Good afternoon! This is Tiffany Waters for the last time at the Blackfriars Conference 2017 detailing the Colloquy Session on Adaptation at the R.R. Smith Center Lecture Hall moderated by Celestine Woo with actors Jessi Scott and David Meldman of the Mary Baldwin University Shakespeare and Performance Program.
Woo begins with introductions from the speakers. The presenters are divided into two groups, with the first using actors. After breaking off into groups and discussing their papers, the groups come back together.
4.) Moving on to her group, Woo: anthology weird tales from Shakespeare anthology Shakespeare themed sci-fi-fi stories. works with this book. romanticist by training. Jimmy uses Vice Principles and David uses West World. Issues include what counts as adaptation? taxonimize rhetorical strategies in adaptation. jazz riff for verse? adaptation most meaningful when actively imagines questions from WS play and critique. Want o move beyond plot and character in adaptation. leans into biography of WS. to dethrone Shakespeare places him on canonical pedastool. Co-presenters jimmy and David. Jimmy speaks: argue interested in text that adapt Othello beyond plot and character. speech famously collapsed in repetitive babbling. vice principles Rodrigo character speaks like that and makes claim to adaptation in that way. uses rhetoric for adaptive link in world. by making Othello into a comedy that is adapting the genre play that is tragedy, “supposed to be comic?” closest we will come to see language verses in play so closely aligned with racism in our current moment. language of white supremacist mvmt. recognize moment faithful to language of Shakespeare but not definitive if it is faithful to lines or white supremacy. happy to take more questions. informal presentation. David: West World. sci-fi natural descendent of Westerns in many ways. concern with occupying seemingly unoccupied space, conquest, manifest destiny, creating the old civilization. why we see a lot of sci-fi-fi westerns like Wynonna Earp and West World. manifest destiny geographic boundaries of theme park. think about it in terms of human consciousness and what humanity actually is. how does that consciousness work in west world? characters triggered by Shakespearean quotes. show feels influence by tempest. Robert Ford Prospero like character who exploits others in slave like to reconstitute identity. engages with gender and bodies in tempest in unique ways by positing idea that Ford by the end who seems like a villainous character comes across as a savior. uses exploitation of gender and race bodies to push them to limits of manifest destiny in sense of human consciousness to liberate them. what to do at political moment? not sure yet new show. started as sci-fi-westerrn with Shakespearean riffs and mid way through became documentary now in Trumpian-era. white authoritarian figure exploited gender and race bodies. Woo: back to anthology. one of many things that intrigues is collects stories from different authors some famous some not, it has a quasi-scholar critical apparatus. intro by Catherine Kur: cracks jokes at tones of criticism of Shakespeare out there. Menaechmi: cracks joke about the guy who wrote it (Plautus) compares Shakespeare scholar to Trekkies. Woo is trying to disseminate the strategies that these authors use to create these adaptations. some anthologies are adaptations through linguistics, some using recognizable shakespearean lines, plot line adaptation, merging of genres ex/ vampiric R&J, Shakespeare seen as ultimate human defined in various ways specifically people who travel between planets in future and someone discovers that in every culture there is a Shakespeare. What does it mean to universalize Shakespeare? Ends reading part of a Tempest adaptation. story about Miranda who leave for a man but comes back for Caliban. whole story is metrical, arguably iambic.
Jimmy Midlen works in Cleveland history and adaptation
David McAvoy Miami U regionals work focuses on cultural studies and use of culture in relation to Shakespeare and adaptation
Jess Hamlet U of AL. 19th century wartime studies of Shakespeare. paper on novels in 19th cent.
1.) Ashley Pierce: Penn State. focuses on actor gender in Shakespeare and casting practices. MLitt thesis on regendering Shakespeare. Has put into practice with preteens because gender fluid age group. Near and dear to heart and prevalent in theatre currently. Using Jessi and David. Identifies as performer. Two Genders Both Alike in Dignity: The Rendering of Three of Shakespeare’s Villains. What makes a villain? Tybalt, Shylock, Iago. Casting practices: cross gender casting, gives definition. Moves on to definition of re-gendering moves to gender of performer playing role. Of particular interest to women working in Shakespeare. why is this so against what we are allowed to do? Not saying it should, but why is this option never considered? villains had least amount of re-gendered history most controversial was Shylock. Most people will argue about definition of villain. someone who was willing to kills someone else for own means at the end of play. Reading first monologues as themselves. audience reaction of practice is what helped worked. how does audience feel or think about what is seen? David starts the presentation . Play how you think it should be played as your gender. Reads Iago. “how am I then the villain” speech. Male Iago is what we typically see. Jesi then reads same monologue playing to her gender. She uses her high voice in delivery of it. Wanted to give idea of what could happen through demonstration.
5.) Molly Seremet visiting guest faculty. Director and theatre maker. cyborg theatre and in Shakespeare. As trio, all do Shakespeare without Shakespeare not concerned about preserving integrity of text. methods of removal are unique and group will individually focus on that. what can Shakespeare sound like when it speaks for itself. focusing closely on their work on Hamlet today. Jess: when they were talking earlier this week Molly mentioned Shakespeare without Shakespeare. Hamlet without Hamlet popped into Jess’ mind. popular 19th century phrase when something weird of ineffective happens. writing about new Confederate flag, new states of America to articulate, lacks distinction its Hamlet without Hamlet. 3 weeks ago found phrase again at end o f5 hour session of parliamentary debate what should do in response to Indian mutiny, at end call for vote said this has been Hamlet without Hamlet. be better. Jess has worked over the last year on 19th cent novels that are using Shakes paratextually. Confessions of ? 1839 3 vol novel. standard novel Victorian model. British India before mutiny following fictional thug that has so many layers of narrative mediation stories accounted to reader through English speaker narrator who does not interject own voice very often translating for a character speaking Hindi. Middle of narrative expectation is a break chapter 25 is headed with HAmlet’s elegy to his father which is followed by lengthy interjection of English narrator who gives physical description of the man he is translating for. at this place how does it influence questions of story> morality tale of adventure? does this interjection of Hamlet change it to dramatic soliloquy? Does this create dramatic tension that manipulates genre? questions struggling with not yet answer.
Merlyn: NB AS you Like IT 10 women not ross gendering one hour. wrote a new work. stolen and recontextualized text from Shakespeare, will smith lines, and own writings. using existing Shakespeare characters she wrote her own plot outline with lines in mind, patched worked in Shakespeare lines to fill spaces. features lines from 20 plays an 50 characters shared between 8 females. mostly Hamlet lines. Many actors at College of ST Mary most of their first experience. able to work through langauge without 400 year old sociopolitical ideas. say famous lines without anxiety. This is the play that is being performed tonight. conflict now between performers knowledge of course material and re-contextualizaion with scholars who know it. does the format have any benefit? educational benefit of this form?
Molly: surface of one meter wooden table top. focusing on uncanny ways reduced performance oeramters and object actors function, reduced Shakespeare’s stage is literally set as objects. cyborg potential of objects. each 36 plays is 45-60 minutes feat. complete arc of Olay with household objects and one performer, can unlock life between objects. anthropomorphizing objects just allowed to be. characters come alive by occupying the space. the work is not: consider 1.2 Hamlet with objects pressed in to serve as humanized objects. uses lemon for Hamlet “citrus flesh would melt” objects are peppered and taking on human behaviors. used household kitchen materials. to correct this, using object grammar, not a recreation of table top Hamlet but further adaptation with her won practice. will discuss in more detail over beer, flips hamlet. doesn’t need face. Molly tells story of Hamlet in third person narration, reveals thoughts of Hamlet. rethink the way we decide what constitutes as shakespearean performance. shift scale of performance inside of theatrical practice. human narrative in object bodies and small space to question humanity at the root of Shakespeare’s play. objects people and people objects. expands ideas of what character is.
Merlyn Sell: Dakota playwright. graduate of MFA program. blame or credit for tonight’s production
3.) Amy Bolis: PHD candidate U of MN dissertation adaptations of Othello in US. Othello the Remix focus
cut down paper lots for presentation. invites for questions after. most sets up text under examination. argument making in paper without a lot of evidence due to time constraints.
the black male body: title of paper. Olympics in London: 37 international playing companies in Globe: Londons culture diversity and Shakespeare’s universality united by common interests. 90 min musical all male class. Q brothers. comp allusions. hip hop version of Othello that follows rappers in21st cent America. 5 person ensemble. theatrical debut not end of play circulation, positive reception. represented Untied States and deemed on of Globes greatest receptions. then toured through Europe, Asia, Middle East, Australia. extensive journey along with favorable reception of audience testament to see past comedy and looks at ideology that it perpetuates. critically and globally acclaimed. popularity with general public alarming because perpetuation of stereotypes. Othello hyper masculine and dangerous to perpetuate ideas of the black masculine Body. physical absence of Des. Othello alien at end of play. creators discomfort in tragedy. all actors doubled as female characters except Othello which lent itself to comedic effect. stage violence: only Othello’s violence was threatening. everything else was highly stylized. Othello aggressive. biggest issue with production Des as disembodied voice. she only sings in decorative oooo and aaahhhh. no exchanges between these characters denies us of their tender relationship. Othello is highlighted by his hyper masculine nature. “an alien from another plant part of an ET race” problematic. Previously MAAN and CoE. Globe approached them and asked them to do Othello. Maybe less comfortable or familiar with tragedy? talking with aimed to use comedy of play. Missed opp. of social commentary. Conclusion: might argue unfair to critique for negativity. reducing problematic issues of Othello. apataiton maintains racial isolation he is still representative of entire population onstage. how do you we resolve racial insensitivity in adaptations of Othello? American contribution to Global festival. Responsibiliy to handle issues of race with care as a representative. why not hold them accountable? popularity of production suggests we can’t ignore racial stereotypes? can this be done? don’t know. better than this? absolutely.
2.) Madeleine Buttitta recent grad, paper focuses on apdatations focused on regendering in tempest. Maddies focuses on a female Caliban. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions after. Timing herself as the SM in her. 1984 contemporary. Indian poets introduce Caliban with female pronouns. through adaptation as female she her invigorates a new identity. lesbian Caliban because of relationship with Miranda. mostly male Tempest. performativity of gender of what is or is not savage is called into question. aims to answer effect of gender in Shakespeare’s tempest. re-gendered character: what is to learn form female Caliban? text defined as male by Shakespeare and depictions. female is not default but exception and require explanation. how does this exist within and outside character? poem sequence: 48 instances of feminine traits of Caliban vs Miranda 18. native human like and savage invader. Caliban’s connection to island is most interconenctive tissue of a character. female actor interview relayed similar sentiments. physicality of character drives decision. used lower register for earthly not gendered. rock. influenced by physical and natural world low to the ground. more about lost of humanity and less about gender in actor opinion. focus is on natural world for sense of greater humanity. gender research: identifying performative acts of traditional gender (actor) “not a stable identity”. questions: why couldn’t there be a female? what could this bring to literature or production? how would it change the story of the tempest?
Opens conversation among presenters. Jess asks Molly about her focus of Q1 Hamlet and why? As performer it is the most perforable because emphasis on connection to characters and fast pace. in working with objects it provides delightful paradox: the more human a text is the more active and connected the characters are and the easier it is to replace them with objects. Shakespeare Retold BBC: four short films that are modernized Shakespeare read some negative reviews: any story with a man and woman who conspire to kill authority figure is not necessarily an adaptation of Macbeth. Woo brings up bedrock talk that she saw this morning. During monologue. she was thinking about this in monalogous lines. Considering how Iago as lady they’ll fall into sex trap of women and David falls into manipulation. Jessi wants to show a woman who understands why Iago makes these choices. consideration of villainy of a masculine thing and femininity as creative instead of constructive. (?) women “unsex me here”. Ashley comments that she staged three of the productions using pieces of work from all three of these different characters. Iago uses her body instead of her mind.
Concludes session, invites others to stay and talk since no other commitments. Mike Jensen has announcement: recently appointed as general editor of recreational Shakespeare series of books. new series. nothing to show yet. interested to sell more books to see how ti si defined. they think it is defined by 1.) recreation of Shakespeares text. creating responses to Shakespeare text in a performative medium. 2.) recreational: people willing to spend money and leisure enjoying the recreations in any medium. (TV, books, stage, etc.) Invites to talk about ideas for books with editor for this series. ADAPTATION!!!
Last comment from Patrick Harris on Iago performances: Jessi did and Patrick couldn’t: impersonation of Desdemona. Thinking about the kind of understanding of the position that Iago is putting Desdemona in as a married woman. Is Iago a married woman when re-gendered? The way society works within the plays how does that exist within the play?Desdemona venting made more sense to ask Iago for help, helped rationalize that sense of female trust. (actor perspective). How are the politics of the entire play effected when gender is changed?
Thanks to all and goodbye.