¶ Dear readers,
¶ After the 400th anniversary celebrations, one would assume it likely that Shakespeare performances might wane. After all, we did have the Cultural Olympiad, featuring the World Shakespeare Festival, as part of the London 2012 Olympics. In 2016, there were an incredible number of events across the globe, including world tours and major city initiatives (such as the Chicago City Desk project), that staged unprecedented cycles of Shakespeare originals and adaptations. It would seem, however, that this glut of Shakespeare has stabilized an appetite for productions rather than causing audiences to be surfeit. Lucky, lucky me.
¶ I have now had a year to get a sense of the Shakespeare landscape here in the Pacific Northwest, with the help of some friends—most notably, Linfield professor and regular New Yorker contributor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner. Oregon is a hub for Shakespeare due to its award-winning regional festival in Ashland. The Henry IV plays they are running this summer are something special, by virtue of the ensemble, the lead Daniel Jose Molina, and the thoughtful direction by Lileana Blain-Cruz. If the five-hour drive and ticket prices are a deterrent for you, do not fear: there are a number of interesting Shakespeare events closer to the Columbia this summer.
Continue reading “June Blogroll: PDX Summer Shakespeares Edition”
As I think I have mentioned previously, last spring I was fortunate enough to spend some time in England and Italy on a Mellon fellowship related to my research. I stayed a few extra weeks to do additional sight-seeing with my mother and grandmother. Mom is a high school English teacher, so Stratford-Upon-Avon was a must; hence the photo above. This month, I wanted to share the resources to which I regularly turn when on the road but in need of Shakespeare’s primary texts. Naturally these are digital in nature, but each lends itself to a specific context. I’ve included screenshots of the first page of The Tempest in each for the sake of comparison (click on them for a larger version of the image).
- Open Source Shakespeare: As perhaps the penultimate DH experiment that is eminently, well, open-source in nature, this is the site I go to first. Sometimes while listening at a conference there is a passing phrase I want to check, or do a word-count or cross-reference to the rest of the canon against contemporary plays. The power here is in the clarity of the interface and its search-ability: by play, genre, part, date, and of course discrete terms. It is a very short step from being deployable for topic modeling, for which I hope it will evolve. You can add a search box to your browser and the site is mobile-optimized: just click here.
- Shakespeare Pro for iPhone and iPad: These apps I regularly use while literally on the move—in a car or on the Amtrak headed to Chicago. I don’t recommend them for reading a play in its entirety, nor to do extensive searching, but you can do piece-meal versions of both with this app. As a researcher, often I need to be refreshed on a particular scene, need to see the rhetorical context of a specific moment, or trace the movements of a speech as a whole. I’ve seen more than one interview with Sir Patrick Stewart online in which he references turning to his cellphone for similar reasons. Learn more about the apps here.
- Folger Digital Texts: This is perhaps the most rigorous online format for actually reading the plays in a multimodal way. There is the text, searchable, with readings and other interactive elements beautifully designed. Because the site is developed by Folger, it retains the mansplain-y element of summaries and synopsis in a left-hand column, mirroring their print editions of Shakespeare. I don’t use Folger editions to teach specifically because of this feature, though I know many that do. In either case, the digital environment here makes for a beautiful reading experience geared towards the classroom.