Meet The Commenters

I haven’t done one of these in awhile.  It seems like a good a time as any, seeing the lovefest going on over in the recent threads on iambic pentameter in the sonnets, and the “man v. work” debate. Who are you, and what’s Shakespeare to you?  Author, actor, director, teacher?  Just random lover of the Bard?  Here’s your chance to introduce yourself to our readers.  After all, you folks are often the ones coming up with the really good content, I just open up the threads.  Seems only fitting that everybody get introduced. Plugging stuff (i.e. links) are welcome, do not feel like you’re being spammy.  My one rule : I expect an actual human written introduction that explains the link and preferably a little bit about yourself.  If I catch any spambots spotting this opportunity to just drop in random anonymous links, then those I will kill. And yes if you’ve introduced yourself before feel free to do it again, I get new readers all the time. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Meet The Commenters

  1. I have been an avid reader of Shakespeare since college and a particular fan of his sonnets. I somehow got bit by a bug when I read Helen Vendler’s edition in the late 1990’s and was particularly intrigued by her printing of the original 1609 Quarto beneath each of her emended versions of the sonnets. When I found myself disagreeing with her, I started off on some research and thus started my career as a Shakespeare scholar. I have since published 2 articles on the editing of Shakespeare’s sonnets in “Studies in Philology,” a respected literary journal, and a complete edition of The Sonnets, culling all of the important commentary that has been written on them since they were published (this is known as a variorum edition and mine is only the fourth ever written). The title is “Shakespeare’s Sonnets: With 300 Years of Commentary” and you can read a bit more about it (and me) on the Fairleigh Dickinson University Press website:

    I have not restricted myself to The Sonnets, however. I have another article that will be published in the summer of 2010 in “Studies in Philology” on a famous problem section (a “crux”) in Act III of “Measure for Measure.”

    This, and leaving comments on Duane’s blog, are what I do for fun. To earn a living, I am a doctor.

    –Carl Atkins

  2. I am an MFA Acting student at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. I was trained in the First Folio Technique for actors at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. I am currently understudying Paulina in The Winter’s Tale at the Asolo Repretory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida.

    You can read about my graduate school adventures at my grad school blog, Angela Learns to Act.

  3. I’m a big fan of Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline literature and theater (and Chaucer and Milton). Other literary passions include book collecting, studying foreign languages, and early 20th century modern literature.

    I run a blog called What I Learned From Aristotle.

    My day job is being a college professor.

  4. Don’t actually comment much yet, but have been following the blog for a little while yet out of sheer love of all things Shakespeare…

    I started loving Shakespeare by 10 or 11, I think, not even sure when, but I directed a scene from Midsummer for a sixth grade book report and by high school was memorizing favorite scenes from my father’s old college collection when I couldn’t sleep.

    I studied theater and English literature, and still do some minor acting, including Helena in a contemporary Midsummer a few years ago, probably one of my favorite roles, among other roles with a modern Shakespearean troupe (we’ve taken three shows to the local fringe fest in DC).

    I am also a freelance costume designer, with a preference for Shakespearean, and my day job is in Theater Public Relations, so I’m all around steeped in the arts (which is fantastic!)

  5. I majored in Theatre, minored in English, and took Shakespeare in class, but never really became fond of his writing until I got to see live performances. Now I’m a volunteer captain at the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern, so I see his plays over and over. Not all of them yet, but they’re working on it. I’ve also volunteered at the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, also in Atlanta.

    I work box office weekends at a contemporary theatre, the Renaissance Festival in the spring for two months, and my day job is a bookkeeper.

  6. Am I My Resume?
    Apart from the standard “bio” (always wanting in detail—therefore by default, also wanting in something of honesty as well) I've never described in print exactly who I am relative to what I've done, so I have no idea what might ensue; quite possibly some snoring—but here goes:

    My “career”, for want of a more lengthy, boring, and possibly more accurate description,(“for want of” might be argued later, and very successfully so,to be a spurious claim) began shortly after high school, when I began to work as a professional “actor”–mainly because I had some singing ability. It was difficult, being then located in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia, to find gainful employment (something of a misnomer, “gainful”) in much other than “Musical Comedy” (As a recent, much further North university graduate, having earned her degree in “Musical Theatre”, my daughter–who, by the way, ain't so bad at Shakespeare–is quick to chastise me whenever I use the 'older' term). Shortly after gaining some practical experience, I began intermittent sojourns back & forth to “The Great White Way”–with some success— mostly contracts (in “musical theatre”) which took me a Great Long Way Away from the aforementioned boulevard, only to return to the very loud and strident 'Herald' of Square-One (forgive me?)—unemployed and without permanent residence. I know many who can identify with what was then my self-induced plight. But in addition to this, being an infant, and looking very much like one as well, it was difficult to convince any of the powers that be of the very obvious fact (known for a Truth by he who stood before them–he whose big booming bass baritone belied the banality of his incongruous “chorus boy” countenance) that HE was destined for the great roles of theatre. So eventually I gave up on the argument—exactly how many times I can't remember–five or six…at least. In this case, the obverse of the proverbial applies: journeyman does as journeyman is, and this leads to a condition of high eclectics in the practice of whatever Opportunity might provide in the way of a “profession”. Listing the results of such a practice, only dealt with successfully in novella form, I'll attempt to cut to the chase: I've done lots of different stuff. That, Fate, and personal reasons eventually led me to regard NY, NJ, & PA and the surrounding area as home.

    “How does Shakespeare enter into all of this?”, might come the question from the ranks of the…Still-Awake-To-Ask. Deciding to (once again) pursue being taken seriously as “Actor”, having grown somewhat into “The Voice”, and having had some experience with some not so insignificant non-singing roles working “off-off-off-off” Broadway, then less off-off-off ; then actually ON the off-off-that being one less off of the off of on Broadway, there was really only one way left to ultimately conquer the fear and confidently possess the title “Actor”;and that was to jump head-first into “The Pool”. I saw so many of those who claimed the title Actor (some, to my mind, with a most rightful claim) avoiding the leap into that particular pool. It was as though they'd be met twenty feet later with only the very hard bottom, their excruciatingly painful demise eliciting the pitiful cry of a one word protest, “SHAKESPEARE!?!?”–the last echo in their ears in the emptiness of a dark cavern of cement. But I've always been something of an iconoclast—not always to my own benefit—and despite my own real fears, I inched toward the leading edge of the diving board of doom.
    (Please notice in advance, the absence of all of those previous, additional “offs”) OFF ! -Broadway—audition for The Riverside Shakespeare Company's “Riverside Shakespeare Academy”. Success. What was mostly, at the outset, the answer to a most defiant challenge from the Ego, resulted in the most enlightening experience yet in the whole of my studious efforts. –Eureka! It was there that I began to learn the basics of a way of approaching the dreaded Shakespeare, and the business of acting in general, that finally debunked the “mystery” of the entire discipline. That is: that for the most part, the Art of Acting is a Craft, the same as any other “Art”, and that Words are the Tools of that Craft; an idea rarely, if ever, viewed as anything less than blasphemous by the most worshiped Gurus—the spectral inhabitants of the world of my previous experience. The rest—though important—is only icing. It can make the cake prettier and better tasting and more “complete”. But without the cake, finding the recipe for the right flavor of icing for the cake can be a very haphazard and many times fruitless exercise. “After all”, reasoned he in hack pentameter: “There is no Cake; what need we of icing?”
    I went on to eventually act in and co-produce for their Shakespeare in the Park Series, and I was fortunate in having the role of Macbeth handed to me as a staged reading role on their stage, eventually playing it for real in the park, among other roles. But this led to many much more important things: As I wrote on another thread, I learned how & what Shakespeare did—in so doing, I recognized how important and relevant all of IT is.
    Subsequently, as a direct result, I've directed his plays; edited his plays for festival performance; taught acting from originally developed syllabi (I've written and taught three), all of which have been funded by both National and State artistic endowments; acted as Shakespeare consultant and advisor for several productions; conducted pre-rehearsal full cast intensives in Folio Technique; conducted master classes in NJ and Maryland high schools; I WAS Shakespeare as part of an original program I developed as a month long artist in residence to teach his work at a NJ elementary school (K-5), slated for implementation at two more schools in two other counties-(pending additional funding); and, as a self-promoted “Shill” for Will, continue to defend and promote the understanding and appreciation of his work, as well as enrich my own learning and understanding on blogs such as this, for which I'm extremely grateful for many reasons–not the least of which is that they indulge me in my need to go on about it all…as if I had to bring anyone's notice to THAT particular fact. In closing allow me to paraphrase not Will, but another literary Sage–Eyore: “Thanks fer list'n'nin'.”

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