Last Friday Dr.Cohen gave a fascinating talk on the history of the Blackfriers. The Blackfriars seems to have housed an eclectic artistic community of rich and common, puritans, and actors. Here are some photos from Dr. Cohen's talk.
I'm directing the final scene of A Winter's Tale for my Directing final, but I have to prepare like I'm going to do the whole show. Here is my scene chart and doubling chart for a cast of twelve. When I uploaded the scene chart the lines uploaded strangely, you have to imagine the ones that are missing. I'm not sure how to fix that, but I'm sure everyone reading this blog has a good imagination.
I had such a great time putting on the Classical/Epic short version of Pericles. Condensing a play into about six minutes and bringing out elements that revolve around a certain theme is a great exercise as a scholar, actor, and director. I put together the script and I used excerpts from a translation of the original source, Apollonius, as well as a few from our script of "Pericles," to supplement the story and then I filled in the details around them. If anyone would be interested in seeing a copy of the script let me know. It was a great experience working with my classmates on this collaborative effort. Together we came up with a lot of creative ideas.
Roving Shakespeare, the M.F.A. company, will be doing "King Lear" later this month. I have loved everything they have done so far, their shows are very colorful and creative.
Preview is Sunday, January 26 in Masonic Blue
Opening Night is January 28 in the Blackfriars Playhouse
Performances begin at 7:30 pm.
These are pay as you like it performances.
The new term starts today and I just had my first class, Performance of the Language. We will be studying and then putting on a production of the play Pericles. I am very excited. I will play Lysimachus and third pirate, so I am very excited. Our whole first year is taking the class at once, which is wonderful because we're such a tight knit group.
The first half of term we will explore the play together and we are to focus on exploring rather than interpreting the play, a wonderful approach which should generate some beautiful creative work.
This week we are focusing on seeing the play through three different storytelling lenses: the Epic/Apollonian; the Romantic/Medieval/Gower; and the Early Modern/ Shakespeare's Contemporaries.
We have been divided up into three groups and we are to spend about two hours putting together a 5-7 minute production of Pericles each group with a different focus which we will all present on Friday. Mine is the Epic/Apollonian focus, which is great because I'm a fan of the Odyssey, Greek myths, and also very familiar with the Mediterranean, so I was hoping to be in this focus group.
I'll keep you updated with more information on this fun assignment as the week develops!
I recently turned in a research paper on a repeated embedded stage direction in Richard II and I thought would include it here so that you can see what I am working on.
Here are photos of the Wilton Diptych that Richard II had commissioned and I mention in my paper:
Yesterday a young woman prospective student came to sit in on our class and see seemed so amazed an excited by what we were doing. It made me think about what a unique and wonderful program this is and reminded me how excited I was when I first got here. It is easy to forget during finals, but this place is a wonderful sanctuary for Shakespeare geeks. You get to be in a community where everyone understands what you are talking about and no one misunderstand what "wherefore" means. As a SAP student you get to go to performances and rehearsals at the American Shakespeare Center for free, and you can go as many times as you like. You get to work with and learn from famous Shakespeare and Marlow scholars who have brilliant insights to share; and you find yourself challenged in a good way, learning and growing more than you thought possible. Staunton (where Mary Baldwin, the SAP program, and the ASC are located) is also a lovely little artistic town nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, surrounded by beautiful mountains everywhere you look, and if you grew up on the Plains as I did your legs will get very toned.
It is research paper time, so I thought I would share with you my professor, Dr. Ralph Cohen's Picky Rules of Writing. The rules are tough ones but they are making me a much better writer.
Professor Cohen's 39 Picky Rules of Writing
Ralph Alan Cohen, Director of Mission and co-founder of the American Shakespeare Center and Professor of Shakespeare and Performance at Mary Baldwin College, developed these rules for writing in his thirty-plus years in the classroom. Please feel free to adopt and adapt them for your own classroom or personal writing use but please credit the author if you decide to distribute them.
In an online discussion with my classmates based on some readings we had to do for class on different critical essays on Shakespeare I posted the below remarks and I thought I would share them with you. The topic of the day was feminism.
I think that it is rather A-historical to ask if Shakespeare was a feminist. Feminism wasn't a twinkle in it's mother's eye in Shakespeare's day. One might call him a pre-Victorian romantic. He certainly believed than women were as intelligent as men (and some women more intelligent than some men - i.e. Romeo and Juliet or Portia and anyone else in that play).
In Shakespeare's day did women have anywhere near the rights and freedoms that Shakespeare gives his heroines? Shakespeare's women may be victims of a culture that treats them poorly, but the strong ones don't let that hold them back. Shakespeare highlights the unfairness of the system that women are in. Just listen to Beatrice or Portia. This is a step forward from the idea of women as subservient and happy with it or punished when they're not.
To Jacqueline Rose and Paula Berggren I ask: Is Shakespeare misandris for portraying so many of his male characters as brutes?
Don't go back in time and pick a fight with William Shakespeare. He isn't here to fight back and he's four hundred years behind on current social and political philosophy.
P.S. Think of the popular female heroines of the modern era and compare them with Shakespeare's women. Do you think Bella Swan could hold her own in a debate with Juliet Capulet?
The undergraduate theater department here at Mary Baldwin is putting on Chicago the musical! As one of the grad assistants assigned to the program, I am doing publicity for the show. How do you like the posters I made?
Here are some publicity shots:
I also have some shots from a recent performance:
Here is the press release:
Mary Baldwin College Theatre presents the shamelessly sexy Chicago, America's longest running Broadway musical. With music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb, Book by Ebb and Bob Fosse the show runs November 9-11, 14-18 Wednesday through Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 2:00 in Fletcher Collins Theatre, Deming Hall. For reservations call (540)887-7189 Mon-Fri 10am-5pm or go online to www.mbc.edu/studies/theatre/currentseason.php Tickets are $12, $7 for students and seniors. All seating is general admission.
Based on 1924 trials of murderesses Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, Chicago is a tale of the women who will stop at nothing for fame, fortune, and all that jazz. With spirited, show-stopping songs and scintillating, knockout dance numbers it will keep you on the edge of your seat. Directed by Clinton Johnston, Chicago features Danni Guy as Roxie Hart and Justine Mackey as Velma Kelly, the publicity seeking murderesses. Alejandro Rosa is Billy Flynn, slick celebrity lawyer and Olivia Grace is Mamma Morton, the seductively corrupt prison matron. Also featuring Shane Sczepankowski as clueless husband Amos Hart, Zachary Swanson as the sob-sister reporter Mary Sunshine and Jesi Dunivan as the all-knowing Master of Ceremonies. Tiffany Waters, Emily Marks, Rebecca Bailey, Laura Wise, and Savhanna Jones are the scantily clad performers of the Cell Block Tango, joining Catherine Mahoney, Koren Grace, Bridget Burner, Matthew Cline-Taskey and Jake Duvall-Early as a host of characters in the company.
Chicago has been honored with 6 Tony Awards®, 2 Olivier Awards®, a Grammy® and standing ovations all over the world from Mexico City to Moscow, from Sao Paulo to South Africa and now for the first time in Staunton, VA. To guarantee your seat, order your tickets early for a lively evening in our intimate setting.
I have recently found out that Mary Baldwin College also offers a BA/MLitt where you get your bachelor's degree and an MLitt in five years. I'm not sure if this particular program existed when I started college, but I would have loved it. Click here for more information. Any high school student with a strong love of Shakespeare and theater should seriously consider this program.
ASC Internship Auditions!
I have an audition tomorrow with the ASC to intern for one of their shows next year! Wish me many broken legs!
The Actors from the London Stage have come to town and on Tuesday night I saw them perform a fascinating Merchant of Venice with only five actors. Everyone played multiple parts and when one character had to talk to another character played by the same actor they would have one in a hat and one without so as to help the audience diferenciate between the two of them as well as very different physicalities for the different characters and none of the actors on stage ever forgot where a character was suposed to be but would look at the empty space as if they saw the character there and talk and have moments with the invisible character. It came of brilliantly and was a very clever method of dealing with extream casting. They will be performing tonight, Thursday, Oct. 18th at the Fletcher Collins Theatre at 7:30. For tickets call 540-
The brilliant Patrick Spottiswoode, Director of Education at the Globe Theatre in London, came and gave a fascinating talk at the American Shakespeare Center a few weeks ago. He spoke about the long difficult process of getting the Globe Theatre in London built and about the future of the Globe and the new indoor Shakespeare playhouse they are building to be called the Wanamaker Theatre (named after visionary Sam Wanamaker, who was the reason and driving force behind the construction and function of the Globe, but didn't live to see it completed).
P.S. ASC honored Patrick Spottiswoode with the Burbage Award at a benefit that weekend.
The Actors from the London Stage are coming next week. It will be a delight to get to meet them and see their production of The Merchant of Venice. I have been told that this is the group in which Patrick Stewart and our own professor, Dr. Matt Davies got their starts so I am quite excited to see them perform.
Here are some random photos from the past few weeks including Patrick Spottiswoode's talk, The set from the undergraduate theater program's production of Run for You Wife (I did the set dressing), as well as some random photos of campus and class:
Nora Manca Wickman was the founding Artistic Director of Storefront Shakespeare and has a MFA and MLitt in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA
Blogs I recommend:
Emma Wallace's Music
A Cat of Impossible Color
Ooo She Bop
Havoc The Cat