“The Winter’s Tale” at the Lir, Dublin

Performances at the Lir on Pearse Street, Dublin, from Friday 1st December until Thursday 7th December, at 7.30pm. Matinee: Monday 4th December, 1pm.
Tickets: €15 and €10 concession

The dark dramas of violent jealousy, sexual slander and death at the court of Sicilia, lead to a small baby girl being abandoned in the wild reaches of rural Bohemia. There, sixteen years later, the hot midsummer festivities are the background for delight, disguise and denunciation, which in turn carry the tale, replete with runaway lovers, a scalliwag, an old shepherd and his clown son back to Sicilia. The icy mourning of King Leontes begins to thaw as these two contrasting worlds meld, and in a magical finale full of revelations,  Shakespeare shows us his delight in such a vivid, motley collection of characters and his ultimate belief in forgiveness and redemption.

For more information on the production and to book tickets, see the Lir website here.

 

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CFP: Borderlines XXII: Sickness, Strife, and Suffering at Queen’s University Belfast 2018

Call for papers for Borderlines XXII: Sickness, Strife, and Suffering. This conference will be held from 13-15th April 2018 at Queen’s University Belfast.

Proposals for both papers and panels are welcomed from postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in the fields of both Medieval and Early Modern studies.

Sickness, strife and suffering punctuate many medieval and early-modern narratives. When viewed by the modern eye, however, these experiences can be difficult to comprehend and empathise with, without resorting to anachronisms. Indeed, in her landmark treatise on pain, Elaine Scarry contests that ‘[p]hysical pain does not simply resist language but actively destroys it’ (Scarry, 1985: 4), thus rendering any description or explanation of pain practically impossible, regardless of era.

In the light of Scarry’s work, the specific difficulties posed by the expression and understanding of pain in the Middle Ages have been expounded upon and theorised by numerous scholars. Esther Cohen’s work on the various symbolisms of medieval pain (Cohen, 2010), in addition to Robert Mills’ adumbration of translative pain theories, mapping the medieval experience of pain onto that of the current day and vice versa (Mills, 2005), are just two examples of scholarship exploring this fascinating area of research connecting the human experience of the present with that of the past.

It is in this light that we are pleased to invite abstracts of ca. 250 words related to pain in the Middle Ages and early modern period. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Collective pain
  • Depictions of pain
  • Explanations of pain
  • Judicial literature
  • Medical literature
  • Memory and painNarratives of suffering
  • Pain and creativity
  • Pain and pleasure
  • Psychological pain
  • Social pain
  • Religious literature
  • Suffering in the afterlife

Please send all abstracts (along with a short academic biography) to borderlinesxxii@gmail.com by 5th February 2018.

Jonathan Swift Festival, 23–26 November 2017

Jonathan Swift Festival, 23–26 November

Dean Jonathan Swift

From TheLiberties.ie:

A fabulous weekend of cultural events beckons this November to celebrate the life and work of Ireland’s most popular author. Listen to ballads from 300 years ago, take walking tours around Swift’s Dublin, watch a theatrical performance or sit down to eat a dinner in the beautiful surrounds of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Immerse yourself in Swift’s life and work, and hear from contemporary writers, musicians, historians and performers taking up Swift’s challenge to “Go, traveller, and imitate if you can this earnest and dedicated champion of liberty.”

The famous author and Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral was born 350 years ago this year. Best known for his satirical works, including Gulliver’s Travels, Swift was also a noted champion of liberty and freedom of thought and advanced a number of social causes. His legacy to the city is profound, both in a celebrated body of work and in a number of institutions which he founded and endowed, including St Patrick’s Hospital on Bow Lane.

Check out details of the Festival at www.jonathanswiftfestival.ie.

HIGHLIGHTS

23rd November: Festival launch at 6:30pm in St Patrick’s Cathedral

23rd November: Jonathan Swift: Place and Space – a special exhibition of rare books, artefacts and pamphlets connected to Swift in Dublin Castle (admission charge)

24th November: Ballads of Swift’s Dublin: singer Padraig O Nuallain performs songs from the streets of Dublin in Swift’s time – starts 7pm at Christ Church Cathedral (admission €10)

25th November: Swift Symposium – an international gathering to mark the 350th anniversary of Swift’s birth – the Deanery, St Patrick’s Close

26th November: Swift’s Food – a sumptuous and unique dining experience in the nave of St Patrick’s Cathedral featuring food of the later 17th century – starts 7:30pm.

30th November: Swift’s Vision – a night of poetry, music and song to celebrate the life of a unique voice in world literature – starts 8pm at St Patrick’s Cathedral (admission €15)

Conference: Constructing the equality of the sexes in the early modern period

Constructing the equality of the sexes in the early modern period /
Penser l’égalité des sexes à l’ancien régime
25th-26th October 2017 National University of Ireland, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2

Wednesday 25th October
9.15am Welcome
9.30 Margarete Zimmermann, Freie Universität Berlin (Emerita) ‘L’anachorétisme “mondain” de Gabrielle Suchon: un outil pour penser l’égalité’
10.15 Derval Conroy , University College Dublin ‘Strategies of ambivalence: constructing equality in Gabrielle Suchon’s Traité de la Morale et de la Politique’ (1693)
11am Coffee
11.30 Key-note speaker: Geneviève Fraisse, Centre national de recherche scientifique, Paris
‘L’opérateur égalité’
12.45 Lunch
2pm Key-note speaker: Marie-Frédérique Pellegrin, Université de Lyon 3
‘Égalité, neutralité, différencialisme. Confronter Descartes, Malebranche et Poulain de la Barre’
3.15 Coffee
3.45 Sarah Carvallo, École centrale de Lyon ‘Riolan et l’anthropologie médicale du sexe’
4.30pm Kathryn Hoffmann, University of Hawaii-Manoa ‘Difference and unstable gender in seventeenth-century France’
5.15pm Fin de journée 8pm Conference dinner

Thursday 26th October
9.30am Jan Clarke, Durham University ‘The equality of women: theatre professionals in seventeenth-century France’
10.15 Dan Carey, NUI Galway, and Gábor Gelléri, Aberystwyth University ‘Women and the Art of Travel, 1570-1800’
11am Coffee
11.30 Key-note speaker: Siep Stuurman, Utrecht University (Emeritus)
‘The emergence of a ‘sense of the global’ and the Enlightenment
critique of colonialism
12.45 Lunch
2pm Heidi Keller-Lapp, Eleanor Roosevelt College, University of California, San Diego ‘Writing Canadoises and Jesuitesses into being: Ursuline missionaries in seventeenth- century New France’
2.45 Carol Baxter, Trinity College Dublin ‘Anti-equality narratives in Port-Royal: an equality strategy?’
3.30 Danielle Clarke, University College Dublin ‘“Their sex not equal seemed”’: concepts of equality in 17th-century English writing’
4.15pm Closing remarks

The conference is organised by Dr Derval Conroy, Associate Professor, French and Francophone Studies, UCD.
The conference is graciously supported by the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Research Fund, University College Dublin; Centre for Gender and Women’s History, Trinity College Dublin; College of Arts and Humanities, University College Dublin; School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, University College Dublin; and The Society for Renaissance Studies.

Call for Papers: Extended Deadline 1 November 2017

British Shakespeare Association: Shakespeare Studies Today

Queen’s University Belfast, 14-17 June 2018 (BSA2018@qub.ac.uk)

Image from The Belfast Tempest (dir. Andrea Montgomery, 2016), Terra Nova Productions. Courtesy of Neil Harrison (models Sean Brown and Louise Parker).

Following on from the 2016 celebrations, the 2018 BSA conference offers an opportunity for academics, practitioners enthusiasts and teachers (primary, secondary and sixth- form teachers and college lecturers) to reflect upon Shakespeare Studies today. What does Shakespeare Studies mean in the here-and-now? What are the current and anticipated directions in such diverse fields of enquiry as Shakespeare and pedagogy, Shakespeare and race, Shakespeare and the body, Shakespeare and childhood, Shakespeare and religion, Shakespeare and economics, Shakespeare and the law, Shakespeare and emotion, Shakespeare and politics, Shakespeare and war and Shakespeare and the environment? What is Shakespeare’s place inside the curriculum and inside debates around theory, queer studies and feminism? Where are we in terms of editing and materiality, and where does Shakespeare sit alongside his contemporaries, male and female? How does theatre practice, performance history, adaptation, cinema and citation figure in ever evolving Shakespeare Studies? In particular, this conference is keen to explore the challenges facing Shakespeare Studies today and to reflect on newer emergent approaches. Reflections on past practices and their reinventions for the future are also warmly welcomed.

Plenary Speakers include: Prof. Pascale Aebischer (University of Exeter), Prof. Clara Calvo (University of Murcia), Prof. Richard Dutton (Queen’s University Belfast), Prof. Courtney Lehmann (University of the Pacific) and Prof. Ayanna Thompson (George Washington University). UK Premieres include: Veeram (dir. Jayaraj, 2016), a South Indian film adaptation of Macbeth, and Hermia and Helena (dir. Matías Piñeiro, 2016), an Argentine adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. BSA 2018 also includes: Q+As with theatre director Andrea Montgomery (The Belfast Tempest, 2016) and film directors Jayaraj and Matías Piñeiro.

There are four ways to participate in BSA 2018:

1. Submit an abstract for a 20-minute paper. Abstracts (100 words) and a short biography to be submitted by 1 November 2017 to BSA2018@qub.ac.uk

2. Submit a proposal for a panel session consisting of three 20-minute papers. Abstracts for all three papers (100 words each), a rationale for the panel (100 words) and short speaker biographies to be submitted by 1 November 2017 to BSA2018@qub.ac.uk

3. Submit a proposal for a performance / practice or education workshop or a teachers’ INSET session. For a workshop, submit a summary proposal outlining aims and activities and a biographical statement. For an INSET session (either a one-hour event or a twenty-minute slot), submit a summary proposal and biographical statement. All proposals to be submitted by 1 November 2017 to BSA2018@qub.ac.uk

4. Submit an abstract to join a seminar. The seminar format involves circulating a short paper in advance of the conference and then meeting to discuss all of the papers in Belfast. Abstracts (100 words), a short biography and a statement of your seminar of preference to be submitted by 1 November 2017 to BSA2018@qub.ac.uk.

Seminars include: ‘Digital Shakespeare: Histories/Resources/Methods’ led by Dr Stephen O’Neill (Maynooth University); ‘Shakespeare and Act/Scene Division’ led by Dr Mark Hutchings (University of Reading); ‘Shakespeare and the Book Today’ led by Prof. Emma Smith (Hertford College, Oxford); ‘Shakespeare and his Contemporaries’ led by Dr Lucy Munro (King’s College, London); ‘Shakespeare and Early Modern Playing Spaces’ led by Prof. Richard Dutton (Queen’s University Belfast); ‘Shakespeare and Europe’ led by Prof. Andrew Hiscock (Bangor University) and Prof. Natalie Vienne-Guerrin (University of Montpellier III-Paul Valéry); ‘Shakespeare and Film’ led by Dr Romano Mullin and Prof. Mark Thornton Burnett (Queen’s University Belfast); ‘Shakespeare and Marx’ led by Dr Matt Williamson (Queen’s University Belfast); ‘Shakespeare and Morality’ led by Dr Neema Parvini (University of Surrey); ‘Shakespeare and Pedagogy’ led by Dr Linzy Brady (University of Sydney) and Dr Kate Flaherty (Australian National University); ‘Shakespeare, Performance and the 21st Century’ led by Dr Erin Sullivan (Shakespeare Institute, the University of Birmingham); ‘Shakespeare and Religion’ led by Dr Adrian Streete (University of Glasgow); ‘Women, Shakespeare and Performance’, led by Prof. Liz Schafer (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Belfast is a popular destination and a wonderful city to visit. Conference-linked events will include Titanic Belfast. Optional tours will include the Giant’s Causeway and the locations used in the HBO series, Game of Thrones, which is filmed in Northern Ireland. Belfast is well-connected via two airports – Belfast International Airport and George Best Airport, Belfast. Belfast is also easily accessible by train, car or bus via Dublin International Airport. Discounted rates will be available at local hotels. A number of Postgraduate / Practitioner / Teacher Bursaries will be available to cover the conference fee. When you submit your abstract / proposal, please indicate if you would like to apply for one of these and if you would like to attend all of the conference or Saturday only.

Review: Hamnet at the Peacock/Abbey – Dublin Theatre Festival

Hamnet, as the play’s programme informs us, is just one letter away from greatness. It’s a predicament that haunts the play’s central character, Hamnet Shakespeare, who is based on the real-life son of William Shakespeare. In the play, Hamnet is close to great things – his father, literary fame, knowledge, life, death – but is tragically trapped on their margins. In one hour and with just two actors, Hamnet plucks its titular hero from the side-lines and makes him the centre of attention to tell his story.

From his opening lines as the eleven-year old Hamnet, Ollie West arrests the audience’s attention and never lets go. As a ghost and in asking the audience “Who’s there?”, before telling us “I’m not allowed to talk to strangers”, Hamnet recalls the opening of Hamlet and indicates that fourth-wall breaking will be par for the course. The audience will be both spectators to and participants in Hamnet’s working through of some big and very personal questions – What makes a man great? Why do we suffer? Why do we make art? Why would you choose “not to be”? Are some people born bad? When they’ve never really lived, why do children die? Does his father prefer him or Hamlet? Why did they see so little of one another? It is remarkable that in spite of the gravity of these questions and of Hamnet’s situation, the play is packed with comedy. For instance, Hamnet’s youth is highlighted as he energetically knocks out a Johnny Cash tune on his keyboard, gives a new friend tips on how best to play dead (the key is to stay still and not breathe – wannabe actors take note!), and stuck for answers he pulls out his phone to ask Google. As the play’s authors have crafted a fine balance between tragedy and comedy, West has plenty to work with and he ably shifts between the tones and the media (stage and film) of this production – no small feat for any actor, never mind a pre-teen boy.

K800_HAMNET-3177 - Dead Centre - 2017

Hamnet sees himself on the video – Image credit: DeadCentre.org

Exploring the performative and critical history of Hamlet, David Bevington observes that the play “has now evolved into a cultural expression of what we as a society have become today” (Murder Most Foul, 2011: vii). Like its more famous ancestor then, Hamnet tackles not only existential questions, it seeks in part to express and examine the state of contemporary society (“to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature” [Hamlet, 3.2]). Hamnet and his father Will are trotted out for our entertainment, but the play frequently forces the audience’s gaze back on itself. This is achieved both literally through the backdrop of a live video that shows the theatre and metaphorically as the play pokes at the suppurating wounds in modern life. Hamnet’s targets are near universal and many hit close to home; the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, Donald Trump’s presidency, celebrity culture, the double-edge sword that is technology, and child-rearing practices (including the Work/Life balance which is an ideal but more often another source of guilt for the working parent), all fall within the bounds of the characters’ discussions.

Hamnet 2017 - H in white makeup - deadcentre.org

Hamnet faces the video screen – Image credit: DeadCentre.org

Throughout, Hamnet offers several opportunities to play “spot the reference”. Hamnet’s speeches are peppered with Shakespearean quotations and allusions and at other times the play lifts wholesale from the canon. Hamlet is the key source, but we also hear most of Constance’s “Grief fills the room up of my absent child” speech from King John; as Hamnet misses his sister there are echoes of the separated twins of Twelfth Night and Comedy of Errors; Falstaff and Hal’s play acting in Henry IV Part 1 springs to mind when Hamnet plays at being Hamlet meeting Old Hamlet; and there are touches of Act 5 of Antony and Cleopatra when Hamnet worries whether in the future some actor will play him on stage, but botch the job.

The play is more than a tapestry of Shakespearean references though, and even as it draws on Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, it is something fresh, original, and striking. In the days since I have seen Hamnet, I’ve thought about it again and again – it is a prismatic work, turning the play over in my mind I keep seeing new facets, questions, and ideas – and I’m only certain of one thing: I want to see it again.

Hamnet is a Dead Centre and Abbey Theatre co-production and is written by Ben Kidd and Bush Moukarzel, with William Shakespeare. Cast and production details here.

Hamnet runs as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival until 7th October – tickets here –  before touring to Europe and Asia. There will be a Post-Show Discussion on Thursday 5th October, with members of the company.