Week 13

Read a blog.  Write to your fellow classmate and reflect what you found interesting and generative about that blog.  You don’t have to read or write like an instructor.  Instead, be a generous classmate and try to witness what the other has done throughout the course of the semester. Post the result on the student’s blog in the comments and on your own blog as a Week 13 post.

I have selected Elle Shaheen’s blog to read. Below is my comment to her.

I really enjoyed working through and reading Elle’s blog. She blended a lot of her personal experiences in theatre and in life with the material, and I found that a very effective way to connect with what we were learning.

One of my favorite entries was about staging Waiting for Godot in an empty ice rink, which I thought was a super original and out-of-the-box idea. I don’t have a ton of experience with ice rinks (growing up in the South), but there is something about an entire structure that serves one purpose and one alone, especially one that requires altering physical states and creating specific environments that fits the theme of alienation, nostalgia, and waiting that Godot discusses. I thought Elle’s ideas about staging, seating, and lighting were also really apt–other than the physical distancing that seating the audience as far as possible from the play area produces, what other effects would the audience feel? This scenario got me thinking about how audience members relate to each other, in addition to what’s onstage.

Another post I enjoyed was on reading Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as a piece of lesbian theatre. Having never seen the musical nor being super familiar with Carole King’s life, I wish Elle would have gone into a bit more detail about Carole’s relationships with Gerry Goffin and Cynthia Weil and how that’s portrayed in the show. But regardless, I really liked Elle’s analysis of how Carole interacts with male characters in general–the metaphor of the show shaving off male characters one by one in the second act was very strong, and made a very compelling argument to reading Beautiful as certainly a feminist work, if not entirely a lesbian one (due to the fact that Carole King is a real person).

Overall, I really enjoyed going through Elle’s blog. While I loved the individual connections she made with the material and prompts, I also liked looking into how she digested the course material. I felt a sort of kinship or connection to Elle’s analyses and understandings, considering we both took Robin Bernstein’s Race, Gender, and Performance class last year–and which I certainly think of as an excellent primer for this course. I’m excited to see how Elle applies what we’ve learned this semester in the courses she takes and the work she produces in the future!!

2 thoughts on “Week 13

  1. Hey Allie! I think best in lists so I can keep track of things, so pardon my left-brainedness in this comment. I feel like lists can feel impersonal sometimes, but I do it so I don’t miss out on anything I wanted to ask you about or express my appreciation for while I peruse your blog!

    Week 3: Is there any kind of theater, you think, that’s just for entertainment? You say that entertainment “conjures up images of fun, vacuous enjoyment, occasional emotional movement, and temporary experience.” After taking this class and working on different performance projects this semester, I wonder if I’ll ever see a piece of theater as strictly entertainment ever again — maybe that’s a pretentious thought, but that’s where I think I stand right now. I’m curious about what you think, so many weeks after this question on ta’ziyeh, about this particular label/experience of theater.

    Week 6: I really wanted to express how cool I think your staging of this scene between Antigone and Ismene was. As someone who has gone zero-to-sixty in her knowledge of Brechtian acting and epic theater, I had a lot of trouble with this particular prompt and I wish I had taken a peek at your reply sooner in the semester. I especially liked the direction to use certain vocal affectations throughout the conversation so that the actors, also looking away from each other and into the audience, become beings of reason/thought rather than emotion. Picturing it made a lot of sense in context of both the assignment and Carson’s translation.

    Week 7: I was lucky enough to see Proof in the Ex last year, so I really enjoyed watching your take on this scene! Your analysis of the role, as well as the way realism is not just a mode/theme but a formal element in this particular show, really resonated with me because of my familiarity with the work. I really liked your take on the sister dynamic here; it’s very different from the one I saw last year, but still so real and fleshed out that it didn’t take me out even though I had that other reference point. I wouldn’t say I know as much about Proof as you do, and that’s not the point, but it’s interesting to see how our different experiences with the same work can still be parallel threads we’re grappling with, understanding, referring to, etc. on our journey with TDM. Thank you for your work on this scene!

    Week 11: Parking lot! That’s such a great space for Waiting for Godot. A lot of Floridians (and just people in general, honestly) call Florida the state of parking lots, because it’s all flat, there are so many cars and so many wide spaces, and there’s a endless supply of super Targets and strip malls with asphalt moats around them. Reading your post, I was pretty convinced just from that first visual — a wide open parking lot where there’s no danger of smacking into other cars, hence having driving lessons there. The ground is uneven, the sunlight is oppressive at all times of day during the summer because of a lack of shade… I really think you’re on to something with this one.

    I’m really glad to have had the chance to read through your blog and also to have been in this class with you! Here’s to two more years!

    Best,
    Amanda

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