James Kearney, English

Irwin Appel, Theater and Dance

The w/Shakespeare proposed research focus group is dedicated to the innovative study and performance of Shakespeare. W/Shakespeare invites undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty from across the humanities and the university to think with and about Shakespeare. Our fundamental commitment is to reading and performing Shakespeare “with” other disciplines in the humanities: not only literature and theater, but history, art, film, philosophy, religious studies, ethics, and political theory.  We are also interested in public programming and the possibilities of creative collaboration.

We plan to program around two related themes in 2015-16: the history play as theater and the phenomenology of theater. The first of
these is inspired by and centered on Irwin Appel’s Death of Kings, a daring two-play condensation and adaptation of Shakespeare’s two tetralogies (Richard II, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Henry V, 1 Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI, Richard III) to be performed on UCSB’s campus in winter quarter. The second theme asks how we can capture, imagine, and study the experience of Shakespearean theater (sights, sounds, smells) in both Shakespeare’s moment and ours. Taking our cue from recent scholarly developments in historical phenomenology and in the study of affect, emotion, and cognition, we will interrogate the theatrical experience of Shakespeare’s plays.