Shakespeare Association of America Annual Conference 2015, Day Three

Yesterday, I recapped Day Two of Shakespeare Association of America Annual Conference 2015. And today I’ll wrap up the conference with Day Three.

In the morning, I participated in the three-hour teacher workshop, “Unpacking Shakespeare’s Toolbox: Wordcraft and Stagecraft for the Classroom.” oh, man. This was the best thing in the entire conference as far as I’m concerned, even better than yesterday’s Plenary Session.

Leading the first half was Bard on the Beach’s Education Director Mary Hartman, who led us through some wonderful play. And this is the key for education. As they pointed out, as a playwright, Shakespeare wrote plays for players to perform in playhouses. It wasn’t until the 18th century that we began to talk about the “Complete Works of Shakespeare.” We have lost the sense of play in school. I knew this going in, but having it presented in this was was just a total paradigm shift. Hartman got us up and on our feet and playing… playing with our bodies, our voices, our minds. Just wonderful.

The second half was with folks from the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia. And if you’ve read me closely lately, you know that I’m a big fan of “Dr.” Ralph Cohen. He brought with him Sarah Enloe and Cass Morris from the Center, and we spent the rest of the morning talking about how to present the words to students. There are so many different ways to do this, and I was reminded of a few that I had forgotten about in the loooooong decades since leaving the classroom (the use of prompt scripts), and learned a few new ones (strategies for breaking up the lines and playing–again playing–with rhetorical devices). I can’t wait to share these activities… needless to say I’m going to be adding to and changing future presentations.

I know two short paragraphs can’t possibly show how much I loved this session or just how fun, cool, and enlightening the session was, but trust me it was.

And the reason why it’s only two short paragraphs is that in the second half of the workshop, I could feel something coming on… chills and body aches. I had felt chills and aches yesterday, but powered through it for the most part. Today, not so much.

In fact, I felt so poorly that I skipped the last two sessions of the day, two that I had circled as being central to my reason for attending the conference. One was on how to get published (I was able to pick up the handout for that session before I headed back to my hotel room and slept for two straight hours). The other was on “Shakespeare and Film Form.” And you know how much I absolutely love film. But instead of making that session, I’m in bed right now keying in this entry. I’ll be lucky to get out of bed to grab something to eat tonight.

Tonight, there’s a reception and a dance. When I arrived here on Wednesday, I wasn’t so sure I was going to do either, but now on Saturday, it’s a definite no.

What’s a definite yes?

Attending next year’s conference in New Orleans. My goal is to shake off any sense of intellectual inferiority and submit a paper for next year’s conference in New Orleans, and and then write a paper good enough to be selected for a session panel for the 2017 conference in Atlanta.

2 Replies to “Shakespeare Association of America Annual Conference 2015, Day Three”

  1. First, I commend your covereage of the Shakespeare Assoc.’s conference which continues to fail at providing online references and abstracts, so the public could feel somewhat invited to read what was discussed. The coverage of the event remains subpar.

    I am an Oxfordian who loves Shakespeare, and feel encouraged to see the review of specifically “politically correct” theory – namely, like calling Shakespeare a playwright, followed up by declarations of his motives for composition as simply reinforcement for recognizing players or developing public burlesque theatres.

    This contemporary posture of laying out seemingly “scientific” assumptions, e.g., Shakespeare: playwright, have created confusion about how to understand Shakespeare. He was, as citations already prove, first, a great poet, second, a writer of plays in manuscript form of nearly perfect prosody which debuted in front of the crown. He created masterpieces. Not duds. The First Folio deliberately omitted his poetry, which reverted Shakespeare into just a playwright, and – as the title of one SAA workshop indicates – numerous plays were added to the Folio that Shakespeare did not write, but they obviously benefit from the Shakespeare branding.

    1. Greg,

      you gotta love good branding…. 😉

      Seriously, though, the authorship question is one that has never really interested me. For me, it’s less about the man, and more about the body of work. Don’t get me wrong, I know you can’t have words without the man, but that question has just never floated my boat.

      Were you in Vancouver? If so, were there any sessions you felt were excellent, “subpar,” or a complete waste of time?

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