For the next two weeks, I’ll be taking a break from my typical, article-esque blog posts in favor of something more akin to a diary. I’m actually writing this post at Dulles National Airport, awaiting the seven hour flight that’s going to sweep me out of a sleepy winter break and headfirst into a whirlwind Shakespeare adventure. But perhaps I should back up a bit first….
I am by no means an adrenaline junky. I’m cautious by nature, slave to my planner, terrified at the thought of being 15 seconds late to a hair appointment, not to mention a solo flight to London. But after I was admitted my school’s Cater Society and by extension presented with the opportunity to apply for a research grant, my imagination went wild. Past Cater Society grants have given students the chance to pursue otherwise unpaid internships in big cities, attend overseas summer and winter classes for free, even study llamas in South America. But for some reason or another, few students apply for grants relating to literature or the arts, which meant that my slightly insane brainchild — a Shakespeare research project at the Globe Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company — would have to be totally original. There was no preplanned itinerary to bounce off of, no previous Shakespeare student who could give me advice on whom to contact or where to stay in London or Stratford. It was just me, my advisor, and an empty grant proposal sheet.
And a few fast months later, I’m sitting here with my passport and carry-on bag, looking forward to six days of production history research, eight theater performances, and two weeks alone in the U.K. As much as this whhole experience is a personal dream come true (not just visiting but STUDYING at the Globe and RSC libraries), I hope to bring back scads of dramaturgical gold for the King Lear class to use.
The first two giant bullet points on my itinerary: Julius Caesar at Donmar Warehouse (an all-female cast, which should be a great contrast to the two traditionally all-male cast Globe plays I’m seeing) and a full day of production research at the Globe. Hopefully, I’ll come away with not just more facts and images from past King Lears, but a broader perspective only the staging of the play, but the world of the play itself. What’s worked in these past King Lears? What hasn’t? What was the message those productions evoked, and what can we learn and use in our production this spring?
So keep checking my blog for the ecstatic dramaturgical ramblings of a Shakespeare nerd swimming in her version of paradise. There will be photos and anecdotes galore!