Ohio Shakespeare Notes

Archives - Winter 1996, Vol. 2

Those attending the 1995 Ohio Shakespeare Conference found their expectations of an intellectually engaging program held in beautiful surroundings fully met. Sam Crowl arranged a conference at Ohio University on the theme "Stages for Shakespeare: From Court to Couch, from Central Park to Cottesloes, from Carnival to Cinema, from Culture to Classroom" that provided interesting sessions, illuminating keynote addresses, and ample opportunities for discussion. Spring, of course, added its touch to Athens to make us linger on our evening walk to the theatre and stroll the streets, jog the trails or hike the hills during our breaks. Dogwood, redbud and mountain laurel all were in bloom. As lovely as it all was, however, the well-planned agenda inside won out over Pan's call to stay outside.

The keynote speakers presented a wide range of topics that interestingly punctuated the other sessions. Peter Donaldson (MIT), giving the first address on Thursday evening, provided a window into the world of high-tech by showing us a sample of his work on Hamlet. He has created hypertext keyed to video productions of the play. The on-screen cross-referencing of individual scenes from several productions and the detailed textual notes his project makes on each production and scene (available on screen within the text of the play) will offer enormous teaching as well as scholarly opportunities. For many less computer literate than he, the prospect is at once exciting and overwhelming, yet Donaldson's relaxed presentation reassured that the future offers exciting possibilities that ultimately will be accessible to everyone. Leaving the intricacies of cyberspace and computer networking for the equally intricate territory of the human mind, Friday's keynote speaker Janet Adelman (Berkeley) took a psychological approach to her analysis of "Iago's Alter Ego: Race in Projection in Othello." She applied psychologist Melanie Kline's ideas on the self and her explanation of projection to her analysis of Iago and his effect on Othello and Desdemona. Her argument posits a comprehensive view of the world inhabited by these characters, revealing Iago's emotionally dark responses to Othello's physical darkness and explains their violent interaction. Phyllis Rackin (Pennsylvania) presented an equally intriguing topic in her Saturday keynote, "Thoroughly Modern Henry: It's Better to Marry than to Burn." Tracing the ideology of rape as it was linked with war and the behavior of soldiers in the battles leading up to Henry V's success at Agincourt, Rackin addressed the literal role of women in battle as well as their figurative uses in war rhetoric. She detects a sharp shift in imagery in Shakespeare's Henry V and analyzes this new trend in the wooing scenes between Hal and Kate and in the battle speeches, finding political as well as social readings in this interpretation.

The other sessions of the conference provided equally stimulating papers and discussions. The conference opened Thursday afternoon with "Shakespeare on Film," which was followed by "Late Shakespeare." Friday started with "Shakespeare and Comedy," and moved on to "King Lear in Performance," and "New Approaches: Text and Context." Saturday provided sessions on "The Problem Comedies and Beyond," "Shakespeare on the Stage," and "Restoration Shakespeare." The following pages contain abstracts from many of the papers presented in these sessions.

Additional opportunities for entertainment and enlightenmen occurred at the numerous social events scheduled throughout the conference. Many of us particularly enjoyed the chance to view Christine Edzard's film of As You Like It and to hear Sam Crowl's account of his initial viewing with Edzard. The post-film discussion was equally useful. Another experience, although non-Shakespearean, was getting to see the splendid Ohio University student production of Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. Thanks to Sam and all who helped him in setting up such a congenial, interesting conference.


"Shakespeare on Film"
Chair: James Conover, Ohio University

  • Power and Popularity: Shakespeare Goes Hollywood in Zeffirelli's Hamlet and Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing
    by Natalie K. Fields, Ohio State University
  • A Push for Sympathy: Branagh's Claudio*
    by Rebecca Steinberger, Wilkes University
  • Re-viewing Branagh: "His Companies Unletter'd, Rude, and Shallow"*
  • by Mark Furr, University of Akron

"Late Shakespeare"
Chair: Calvin Thayer, Ohio University

  • Boys' Play in The Winter's Tale
    by Tom Bishop, Case Western Reserve University
  • Cymbeline: Abuses of Enchantment
    by Dorothy Kehler, San Diego State University
  • Shakespeare's Henry VIII and the Disjunction Inherent in Historiography and Prophecy*
    by Douglas E. Rutledge, Capitol University

"Shakespeare and Comedy"
Chair: Ronald Salomone, Ohio University at Chillicothe

  • The Taming of Another Shrew: A Feminist Examination of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing
    by Andrew J. Cognard-Black, Ohio State University
  • Fragile Kosmos: the Musical Conclusion to The Merchant of Venice
    by Laura Rotunno, University of Arkansas
  • The Psychology and Recency Effects Upon Audience Response in Twelfth Night
    by James H. Lake, Louisiana State University in Shreveport
  • Recent Trends in Comedy
    by H.R. Coursen, International Globe Centre

"King Lear in Performance"
Chair: Jennifer Cognard-Black, Ohio State University

  • Cracking Nature's Molds: King Lear at Chicago's Shakespeare Repertory
    by David Brailow, McKendree College
  • In Search of Nothing: Mapping King Lear on Stage and Screen
    by Kenneth S. Rothwell, University of Vermont

"New Approaches: Text and Context"
Chair: Kezia Vanmeter Sproat, Highbank Farm Peace Education Center

  • Shakespeare's Revision of King Lear
    by Kristen J. Pool, University of Cincinnati
  • Spectral Convictions: Witchcraft in the Courts and Theaters
    by Megan Isaac, Youngstown State University
  • Staging the Playwright and Playcompany in Print: What Can the Title Pages Tell Us About Renaissance Stage?*
    by Christopher J. Fassler, Winthrop University, & James P. Saeger, MIT

"The Problem Comedies and Beyond"
Chair: Paul Yuckman, Ohio University in Lancaster

  • Reification in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida: Early Modern Analogy/Late Modern Theory
    by Hugh Grady, Beaver College
  • Forgiveness (Re)Situated: Measure for Measure and Othello*
    by Nels A. Christensen, Michigan State University

"Shakespeare on Stage"
Chair: Toni Dorfman, Ohio University

  • Visions and Re-visions: Romeo and Juliet on the Stage
    by Kathleen Cambell, Austin College
  • "Didst Percieve?": The Mousetrap in Five Versions of Hamlet
    by David G. Hale, State University of New York
  • Hamlet in Performance: Back to Shakespeare?
    by Alexandra Lapsker, New York University

"Restoration Shakespeare"
Chair: Laurence Batlett, Ohio University

  • From Stage to Screen: Sadistic Desire, Identification, and Spectatorship in the Cibber/Olivier Tradition of Richard III
    by Lisa S. Starks, East Texas University
  • Apolitical Shakespeare; Or, the Restoration Coriolanus
    by Thomas G. Olsen, Ohio University

*indicates abstracts not available in Ohio Shakespeare Notes.