Shakespeare Association of America Annual Conference 2015, Day One

Well, Day One of Shakespeare Association of America Annual Conference 2015 is in the books.

Although I won’t know how many people are attending the conference until at least later today at the keynote (or “Plenary Session” as they call it), there does seem to a boatload of folks here, mostly PhD’s and PhD candidates, with a few “independents” like myself.

The two-hour sessions center around a topic, with the members of the session discussing the papers presented by them. Other attendees (the “auditors”) can site on the outskirts of the table and listen in and read the abstracts.

I attended two sessions yesterday, “Playhouses and Early Modern Playing Venues” and “Broadcast Your Shakespeare.” Both started slowly, so much so that I had to wonder if I had picked the wrong session to go to (there’s at least 20 going on at any given time), but each finished strong.

The first one had papers that discussed subjects from the Red Bull Theater to modern re-creations of theaters to the use of stools on stage for special audience members. Fascinating stuff, no less so because the panel included Dr. Ralph, Ralph Cohen of the American Shakespeare Center.  Yes, I’m a fanboy… I listen to his always interesting podcasts.

I then checked out the Digital Salon that showcased some Shakespeare -related technology projects. Very cool stuff here, and I hope that I’ll find the time to discuss those deeper.

The afternoon was spent at the “Broadcast Your Shakespeare” session that discussed, among other subjects, the use of phonograph records to teach Shakespeare in the early 20th century, Orson Welles, Zombie Shakespeare, Juliet on Tumblr, relating Shakespeare to video games, and the “hipster”‘s role in conserving Shakespeare on YouTube. I really liked this session by the end.

Then I hit the DANGER ZONE… to book exhibit room. Three books and $40 later (I think I escaped pretty much unscathed), I headed by to my hotel room, exhausted.

More reports tomorrow!

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