and music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; music and screen history; and music and Shakespeare.  She is the Executive Director of the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive.