Imprimis: Links and Tidbits, 19 November 2010

A lot of education-oriented links this week, along with some items that are just good for a laugh.

  • Kevin J. Costa from the Folger talks about the thin line between teaching Shakespeare and directing it. Cass says: This shared skill set is something we’ve been trying to bring more to the forefront in our new study guides. It helps bring the plays to life so much more if the teacher can think like a director, moving the students through the action of the play rather than just talking about it. We know that trying to be a director can be a fear-inducing thing for some teachers, so we give the teachers the tools and the language to work like one.
  • The Kennedy Center has launched a new, interactive site for students. Sarah says: This one relates events/people to Shakespeare’s work in a new way. The site also provides some interesting videos.
  • A survey of job-related websites has ranked teaching as the fifth most stressful occupation, right behind combat soldiers, air traffic controllers, firemen, and coal miners.
  • Dan Rebellato at blog on The Guardian asks “What’s so wrong with proscenium arch theatre?”, and Stanley Wells, after asking “To thrust or not to thrust?“, also backs up Rebellato. Cass says: It isn’t that there’s anything inherently wrong with proscenium theatres in general. It’s just that they seem less effective for early modern theatre, since proscenium arches don’t provide the conditions that early modern plays were written for. The opposite holds true as well, I think. Most Broadway musicals would never work on a small thrust stage like ours, for instance, and many new plays rely heavily on technological advances to tell their stories (I’m thinking of Closer, which requires being able to see an instant messaging conversation on-screen). There’s probably a larger blog entry in here for me, really, since this topic is so near and dear to the hearts of those of us at the OCS. I think the arguments against proscenium arches that others seem to be giving Rebellato miss the mark, and it’s certainly not like you can’t watch an excellent production with excellent performances on a proscenium stage, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still drawbacks to that style, especially where early modern plays are concerned.
  • And now, for some shameless self-promotion: an article from Hood College, written by a student who came to see Othello, and one about the literary society from Randolph-Macon College coming to see The Taming of the Shrew. We’re so glad that these students had such positive experiences at the Blackfriars Playhouse, and we hope they’ll come back again soon.
  • MBC MLitt/MFA candidate and OCS employee Shannon Schultz has started a blog, More Things in Heaven and Earth, which will begin by chronicling her experiences directing an all-male production of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Finally, if your day needs a laugh, check out what would happen if Shakespearean characters posted on Craigslist.

Imprimis will be off next week for the holiday, so look for an extra-big listing on December 3rd.