England Adventures

Hello all. A week ago I flew to a different country for the first time ever. I spent five days in England, touring schools as well as familiarizing myself with the towns. I landed Saturday morning and went straight to my first tour at Kingston University. Right outside of London, this small university was only a short drive away from the hotel I was staying at. The visit began with a short welcome seminar where I learned about the facilities as well as what this univeristy aimed to bring to its students. After this presentation, I took a bus to one of the housing facilities located on campus. There I learned about where the students lived as well as how their dorm system worked. In many british universities, you do not have a roommate but instead live in a small flat by yourself but share a kitchen with a few other people. This is different than American Universities, where you often live with a roommate. I next went to a workshop to learn about the program I had been excepted to. To my delight, the professer presented us with Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare. Although I am a huge Shakespeare fan, I will admit my knowledge on this poem was limited but I got to learn a lot about it in the workshop. To end my day at Kingston, I was taken on a private tour of the building by another student. Overall, I had a good experience at Kingston but I was excited to tour my next university on Tuesday. After a day of tourism and a train north, I arrived in Birmingham on Monday. The campus tour was the next day and I was very excited. That next morning, I arrived at the university and began the tour. It was a beautiful campus and I enjoyed walking around it and learning about all of the different departments. One of the most interesting bits was learning about the student union and all of the societies at the school. Although this was just a one hour tour instead of an open day like Kingston had, I really enjoyed Birmingham University and fell in love with the campus. This trip has really made me excited for my future and whichever university I attend, I know that I will be happy and learn a lot about literature.

The American Shakespeare Center

Hello all, today I am going to be talking about my absolute favorite place for all things Shakespeare: The American Shakespeare Center. For 3 weeks of the last 3 summers, I have travelled to Staunton, Virginia to attend the American Shakespeare Center’s Theatre Camp. At this camp I learn everything Shakespeare and end the 3 weeks performing in the Blackfriars Playhouse. This theater is unlike any other I have been to because they try to keep their performances by using the same resources. They are most famous for leaving the lights on during their performances, because during Shakespeare’s time they did not have access to the different light technology we have today. The ASC uses “candlelight” (the candles being artificial with lightbulbs to give off light) to light up their stage, as well as artificial sunlight created by putting lights behind opaque windows. Leaving the lights on during their performance allows the actors to interact with the audience, a fundemental part of theater during this time period. The Blackfriars Playhouse is so important to me as an actor and it has really inspired me to study literature in the future.

Audience Contact Series: Using the Audience as an Object and Character Relationships

Hello all, today I will be talking about the final two audience contact types. The first one is short and it is defined as when an actor use the audience as an object they talk about. Rather than naming an audience member as a specific character, the actor will generalize the person into a larger group. This is why this technique differs from casting an audience member, they do not get a specific name, they get a description that shows the rest of the audience the type of person the actor is talking about.

The final form of audience contact is actually shown through the relationship of two characters. An example of this could be from Henry VI Part I, where Margaret and Suffolk are on stage but only Suffolk is talking. Suffolk starts a monologue and when he is done Margaret says “Why speakest thou not”. This is evidence that she despite being on stage, Margaret did not hear a word of Suffolk’s speech. This tells the audience that they were who Suffolk was talking to and Margaret was not supposed to know what Suffolk was saying. We know that Shakespeare meant for this scene to have this relationship with the audience as it would not work any other way.