¶ Back in August, I published a blogroll focusing on a series of Shakespeare-related news events. They happen, but not typically in quite such a bunch…so I thought. In the last six months, there has been a bevy of new news items in the world of Shakespeare (and adjacent) Studies. Interestingly, perhaps even tellingly, they all have to do with playing with others.
This was an exceptional year personally, professionally, and publicly. We had a rocky election. The Shakespeare community had debate with the (still-ongoing) #1Lear debate and the discovery of a square Curtain theatre. I got a tenure-track job and moved to a recognizable coast. I find myself, as we close on final exams and essays, reflecting on my favorite posts here on Bite Thumbnails this year.
This student approach to Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, a block-buster of the late 1580s and ’90s, came up with what I felt was a brilliant approach to the Seven Deadly Sins interlude. In particular, the treatment of Mephistopheles and Wagner popped a few new questions open for me in terms of the characterization of Faustus, and to what degree the play anticipates our emphasizing with him.
Because Shakespeare films are few and far between, it was nice to get a chance to review this limited-release film chocker-block full of talent. While only about a third of the Shakespeare text was used in the film, it was an interesting interpretation, situating PTSD into a feudal Scottish setting without valorizing bloodshed.
By attending the Blackfriars by Southwest conference, I had a chance to catch a play in a quirky recreated-Globe setting on a riverbank in Austin. Something between a national park hike and Medieval Times™, Audiences were convivial, comfortable, and I suspect feel less of the pressure to perform a kind of learned, conscientious, and attentive set of behaviors linked with high art.
Last winter I reflected on the job-market process—a particularly arduous process that cycles once a year and puts one in a place where you don’t know if you will continue in your study that took on average six year to master. If you do, there is no guessing where you will end up geographically. A number of folks have found this post useful, so I include it here as one of your favorites.
I saw a number of performances that either didn’t make it onto the blog due to the new semester at a new job (A Civil War Christmas, Parfumerie, Little Shop of Horrors, Hold These Truths, The Good Woman of Setzuan, The Oregon Trail) or have been published elsewhere (Coriolanus,Love’s Labour’s Lost and I, Malvolio). I am looking forward to seeing more of what the Portland area has to offer and sharing my thoughts.