Secrecy and Identity in Prince of the Himalayas
Sherwood Hu’s insertion of the story of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” into an ancient Tibetan setting implicates a highly original transformation of plot and character. Hu approaches the play within a traditional Chinese approach to imitation that uses strong resemblance to highlight equally strong transformations of the original. These transformations include a replacement of Elizabethan values, especially concerning family relations, with ancient Tibetan values and with Confucian codes that have persisted in Chinese culture to this day. He also radically alters the prince’s family relations to correspond with the psychoanalytic theories of Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok, which describe the ways in which a parental secret enters the child’s unconscious.