Imprimis: Links and Tidbits, 12 November 2010

Quite a few links this week, on a smattering of different subjects:

  • Are naughty words a vanishing species? An op-ed wonders about if profanity becoming so common and unshocking is de-valuating powerful words. The article includes a brief discussion on Shakespeare and Bowdlerization.
  • Meanwhile, an editor at the Desert Valley Times think we should be insulting each other with greater flair and panache and suggests that politicians should borrow some of Shakespeare’s zingers during debates.
  • In the wake of the US’s recent turbulent elections, here’s a ballot I think we can all get behind: Shakespeare/Marlowe 2012. Bumper sticker sales are going to a foundation that promotes Shakespeare and theatre education for young folks across the country. Cass says: I wonder who would run against them. Beaumont/Fletcher? Jonson/HisEgo?
  • Some suggestions on teaching Shakespeare from a “computer buff” who “likes to write.” Sarah says: He begins by stating his chagrin regarding students and adults, then suggests some ways to relax students. He includes teaching the plays as performance and suggests movie viewings… I say movies in bits but go “performance”!
  • Tips on working through a Shakespearean monologue. Sarah says: While I don’t agree with all of Alex Swenson’s terminology and conclusions (“Some of the language in Shakespeare is outdated and therefore hard to understand”), I think the steps of exploration (paraphrase, scansion, character clues within the play) may be helpful to students and teachers. I would offer that a word-for-word paraphrase, leaving the syntax intact, would also reveal clues about the character that students should explore.
  • A compendium of the articles of David Crystal. Sarah says: My obsession with word meaning, invention, and instruction comes into play in this recommendation. David Crystal figured heavily into my thesis, so imagine my joy finding all of his articles in one place! I would also encourage you to follow his blog… some Shakespeare, lots of word talk.
  • Intern Natalie blogs about the thesis festival. Sarah says: I know I am citing our own blog here, but gosh, if Natalie can’t get a point across eloquently. Read it to see what you missed on Monday.
  • Shakespeare and Neil Gaiman. Cass says: Bardfilm blogs about the intersection of two of my favorite things, in honor of Neil Gaiman’s 50th birthday. Anyone who hasn’t read, well, all of Sandman, really, but especially the issues featuring A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest has completely missed out. One of my favorite moments actually comes when Morpheus, the Shaper of Dreams, first meets Shakespeare in a pub and overhears him talking to Kit Marlowe, saying: “I would give anything to have your gifts, or more than anything to give men dreams that would live on long after I am dead. I’d bargain, like your Faustus, for that boon.” (Fun fact – almost everything Shakespeare says in his first appearance is in iambic pentameter. Because Neil Gaiman is Just That Good).
  • Finally, San Jose State University theatre is putting on a steampunk Twelfth Night. Cass says: I felt like I had to include this one, following the Gaiman link, just in case there was any doubt about my level of geek-dom. Seriously, though, this is the third steampunk Twelfth Night I’ve heard about in, I think, three years. Why is this play getting all the steampunk love and not the rest of the canon? Christina has suggested a steampunk Civil War Cymbeline, and I’m for it. What other plays do you think would work well all steampunk-ed out? (And for any of our readers asking “What on earth is this ‘steampunk’ thing Cass is going on about?”, here’s a collection of descriptions of the aesthetic/movement/genre).

Enjoy your weekends! Anyone who’s seeing some good early modern plays ought to let us know about it.

5 thoughts on “Imprimis: Links and Tidbits, 12 November 2010

  1. Yay! Steampunk Shakespeare! I don't know why Twelfth Night gets all the gadgetry and gears, but there are other plays that would be fun in this setting. I'm currently directing a Victorian-era Macbeth with a great deal of Steampunk influence: a clock motif, costume nods to Jack the Ripper and Frankenstein, sword-cane duel between Macbeth and Macduff, etc. I'm very pleased with it.Brainstorming other possibilities for Steampunking Shakespeare, I decided the Tempest and Pericles are great candidates. The Tempest because, with a big enough production budget, Prospero could be a magitech-using inventor and Ariel a sentient spirit of steam. Ooh, and maybe a partially-clockwork cyborg Caliban? Pericles because the many settings could be different Steampunk locales (Pentapolis: jolly Dickensian London with knights in steam-powered armor, Ephesus: Far Eastern mystical temple, Mytilene: urban hive of scum and villainy) but mostly because of AIRSHIP PIRATES!

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  2. Alexi — That sounds like so much fun! Let us know when you've got information on when/where/etc, and we'll cheerfully promote you here & on Twitter.Also, I love the idea of a steampunk Tempest. Might be a way to actually make the masque interesting! 😉

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  3. Thanks so much! That would be great. Here's my "press release" of sorts:Ambition. Deception. Guilt. Madness. Shakespeare's most harrowing tragedy has it all. See a twelve-person cast bring the rise and fall of Macbeth and his Lady to life in this innovative production.Performances:Thursday, March 17th, 6:30 PMFriday March 18th, 6:30 PMSaturday, March 19th, 11:00 AM matineeSaturday, March 19th 7:00 PM evening showand Monday, March 21st, 6:30 PMLocation: St. Colman Church, 11 Simpson Road, Ardmore PA.Admission is $6. Tickets can be pre-ordered at ShakesPEERtickets@gmai.com.The ShakesPEER Group is a not-for-profit student-run theatre group. Previous productions have included Othello, Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and The Importance of Being Earnest.

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  4. Thanks, Alexi! I'll put up a post closer to your show dates. Let me know if you get a website up or a Facebook event that I can link to.

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