bardic_lady: (shakespeare - srs academic)
Today, my supervisor approved my MA essay draft and I submitted it to my committee members. It took five drafts and a lot of frustration, but I just may defend on schedule.

This is really really exciting.
bardic_lady: (shakespeare - srs academic)
Who's done with her MA essay 2nd draft? THIS GUY.

You guys, this is the first time since like October that I haven't had work hanging over my head.

I'm gonna go take a shower.
bardic_lady: (dramaturg - rushing in)
The widget which has ruled my world for about the last week and a half.

bardic_lady: (shakespeare - srs academic)
Research proposals finished and emailed to my supervisor, along with a list of questions which will hopefully either stop our miscommunicating or convince us both that I need a new supervisor.

*fingers crossed that she likes one of the proposals*
bardic_lady: (takarazuka - mii-chan ole)
I've written two out of three full research proposals to send off to my supervisor tomorrow, to let her choose. For the third, about cross-gendered casting, I'm all amuddle about which character would make for the most interesting paper. (I think they'd all be fascinating. What do y'all think?

[Poll #1600403]

For my further thoughts on each character's benefit in genderswap, see this comment
bardic_lady: (shakespeare - srs academic)
I am frustrated. I had a topic. I had the research all ready to be pored over. I was set up to do this thing. Instead, I am tripping over myself and running into walls trying to get something together to please my advisor, while also remembering that I have to be willing to live with this topic until next April at minimum. So, here's where I am:

Kate Percy
Is interesting. Really. But she's in three scenes. She's fun in the first one, fun but a little harassed in the second, and angry and grieving in the third. She's oddly Elizabethan for a medieval woman. She's one of three women total in Henry IV I and of the other two, one is a lower-class innkeeper and the other only speaks Welsh. I just don't think there's enough to make an adequate third-wave commentary on.

Dramaturgy Pre-Production
Would need heavy phrasing help and really is probably too dense for twenty pages. But it needs to be written by someone.

One Scene, Many Productions
Have narrowed my scene options to Beatrice and Benedick's first encounter in Much Ado and the gangrape sequence in Troilus & Cressida.
The advantages of Much Ado include it being a comedy, it being one of my favourite scenes of all time, it having the possibility of changes due to women-related cultural issues, and watching Ken Branagh's film version a lot.
The advantages of T&C include it not being a comedy (I suspect my advisor sort of thinks I'm frivolous), having lots of possibility for changes based on cultural mores, and there being a lot more material written about T&C.
I'm going to the library tomorrow to look into available production editions of both plays.

Much as this is probably my favourite of the topics, I don't think my advisor would like it and it may not be research heavy enough. I was thinking about it last night and I realized that if you cross-cast Tranio in Shrew and take the line "I am content to be Lucentio because so well I love Lucentio" literally and romantically, Tranio basically becomes Viola from Twelfth Night. Fascinating. I'm hoping that I can incorporate some of this topic into my final paper for Editing Shakespeare in the Spring.

So... That's where I am. My advisor, who has really bizarre ideas about time, has set me the following time goals:
Proposal - end of September
First draft - second week of January
Draft to committee members - first week of March at the latest
Defense - May

I think the amount of spare time that gives me is insane. I have set the following goals for myself:
Proposal - last week of August
First draft - end of October
Draft to committee members - second week of January
Defense - March at the latest
bardic_lady: (shakespeare - srs academic)
So here's the skinny (fair warning, in the coming months, this journal is probably going to discuss my MA essay a lot):

I now have several ideas for an MA essay, that still need a fair amount of refining, but are closer to the mark than my vague and wishywashy ideas from two days ago.

1. The Kate Percy idea. Kate Percy is rather an awesome character, really, even if she's only in like three scenes. The fact that she's a semi-fictional character in a history play would be more interesting if she was the only one, but still. So far, I've encountered next to no information about her, either real her (Elizabeth Mortimer) or play her. And most of what I've found seems to be from people who haven't read the play. 'Cause... she's not so much patient and she does end up camping out in the woods with her husband and company. So... fail on that, feminist Shakespeare book. Given the dearth of information on her, however, I'm not sure that there's enough for a 20 page paper. This topic may actually be too small. And may bore me to tears in two weeks or less.

2. Re: editing for production: Do an analysis from a dramaturgical perspective (that is, the perspective of a dramaturg, not the text's dramaturgy) of the pre-production text editing phase, including, but not limited to, the collaboration between director and dramaturg, the director's concept as it impacts the text, previous production editions of the play, casting contraints as they affect cutting the play (i.e. necessary doubling, gendered roles), intentional non-constraint related cross-casting, intended length of the production. A) This topic is probably too broad, B) I doubt it's research-heavy enough for my advisor. Still needs phrasing help either way.

3. Re: editing for production: Do a purely textual performance history of a single scene (possibly single speech/interchange) across 200-400 years of production. For this, utilize at least the Bell's Acting Edition of 1774, Cumberland's British Theatre Edition of 1852, the Henry Irving Edition of 1888, the Joe Papp Public Theatre Edition of 1967 and the BBC TV edition of 1991, as well as the Cambridge University Shakespeare in Production series, and any other editions that may exist. Advisor will say that even if it's one speech, there are too many editions there. I say PPPBBBBBTTTTHHH. Needs a solid thesis statement.

4. An in-depth look at the textual implications of cross-casting a single role. Role ideas: Tybalt, Mercutio, Ariel, Puck, Tranio (Shrew), would consider other options as well. (No leading roles, as that would be too broad a topic)

These are my thoughts. I need other brains on this, since I only have two weeks to get into gear. Also, I need to do an MA essay icon.
bardic_lady: (shakespeare lives)
Today was better than yesterday. I'm still very much in the doldrums about my MA essay though.

Have taken my little bit of research, that Kate Percy is really Elizabeth Mortimer, and turned up not much at all. Obviously, Lady Mortimer-Percy being a medieval woman, I didn't expect hoards of info, but no info is not promising. Also, I just don't CARE that much. I'm not excited at all, which I definitely was about my other idea. Besides, I'm honestly not a focus focus focus minutiae person, so having a topic that's about an inch wide doesn't interest me much in a spend-nine-months-of-your-life kind of way.

So I'm looking into other ideas, things that might actually interest me on that level. The problem is that I now know that I need to already have my topic completely narrowed down and basically in a thesis statement before I present it to my advisor. And I have to be ready to do that in two weeks or less. O hai thar stress.

Right now, what I would like to do is a paper about the process of editing Shakespeare for production, specifically from the director/dramaturg's perspective. Here are my difficulties:

1. I need an angle, why is this paper different from all other papers? (Because this paper we dip twice and read in a recliner while eating lousy crackers)

2. It's a process paper, not necessarily a research paper. Is there a way to make it a research paper? Well, maybe. Probably by focusing on a specific production. But there are Problems with that. Namely, I would need to be able to contact the director/dramaturg, most likely. There would have to be available promptbooks. Now, to me, the obvious answer is UPS's Midsummer because, o hai, I was the dramaturg, contacting the director is easy, the text, both cut and un, is on the wiki, it's all tied up with a bow! BUT. My advisor doesn't like it. She might well consider it a retread which is like unto the kiss of death to her. Also, I don't think she really considers my work on Midsummer real work. (I don't know.)

3. If I don't focus on a specific production, how do I narrow the topic sufficiently for my nitpicky advisor? What's my angle?
Much as I'd love it to be punctuation, I'm not sure that any published text, up to and including the Shakespeare in Production series Cambridge has (though they are excellent for production histories), is actually reliable in terms of punctuation. (I'm a total demon for punctuation in Shakespeare, but I don't really want to do an MA essay on semicolons in Cymbeline. I don't really want to do any kind of paper on Cymbeline, but that's neither here nor there) Having determined that, despite their extensive notes on textual changes, even the Arden editions change punctuation without shame, I have no faith in editorial punctuation at all.
What other narrowing factors are there? Well, obviously, pick a play, any play. But then do I compare multiple editions? Multiple promptbooks? Could I even get multiple promptbooks? Theatres are notoriously bad about archiving things like that, but that's a rant for a different time.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this? I need to work it out and I haven't much time.

January 2015



I Cannot Hide What I Am

I must be sad when I have cause and smile
at no man's jests, eat when I have stomach and wait
for no man's leisure, sleep when I am drowsy and
tend on no man's business, laugh when I am merry and
claw no man in his humour...
I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in
his grace, and it better fits my blood to be
disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob
love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to
be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied
but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with
a muzzle and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I
have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my
mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do
my liking: in the meantime let me be that I am and
seek not to alter me.

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