Monday, September 20, 2010

In the throes

I am just beginning my fourth week of classes.  It's hard not to feel overwhelmed, but that's what I'm told the grad school experience is all about.

I'll be doing an oral presentation for Intro to the Profession tomorrow, which I'm really excited about.  A prospectus is also due for our semester project -- see my previous post about the Bookend Project.  I also am officially on the schedule as of tomorrow for the Writing Center and I have two appointments already scheduled.

For Wednesday, we are finishing Adam Bede in my George Eliot class.  We have a short paper due the following week, and I need to wrap my thoughts around that.  I would really like to put GE in conversation with Shakespeare's Hamlet -- holding the mirror up to nature.  There's a lot of mirror imagery in Adam Bede and also a concern for naming things in the novel as well as in her journals and essays.  I'm thinking there's something worth investigating there.

For my Comp Theory project, I'm doing some research on performance studies.  I'm thinking more about the syllabus/sequence idea, and how to incorporate performance in a classroom pedagogy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


New thoughts today on The Tempest project for Intro to the Profession.  Since we are producing Titus Andronicus this spring for the RAW, I am really excited at the notion of working on a project for this course that also feeds the RAW Project.  Considering both these plays as variations of the revenge play and also considering their relative positions at the beginning and end of the canon, I think there's a really interesting conversation going on between these plays.  (And certainly with all the plays in between these plays, but that's going to be a bit much to consider for this particular project.)

I'm working on a prospectus for this Bookend Project.  (I'm liking this title.)

Other things of note will be the 2011 Season announcement to the board tomorrow.  I need to do a press release for that and also have some grants to work on, due quite soon.  To manage this with my schoolwork is more than a little daunting.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New beginnings

There's something about a brand new start that always inspires me to write or document what my journey is going to be. Starting my graduate studies is no different, I suppose. I've also been inspired by one of my courses, Composition Theory and the Teaching of Writing, to consider new media (ie, this blog) as a good outlet for such writing. Strange that I haven't thought of this before? Perhaps.
I'm hopeful this will end up being a useful tool for conversation with other students, colleagues, artists, professors, whomever. In these beginning stages, however, perhaps a short introduction will be best.
I am beginning my first semester as a DA (Doctor of Arts) Fellow in the English Department at St. John's University. After being in the "real world" for last five or six years, it's a difficult transition but a really exciting and challenging one. In the years since I graduated from Muhlenberg College, I've pursued a career in classical acting and helped to form the Adirondack Shakespeare Company, of which I'm the Artistic Director. It's my dream job and my pursuit of the elusive title of "Dr. Shakespeare" is to help me tackle all the aspects of this dream job.
Our company is in the beginning stages of a long term project called Shakespeare IN THE RAW in which we're tackling the canon of Shakespeare in (approximate) order. We do the plays uncut, with a small company of actors, few costume pieces, props, and shortened rehearsal time. The idea is to energize the performance and throw focus to the text of each play -- in THE RAW, there's not much else for an actor to rely on except the words they are speaking. I'm planning to continue this project as part of my graduate research.
I'm also interested in playing with gender and casting. We do a lot of cross-gender casting, where a female actor plays a male character -- but she plays this character as a man. And vice versa. We have not attempted this yet with the leading roles in the canon yet, and I'm curious to see what happens when we try this in MacbethAntony and CleopatraOthello, etc.
This semester, I don't know how much I'll be able to focus on these particular projects yet. I'll be studying The Tempest in my Introduction to the Profession course. I'd really like to find a project for this course to tie into our second season of shows: Henry VMidsummer, and Merchant. Or into our next RAW, which will be Titus.
I am also taking a Composition Theory/Teaching of Writing course, in which I also have a semester-long project to consider. There's quite a bit of freedom with this project, so I'm throwing around ideas of working on a paper for a conference, or possibly working towards creating a syllabus for when I'll begin teaching a composition class next semester.
That seems enough of an introduction for now.
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