ASC Study Guides now available on Lulu.com

The Education Department is pleased to announce the transfer of 10 full-length Study Guides to Lulu.com, a site which allows both for PDF downloads and for print-on-demand hard copies of the text. This is a vast improvement over our old system, and will increase both the visibility and the accessibility of ASC educator resources.

Much of the credit for this transfer goes to ASC Senior Graphic Artist Lauren Rogers, who not only helped get us onto the website, but also redesigned our covers into this far-more-attractive format. The idea comes from Wordles, which we advocate as a way into the text for some of your particularly Shakespeare-skittish students, since they demonstrate how few words in a play or in a given speech are actually unfamiliar. Lauren found the visuals of the Wordles appealing, and she took it from there, giving us these fabulous new covers:

Yesterday, we received our own hard copies, which Sarah will be taking down to Orlando and displaying at the Shakespeare Theatre Association Conference. They’ve been the source of much delight and merriment in the office:

All of next year’s Study Guides — Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, along with any mini-guides — will go directly to Lulu. I’m so looking forward to the opportunities this new integration will present for us.

Shakespearean March Madness: Who Makes the Playoffs?

Those of you who have been following our blog for at least a year now will remember last year’s Shakespearean March Madness game. For the entire month of March, we debated which Shakespeare character could best all others in a no-holds-barred match. Might versus magic, cunning and guile versus brute strength and military prowess — We debated and you decided. Last year’s finals came down between Queen Margaret and Henry V, and the lady won the day in a stunning come-from-behind victory.

Some of you got really into this. Our actors and audiences alike embraced the rivalry between Richard and Margaret. Our friend Colin encouraged his high school class to participate, and they kept a running bracket on their whiteboard, which he was good enough to share with me:

This year, I’d like to open up nominations for who should be included in our 32 competitors. Did someone get left off of last year’s list who you think deserves a shot at the title? Did any Cinderella story make it last year who you think didn’t warrant the slot? And how about last year’s greats — which of them absolutely must stay on the ballot for this year?

But here’s the catch: If you want to convince me to add someone to the Final 32, or to kick someone off, I need evidence from the plays. You must support your candidate with quotes, clips, artwork, photos, or other supplementary materials. Make your case, and make it strong.

Let me know who you think should be named 2012’s Shakespearean March Madness Champion! Answer here or ping me on Twitter.

Imprimis: Links and Tidbits — ‘Anonymous’ Edition

As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, a movie came out last week which, despite its risible nature, seeks to ruffle feathers in the world of Shakespeare studies. Many scholars would rather not dignify the nonsensical issue with a response (not to mention our reluctance to give Emmerich more free publicity), but the matter has pressed itself sufficiently that the community has responded. If Anonymous realized its own fictional nature and were not attempting to masquerade its inventions as fact, perhaps we wouldn’t have such a problem, but because Emmerich has taken to the media, smugly pronouncing himself the savior of truth, and because Sony has begun distributing supposedly “educational” packets to high schools (I’ve seen them; they’re alarmingly misleading and ethically irresponsible) — those conditions provoke the defense that Shakespeare deserves. The kid gloves have come off, and rather than dancing delicately around the issue, many scholars have attacked the issue head-on and free of hedging. I submit here, for your perusal, a smattering of the reviews and opinions published in response to the Anonymous absurdity.

  • James Shapiro, author of Contested Will, took to the New York Times in defense of Shakespeare: “Promoters of de Vere’s cause have a lot of evidence to explain away, including testimony of contemporary writers, court records and much else that confirms that Shakespeare wrote the works attributed to him. Meanwhile, not a shred of documentary evidence has ever been found that connects de Vere to any of the plays or poems.”
  • The Times also has a piece by Stephen Marche, which not only disapproves of the attempt to portray the film as educational but also derides the conspiracy theory in general: “No argument could ever possibly sway the Oxfordian crowd. They are the prophets of truthiness. ‘It couldn’t have been Shakespeare,’ they say. ‘How could a semiliterate country boy have composed works of such power?’ Their snobbery is the surest sign of their ignorance.”
  • An editorial in the Washington Post sought out opinions from James Shapiro, the Folger’s Michael Witmore, and eminent period scholars Eric Rasmussen and Stephen Greenblatt.
  • Simon Schama advises, simply, “Don’t buy it” in regards to Emmerich’s spurious claims. “None of which would matter very much were there not something repellent at the heart of the theory, and that something is the toad, snobbery—the engine that drives the Oxfordian case against the son of the Stratford glover John Shakespeare. … The real problem is not all this idiotic misunderstanding of history and the world of the theater but a fatal lack of imagination on the subject of the imagination. The greatness of Shakespeare is precisely that he did not conform to social type—that he was, in the words of the critic William Hazlitt, ‘no one and everyone.'”
  • A public radio commentary fights the idea of privilege attached to the Oxfordian theory: “I could never stand before a class of high school students and tell them that great writing, and a deep understanding of humanity can only be achieved by the educated elite.”
  • Woman About Town links the “controversy” to other conspiracy theories. “It was only as the centuries passed and Shakespeare’s work began to be seen as the pinnacle of artistic achievement that it was that ‘doubts’ emerged. And the biggest reason appears to have been plain old-fashioned snobbery and frustrated romantic yearnings.”
  • Jonathan Hobratsch for the Huffington Post presents 10 reasons why Shakespeare is Shakespeare.
  • Slate.com has a movie review, complete with podcast, demonstrating that even objective reviewers with no dog in the fight find the whole premise absurd. The podcast is particularly interesting for what the reviewers have to say about the relationship of modern actors to the conspiracy. Another article on the same site asserts the need to defend Shakespeare: “To remain silent in the face of stupidity this blatant is to acquiesce to a kind of culture-destroying ugliness. … Most of all, I hate the way they pride themselves on the vain, mendacious conceit that they’re in on a grand historical secret deception that only they have the superior intelligence to understand. It’s an insult to everyone else’s intelligence if they’re taken seriously.”
  • James Ley challenges Sony’s choice to promote the fictional movie as educational: “There is something pernicious about the way Anonymous is being promoted. The ‘teach the controversy’ strategy, beloved of those whose arguments are on the wrong side of the evidence, is now apparently so normalised that an implausible work of speculative fiction can be brazenly offered as an exercise in historical revisionism and an educational tool.”
  • Skeptical Humanities also challenges the movie presenting fiction as fact: “So, no, Anonymous is NOT just a movie: it is a huge propaganda machine that wants desperately to sway viewers and students.”
  • Stanley Wells and Paul Edmondson, from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, have written an e-book which they’ve made freely available. Shakespeare Bites Back synopsizes the argument nicely and also advocates that we stop using the term “anti-Stratfordian” and begin calling a spade a spade with the term “anti-Shakespearean”. Additionally, Edmondson and Wells discuss the issue in a short podcast, Wells has a piece in the Telegraph, and a series of posts from back in June demonstrates that Shakespeare solidly wins the debate.
  • Finally, the Utah Shakespeare Festival solicited responses from a number of scholars and practitioners from Shakespeare institutions around the country. When they asked the ASC for our thoughts, Sarah was kind enough (and brave enough) to let me reply — so if you want to know what I personally think about the issue, my argument is encapsulated there in a 500-word essay.

I’m also in the process of finally reading Shapiro’s Contested Will, which Simon & Schuster sent to me for a review, so hopefully I’ll be able to post that soon. It’s also worth noting what several of the scholars who’ve weighed in have pointed out: this conspiracy is not something that dominates the field of Shakespeare studies. It is a distraction from real work. As entertaining as it sometimes is to spork a ridiculous fiction, I think we’ll all be quite pleased when the movie flops (as it’s reportedly doing), the hype dies down, and we can go back to arguing about the finer nuances of scansion, pedagogical technique, and the merits of Q1 Hamlet.

Blackfriars Conference 2011- Plenary Session VI

Hi, Deb Streusand here. This morning I’ll be liveblogging Plenary Session VI from 9 am to 10:15 am.

“Some by Stenography Drew the Plot”: An Experiment
William Proctor Williams, University of Akron

Williams begins by having A.J. Sclafani, Brian Falbo, Kim Maurice, and Michael Wagoner read two passages from Thomas Heywood’s If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody. This play was performed before August 1605, probably by Queen Anne’s Men. It was thereafter published in 5 editions in 8 years. Heywood’s later prologue, in the Eighth Quarto, recounts the play’s popularity and how some recorded it in by stenography, so that he now wishes to put it forth in correct form himself. The Eighth Quarto can therefore serve as a control text for comparison to the earlier Quartos, which reflect stenographic recording of performance. The actors read the corrected version of the same scenes they read earlier. Williams asks us to imagine that people are recording the two versions of the scene right now, to be published later.

[Edit: Apparently I misheard what Williams said about people recording the scene as it was performed during his presentation. In fact, two students from the Mary Baldwin MLitt/MFA program did record the scene at his request, and later in the day, Williams provided a handout with the original text, the transcription, and a collation of the differences.]

Did Hamlet Mean Country Matters?

Zachary Lesser, University of Pennsylvania

Lesser recounts several editors’ glosses on Hamlet’s joke about “country matters.” He asks whether, when Early Modern audiences heard these words, they actually perceived the pun we now hear in it. No major editor noted an obscene pun at this exact point in the text until Malone in 1790; previous editors had glossed the statement as a reference to the idea of country folk as crudely sexual. The exchange was cut from productions in the 18th and 19th century, but primarily because of the later punning on “nothing.” The Restoration Smock Alley Promptbook cut “nothing,” but not “country matters.” In the First Quarto, Hamlet says “contrary” rather than “country matters.” Lesser argues that scholars have wrenched their arguments to include the pun, but this distortion falsifies the history of the text and the experience of this moment. Looking at the texts in order of probable composition, Lesser argues that the Folio text expands this moment to clarify it, with Hamlet explaining the innocence of his question–“I mean, my head upon your lap.” In the First Quarto, Hamlet says “my head in your lap,” instead heightening the suggestion by specifying the body part. If there had been a sexual pun in “country matters,” such a process of clarification would not have been necessary. There is no indication of Shakespeare’s audience understanding those words to imply such a pun, and we should, therefore, “forget what our glosses have been assuring us.”

Speaking the Speeches: Speech Order and the Early Modern Performances of Hamlet
Matthew Vadnais, Ohio State University

Vadnais describes the division among scholars about whether
the longer texts of Hamlet could have been staged at full length. He draws attention to the question of whether the Second Quarto and Folio text would have been too hard to play at full length, particularly because of the use of cue scripts and the necessary speed of performance. He demonstrates that many lines end in the same or almost the same cues. He proposes, however, that like their First Quarto counterpart, the other texts were created to make performance easy. A.J. Sclafani, Brian Falbo, and Michael Wagoner perform the Second Quarto version of the conversation between Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern about Gertrude using cue scripts without actual cues, demonstrating that the speech order that gave clues to when the actors should speak. Another way of making things easier is to create two-player scenes or scenes with only two speakers. Vadnais uses the metaphor of a “speech stem” for situations in which several characters respond to a primary character, who knows that every speech will contain his next cue. Shakespeare’s plays provided the company with assistance in knowing when to speak. All three texts of Hamlet equally anticipate how they would have been performed on the Early Modern stage.

“Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel, nor make a sign…”
Lezlie Cross, University of Washington

Cross describes her conversations with Howie Seago, a deaf Shakespearean actor. She wants to reframe the term “Original Practices” to refer to a new practice, that is, Seago’s translation of Shakespeare’s plays into movements, a kinetic language. She cites Artaud referring to a language of movement that transcends the speech on stage. When playing the ghost in 2010 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seago could obscure his statements to his son even from the audience, so that they heard was what Hamlet chose to share. Seago’s script notes where he will voice the lines, as in “I am thy father’s spirit,” using his own “imperfect” voice to show the ghost’s difficulty in being present in this world. The audience saw Hamlet take possession of the knowledge and of his revenge. Seago transformed “list, list, o list” into signs meaning “look at me, look at me, look at me.” Both Shakespeare’s language and Seago’s sign language have similar metaphorical underpinnings, in opposition to common language. For “the serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown,” Seago transformed his sign language into a kinetic signification of the image. His method begins with a “translated” English text and finds ways to communicate the ideas through signs, making modifications according to factors such as the length of time that it takes to sign a line. “Seago’s work in translating Shakespeare’s text goes beyond mere translation,” transforming the text from one medium to another. Cross refers to this phenomenon as “kinetic textuality,” a term typically applied to digital artistic creations. Seago’s translations are still more kinetic, being no longer simply textual, but having instead become “meaning in motion.”

Jonson’s Breaches and the Typography of Action
Claire Bourne, University of Pennsylvania

Bourne argues that theatrical innovation prompted a textual innovation that allowed printed plays to develop into their own dramatic experience. Textual evidence suggests that these texts attempted to use punctuation in a way that allowed the reader to experience the dramatic in the printed text. Jonson described such punctuation, as used in his humor plays, as “breaches,” that is, markers of gaps in the dialogue. Bourne proposes that Jonson’s breaches not only allowed replication of the action, but made it possible to read the printed text in a way that makes dramatic sense on the page. In order to put the different theatrical and textual signs into the same visual field for her audience, Bourne has Wagoner, Sclafani, Maurice, and Falbo perform a portion from Cynthia’s Revels that is especially characterized by experimentation with punctuation, with dashes signaling non-verbal interruptions. They next perform a scene from Every Man Out of His Humour that uses dashes to signify self-interruptions, in this case by puffing on a pipe. The breaches signal moments that are vital to personation. Jonson’s Folio collection of his plays retains these experiments in using typography to convey non-verbal elements of the scene. Maurice and Sclafani perform a scene from Epicoene, or the Silent Woman, in which a character replies to conversation in non-verbal signs because of another character’s requirement that he do so, performing marginal text that states that the breaches refer to signs that responded to the dialogue. Bourne suggests that the breaches did not replace the action of performance, but preserved it for the page. The punctuation grew to symbolize all kinds of action, functioning as a recognizable invitation to notice non-verbal elements of the play.

Keeping Shakespeare Real by Using iPhones: or, Original Practices Shakespeare (There’s an app for that)
Joseph F. Stephenson, Amy Simpson Grubbs, and Adam Hester, Abilene Christian University

Stephenson states that they will discuss the 2010 Abilene Shakespeare Festival’s production of Othello, which was not actually intended to be Original Practices, but grew into some original practices as it formed. Hester, as director, wanted to find a way to engage with Bard-shy audience members, and decided to use technology to reach “beyond the proscenium,” by creating a blog that they updated throughout the show, including scene synopses, definitions, or comments about the action on stage. Audience members were able to post and read comments themselves, and the blog was flooded with them. Performers were also able to receive audience’s responses, and were heard walking offstage saying “what does the blog say?” By creating this intimacy, they argue that they were able to approach the closeness to the audience that is crucial to original practice, as well as a sense of play, and lighting (that of mobile devices) that made the audience visible. Stephenson quotes two piece of evidence about early modern performance and discusses their ambiguities and the complicated audience responses. He then cites some quotes from audience members responding to their production, including discussion of the play’s ambiguities. The blog also provides a permanent archive of audience responses, which would be useful for future research into audience response to Othello.

Question Time:

A questioner asks Cross about how American Sign Language deals with puns such as “country matters.” She talks about how Seago would probably try various movements to see how they landed with the audience.

Another questioner suggests that Cross do some work with Tommaso Salvini, who spoke only Italian but performed with an English-speaking company. Cross replies that she has not yet worked on Salvini, but she is working on Helena Madjeska, a 19th-century Polish actress who worked with American actors, including Edwin Booth, speaking Polish in response to their English on stage.

Another questioner asks about when “cunt” appears in the OED in the form we know it. Lesser cites a 13th century reference. The questioner asks if there is a possibility that this meaning of the word was active in the scene. Lesser says that what interests him is our absolute assurance that that meaning is in play at the moment he discusses.

Another questioner comments about Vadnais’ presentation, talking about cultural cues and discussing scribal adjustments to a text and to cues specifically.

Another questioner asks Cross about the difference between ASL and the sign language used in Britain, and what impact that would have on kinetic representation. Cross clarifies that Seago does not really use ASL, but mostly discovers movements that work to communicate, creating a new language for each production, which is very much keyed into the character that he is creating.

Another questioner asks Stephenson and Hester about how they dealt with the possibility of distraction from the technology. Hester describes the placement of technology users behind those who were watching without using technology. A different questioner wonders about what might have been lost with the technology users during the show. Hester describes the audience eagerness to see the next blog, and actors walking back to check the blog, which he did not always find useful. Stephenson argues that visual focus on the technology actually brought back the Early Modern tradition of “hearing” a play.

Another questioner asks Stephenson and Hester about the possibility of acquiring greater connection to young students through the use of technology. Hester describes the demographics of technology use, stating that the blog users were mostly under 30. He discusses how the technological elements gained greater acceptance from all age groups over the course of the run.

Kate O’Connell of Mary Baldwin College moderates this session.

Imprimis: Links and Tidbits – 24 June 2011

Just a few links for you this week, with a focus on the idea of what Shakespeare continues to mean and what appeal his plays continue to have in modern society.

  • A blog post asks “Do we stage too much Shakespeare?” Or, rather, are theatres staging the same few plays too many times? Cass says: Not a problem at the Blackfriars Playhouse, given how many near-unknown (outside of academic circles, at least) plays we revive each year. Who’s ready for Tamburlaine the Great this fall?
  • From London, we have some more information on Shakespeare’s prominent place in the Cultural Olympiad of 2012. Celebrations will include televised versions of the plays, a series of plays staged by foreign companies at the Globe, and a two-part documentary by Simon Schama. With some wondering why Shakespeare takes so much precedence as England’s cultural ambassador (over others like Dickens, Austen, Chaucer, or the Bronte sisters), Schama says first that Shakespeare has a more universal, less-Angleophilic appeal than many post-Industrial authors, and that unlike Middle English authors like Chaucer, “The amazing thing about Shakespeare is that if you actually deliver Hamlet, or Romeo and Juliet, to teenagers they actually do get the language.”
  • Our Director of Mission Ralph Alan Cohen gave a radio interview yesterday with WOSU in Columbus, Ohio on the enduring appeal of Shakespeare in modern life. Dr. Cohen discusses the interplay between actor and audience that Shakespeare and other early modern authors offer — the interaction which makes theatre a fundamentally different form of art than movies.
  • Our college prep theatre camp started up this week — If you want to follow along with their activities, check out the ASCTC Blog, and come out to see their final performances on July 10th.

Shakespearean March Madness: Our Champion

After over a month of voting and debate, after five rounds of combat, our initial 32 competitors have left only one standing:

Queen Margaret, the she-wolf of France, the tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide, reigns supreme over all Shakespearean combatants.

In a stunningly close final match, Margaret and Henry went blow-for-blow all weekend. For a while it looked as though Henry just might pull victory out of his back pocket, but Margaret got a powerful second wind yesterday. In the end, she won over Henry 27-23, demonstrating the tenacity and ruthlessness that sees her through four plays and decades of war. Margaret demonstrated no mercy throughout the tournament, mowing down Hermia, garroting Goneril, outwitting Iago, and enacting sweet revenge on “that valiant crookback prodigy,” Richard III. The readers have spoken, and you think Margaret is the toughest, roughest dame in the house.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the polls and discussions during the past month! This tournament has been so enjoyable to operate, and I hope you’ve all had as much of a good time as I have. I think next year I’ll start taking nominations for the brackets in February to see if you’d like some new blood in the mix.

Shakespearean March Madness: Final Match

This is it, folks — the final round of Shakespearean March Madness, the battle for ultimate supremacy. How did the Final Four turn out? Queen Margaret, after a bloody, vicious battle — and this one went back and forth for days, believe me, they really traded blow for blow — eventually gets the drop on Richard III and takes a 26-20 victory over her arch nemesis. Henry V had an easier win over Titus Andronicus (29-14), using his superior battlefield knowledge, his cooler head, and his supreme capability for delivering inspiring speeches to spur his troops to victory.

Final Match: Queen Margaret vs Henry V

Who is Shakespeare’s ultimate fighting champion?

  • Queen Margaret
  • Henry V

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This poll will remain open until Monday, when we will crown the winner of our Shakespearean March Madness tournament. Let the game begin!

Shakespearean March Madness: The Final Four

Ladies and gentlemen, we are down to our last four competitors, and it’s quite a set. From the quarterfinal matches: Richard III, by now quite used to dealing with manipulative females, takes out Lady Macbeth, 38-22. On the other hand, clever and ruthless Queen Margaret outwits Iago, 34-20. Titus Andronicus just barely managed to edge out in front of Prospero, taking a late-game 27-22 victory, while Henry V won handily over Macbeth (39-6) — not a good day for Scotland. These results give us our Final Four: Richard III, Queen Margaret, Titus Andronicus, and Henry V.

Semifinal 1: Richard III vs Queen Margaret

Who wins the battle?

  • Richard III
  • Queen Margaret

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Semifinal 2: Titus Andronicus vs Henry V

Who wins the battle?

  • Titus Andronicus
  • Henry V

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So we have a grudge rematch and a battle between two legendary generals. Tough calls all around, but I’m going with Margaret and Henry. This is the opportunity for vengeance that Margaret’s been waiting for, and I think she’ll make the most of it. As for Henry, I think he’s just plain got more staying power than Titus. That English longbow will do for the legions, and Henry can outwit and outmaneuver Titus on the leadership side.

Who do you think deserves to move on to the finals? Vote and discuss your choices! These polls will be open till Thursday — a shorter time frame, so make your decision and stand up for your chosen competitor soon.

Shakespearean March Madness: Quarterfinals, Part 2

Winnowing the field even further, I present the results of the Round of Sixteen, Part 2: Titus Andronicus takes out Joan of Arc with Roman efficiency (35-19). Somehow, Prospero manages to edge out Hotspur in one of our closest matches so far, 25-23. Maybe he revived Glendower and called in some extra magical aid. In our battle of the heroes, the good Macduff falls to the military prowess of Henry V (33-17). Finally, Macbeth, Bellona’s bridegroom, takes the victory over Coriolanus (35-14). These victories give us the final two matches of the Quarterfinals:

Quarterfinal 3: Titus Andronicus vs Prospero

Who wins the battle?

  • Titus Andronicus
  • Prospero

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Quarterfinal 4: Henry V vs Macbeth

Who wins the battle?

  • Henry V
  • Macbeth

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My picks: Titus and Hal. I think there’s no contest in Quarterfinal 3, but then I’ve thought Prospero should’ve been out since Round 1. Some of you who keep voting for him need to tell me why I should think better of his combat skills than I do. However much of a Cinderella story he’s been so far, I think his time is up. Sarah is telling me that he has grace and shows mercy, which makes him a better person than Titus, sure, but that isn’t going to protect him against a ruthless, half-mad killer. Titus goes for the throat whereas Prospero pulls his punches, however magical those punches may be, and at this stage in the game, it’s time to go for the jugular. Henry versus Macbeth is a bit tougher for me, because these are both heavyweight hitters. Ultimately, though, I pick Henry V, because while Macbeth is great when it comes to subterfuge and sneaking around, Hal’s spent his share of time skulking about in the dark as well, so I don’t think Macbeth would be able to use the cover of darkness to get the drop on him — and when it comes to pitching open battle in the light of day, no one does it better than the hero-king.

Think I’m wrong? Tell me why! These polls will be open until Tuesday, and you still have until Monday to vote on Richard vs Lady Macbeth and Iago vs Margaret. Help decide who advances to the Final Four, and who pays the ultimate price for failure.

Shakespearean March Madness: Quarterfinals, Part 1

The contestants are falling fast and furious now, readers. From the first part of the Round of Sixteen: Richard III outwits the mischievous Puck, although our merry wanderer of the night makes a decent fight of it (48-37). I’ll warrant that mis-shapen Dick wasn’t counting on so much spirit from the sprite. Antony, on the other hand, hardly presents a challenge at all for Lady Macbeth, whose wiles and determination make a quick end of him (63-13). In the battle of the self-admitted villains, Iago takes the edge over Edmund (50-30). We can only assume Edmund got trapped up in some family drama and lost his concentration. Finally, for the catfight, Queen Margaret puts an end to Goneril’s ambitions (47-24). There’s only going to be one queen of this isle, and if Margaret has anything to say about it, she’ll be French. These results leave us with our first quarterfinal matches:

Quarterfinal 1: Richard III vs Lady Macbeth

Who wins the battle?

  • Richard III
  • Lady Macbeth

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Quarterfinal 2: Iago vs Queen Margaret

Who wins the battle?

  • Iago
  • Queen Margaret

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We’ve winnowed out the weaklings, and we’re left with some really fierce competitors. Any of these four deserve to move on, ruthless, conniving, bloodthirsty schemers all. Ultimately, though, I’m going to take a stand for my gender and root for both of the ladies.

These polls will stay open until Monday, when I’ll announce our first semi-finalists. You still have until Thursday to vote on the Round of Sixteen, Part 2.