"To build or not to build"
LEGO® Shakespeare™ and the Question of Creativity
This essay aims to explore the cultural stakes underlying the fleeting and almost incongruous Shakespearean presence in The LEGO Movie (2014), analyze the meeting of "LEGO" and "Shakespeare" in the cinematic and digital worlds, and suggest that at the heart of the connection between Shakespeare and LEGO lies the question of originality and creativity. "LEGO Shakespeare" evinces interesting modes of articulation between art and industry, production and consumption, high-brow culture and low-brow culture and invites us to study how Shakespeare is digested into and interacts with multi-layered cultural artifacts. It will be this essay's contention that Shakespeare's unexpected manifestation in The LEGO Movie is a symptom of LEGO's official re-appropriation of more playful and grass-roots productions. These creations stem from users who become "prosumers" in the participatory culture of Web 2.0 and who interact with both the LEGO world and Shakespeare's canon in a cross-over that turns the playwright into a figure that oscillates between spectrality and materiality.
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