Future Shakespeare

I think we can safely assume that if technology continues to evolve, we will eventually be able to “beam in” to completely immersive shared holographic experiences. In some ways this will change how we communicate. But in other ways it won’t.

One thing I predict will not change is Shakespeare. We have been putting on plays by the Bard for four centuries, throughout radical changes in technology. Yet plays by Shakespeare remain remarkably immune to the ravages of better tech.

I suspect this trend will continue. A great play is great not for reasons of technology, but for deeper reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with the effects of technological advancement.

It has now been 22 years since Jane Murray wrote her famous book Hamlet on the Holodeck. Many of the invited guest authors of that book predicted radical transformations in the nature of theater, as evolving technology permits us to try ever new things.

My prediction is that the most distinguishing feature of future theater isn’t what will change, but what will not change. When it comes down to it, Hamlet on the Holodeck will just be Hamlet.

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