Good Morning! This is Tessa Zimmerman, reporting on Paper Session VI.
The moderator is Kelly Malone, Sewanee: The University of the South, and ASC Leadership Consortium Member.
Molly Harper, Sweet Briar College, presents What to Do With a Roaring Girl?
Harper is interested in how educators can foster inclusivity for LBGTQ+ youths through curriculum, and how early modern plays can foster critical thinking. She brings our attention to the ASC Theatre Camp, which boasts positive youth development through critical thinking skills, and exposes students to higher cognitive function and decision making skills. Harper recounts her experience with the recent ASC Theatre Camp production of Middleton/Dekker’s The Roaring Girl, in which students had an opportunity to explore physical performance, but were confused by some elements of the text. Harper suggests including more opportunity for critical thinking in this process. Harper is currently working with a 10th grade English class, where she continues her research and strives to empower her students to be themselves.
Thomas Sellari, National Chenchi University, Taipei Unlovable Falstaff: The Fortunes of a Fat Knight in Formosa
Sellari describes his shock that his former students viewed Falstaff as a stereotype of the corrupt official who does not deserve admiration or respect. He examines attitudes towards Fallstaff, and what this tells us about tolerance. To some, Fallstaff’s behavior makes him completely intolerable. For others, Fallstaffs lesser qualities can be overlooked, because he is a fictional character. Sellari suggests that Falstaff’s treatment in Henry IV Part II shows that tolerance has its limits; Hal’s rejection of Falstaff comes from the King taking him seriously and seeing his actions as a threat.
Garry Walton, Meredith College, presents Shakespeare for an Age
Walton addresses the topicality of Shakespeare’s theatre, as seen in many recent productions that involve contemporary concerns, either overtly or simply in the choice to perform the play, citing as NYC Public Theatre’s 2017 politically centered Julius Caesar, and a recent spike in performances of Measure for Measure. Walton is interested in non-traditional casting, a practice in which theaters cast without considering age, gender, or disability. He references women who have played major male roles in Shakespeare, as well as differently abled actors. Walton suggests that non-tradition casting can change the way we see Shakespeare, particularly in the case of gender.
Stephen Buhler, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, presents The Dramaturg’s Progress: A Question of Audiences
Drawing on two decades of dramaturgy experience, Buhler is interested in the education functions of dramaturgy. The information a dramaturg provides should be general, though intervention is sometimes necessary. Buhler suggests that a dramaturg should decide what information is actually helpful and appealing, whether that is in a press release or actor information; good dramaturg should encourage wonder and delight without spelling out things too much. Buhler then invites Sarah Enloe to discuss the kinds of dramaturgical materials that she thinks should be included for actors. Enloe explains that the educational materials the ASC Education Department provides allow students to get the essential information they need, and identify concepts students might already be familiar with, but unable to initially understand in Shakespeare’s terms.