Here’s a link to a great Shakespeare and Performance conference, to be held next fall at the rebuilt Blackfriars indoor theater in Staunton, VA. It’s a replica of the indoor theater in which The Tempest was staged, and the conference includes lots of performances as well.
There will be performances of The Tempest, Tamburlaine, Hamlet, Henry V, and The Importance of Being Earnest during the conference.
Padmini Sukumaran says
I think that featuring the topic of the collaboration-or collision-of interpretation and performance is an engaging idea.
In response to the topic presented at the conference, as I, myself, have studied both the interpretation of Shakespeare as a graduate student in English literature and Shakespearean acting, I really have experienced many ways that the two ways collaborate. Having become well-versed in Shakespeare, I believe that it has been easier for me to interpret Shakespeare for acting than it would be for the layman. I am able to grasp the character’s intentions and inner life from understanding the Shakespearean style of language. And my training in Shakespearean acting, by allowing me to have experience in the inner lives of the characters, has allowed me to understand the language better and developed a base for me as a scholarly critic on Shakespearean performance. I really believe that the two worlds
Having experienced ways that the two worlds collaborate, I can definitely see ways in which the conference will work. I think that the presenters that will feature actors to enact the plays that they present on will remove any difficulty that may exist at all for the scholarly audience on Shakespearean interpretation (if that is a problem at all) with a vivid portrayal of the scene. There also exists the important matter of the correspondence of an actor’s acting to the scholar’s interpretation that rises from the partnership. I believe that the scholar and actor will collaborate beforehand and settle that the actor will portray the scholar’s interpretation. There will arise a conflict if the actor’s choice or style conflicts with the scholar’s argument, but that problem will probably be settled between actor and scholar beforehand. However, it is particularly interesting that the delegates have to attend five plays that are independent from the conference, which leaves the room for acting and interpretation to collide. For example, a scholar may present an argument against the idea of Hamlet’s incestuous feelings towards his mother, but the play may portray just the opposite! In that case, the play and presenter will appear in the conference as two opposing presenters. Come to think of it, the play itself exists as a scholar with an argument in that case as it takes on a performance according to the interpretation of ASC.
I think that It is an interesting idea to have an exit pursued by a bear! Yet, the interpretation reached by the audience would be that the presenter, like Antigonus of The Winter’s Tale, is dead. In a sense, it would be the forced end of the paper that he/she presents, but that may also cause the audience to interpret that the paper, itself is of zero consequence, if the audience takes on a scholarly mode. This may be an example of how the worlds of interpretation and performance collide.
Also, I think that in The Tempest & Hamlet (the plays that are performed in the conference) performance and theatricality are particularly of significance (as I will actually be arguing in my final paper) with the plays-within-the-plays. It makes me wonder whether any topics of discussion will be about the theatricality and performance of the play-within-the-play. Maybe the Blackfriars Conference is a conference that I can attend next year for research for my dissertation.