Peter Kirwan, Mary Baldwin University, 1, 2, 3; or, Wherefore Art Thou Not Roger?


Dr. Kirwan began this paper session discussing Rogero, or 2nd Gentleman from act 5 scene 2 of the Winter’s Tale. His speech prefix in all major editions remains as 2nd Gentleman, though he is mentioned by name in the text.

Dr. Kirwan argues that this scene is too frequently treated purely as exposition that doesn’t give accurate treatment to Rogero or the other two gentlemen numbered within this scene. He continues that “numerically designated characters” are mistreated and disregarded in similar ways throughout Shakespeare’s canon. 

The main body of this paper expands on these ideas through cue script practice research. The way that Rogero is cued by the 3rd Gentleman (or steward) shows his status in relationship to others, and this 3rd Gentleman is a far more substantial part than his fellow two gentlemen. 

His conclusion is that these numerical speech prefixes do not indicate a lack of character or importance, and overlooking this importance disregards dramaturgical and theatrical possibilities in relationship to these minor characters. In his Arden 4th edition of The Winter’s Tale Dr. Kirwan hopes to demonstrate this importance. 

Lars Engle, University of Tulsa, Staging a Textual Crux: Performing Competing Fixes of the Changeling 3.4.68-73

Lars Engle launches into this paper with some brief context regarding Act 3 Scene 4 of The Changeling before two actors read the scene aloud. Engle then led the audience through a method of inquiry, considering the potential possibilities for textual variations in this act and scene from The Changeling

He provides a handout with 7 different versions of lines 68-73 in the scene whose emendations impact the scansion through addition or omission of a line that includes the word “conscience.” Engle unpacks the moral implications of De Flores removing the line that contains the word “conscience.” Then, he compares two iterations of the scene, one of which is most popularly printed, and the other which the audience voted for as the better option. Version A placed the word “content” two words into the last line under investigation. In version B, the word “content” rests at the beginning of the line of verse, which one actor argued might place more importance on the word, if using the technique of breathing after the verse line, causing this word to have more breath support, and therefore perhaps more volume, energy, and/or weight. 

Engle’s work highlights the shaping force of editing on actor’s performances and audience’s receptions of a story. Engle’s presentation proves that popular is not always preferable and reminds the audience that consciously selecting an edition can greatly sculpt a performance and ultimately the meaning of an early modern play. 

Amanda Rogus, University of Washington School of Drama, Exit Juliet Pursued by Romeo: Exploring Storytelling Shifts in Explicit Stage Directions

Rogus’ paper is a full circle moment through her educational journey, with a topic that began during her first year as a Mary Baldwin student herself. This paper focuses on stage directions within Romeo and Juliet and how these stage directions change the “intentionality” of the story.

Within the 150 words and 25 stage directions in the Quarto 1 edition of Romeo and Juliet, deliberately short stage directions provide brevity. Her argument is that editorial changes in pronouns actively change that story being presented. Gray Casterline and Sarah White demonstrated one such point, with a kiss between the title characters being drastically changed by the choice of pronoun, such as “They kiss” or “he kisses her”. 

Rogus’ argument turns to auditory cues and knocking, where a change in stage directions change the soundscape of a performance.

Where the quartos and folio “maintain active stage directions”, modern editions often edit these stage directions with the intention of clarity, but end up often confusing or muddling the original purpose of these stage directions. Rogus argues that editors should not direct the script through their editing. She concludes with a statement about the masculine power within stage directions in modern editions of Romeo and Juliet, and proposes that the female strength within this play should be highlighted more significantly in these edits. 

Emma Rose Kraus, University of Kent, Placing the Prick in Dido, Queen of Carthage: Performance Practice as a Tool for Textual Scholarship

Emma Rose Kraus begins her presentation with attention to the placement of Cupid’s arrow prick in Dido, Queen of Carthage. She emphasizes the impact of the arrow prick on the plot and the potential that this moment could cause confusion in a reader. 

Kraus identified the placement of the arrow prick in trans-Atlantic productions of the play in Cupid’s song, wherein the location of the prick varied. She referenced Dido’s invitation for Cupid to sit on her lap in the text as an embedded staged direction for the arrow prick. She argues that placing a stage direction on the page creates clarity.