By Mya Gosling

The majestic Blackfriars Bear, infamous enforcer of presentation time limits, in its natural habitat.

Hey! If, like my parents, you’re not on Twitter but are interested in reliving my experience at the Blackfriars Conference last week, I’ve collected my main tweets on the subject here for your convenience. You’ll notice I had a strong focus on bears, as opposed to, you know, scholarly insight. If you want to read more about all the fantastic scholars and practitioners who presented at the conference, check out the American Shakespeare Center blog coverage.

For a quick overview of the conference (and a sneaky photo of yours truly checking her phone like a boss), check out this article: Blackfriars Conference brings hundreds of Shakespearians to Staunton.

And now! On to business! Or should I said… on to bearsness? (No, I definitely should not say that…)

The majestic Blackfriars Bear, infamous enforcer of presentation time limits, in its natural habitat.

Day 1

On my way to #blackfriars19 at @shakespearectr! I usually wear my own t-shirts to conferences, for brand recognition purposes, but this time you’ll have to recognize me from the succession of bear-themed t-shirts I’ll be wearing. One for every day! 🐻

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 22, 2019

Is there a #BlackfriarsBear hashtag? There should be. I’m starting it.

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 22, 2019

#Blackfriars19 Day 1 Report: Reunited with my trusty pocket dramaturg @KatePitt and many other dear Shakespeare geek friends. Wore this bear-themed shirt. #BlackfriarsBear pic.twitter.com/c90D9tQgFF

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 23, 2019

Day 2

Very much enjoying the #Blackfriars19 “Staging Eavesdropping in Shakespeare” session and seeing different riffs on the R&J balcony scene played out. As someone who’s never in a rehearsal room, it’s super illuminating to see the effect of staging on the text.

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 23, 2019

This was a REALLY fascinating take explored in the #Blackfriars19 “Staging Eavesdropping” session. I’ve only ever seen Juliet become aware of Romeo at “I take thee at thy word” and it was so cool to see what happens when she catches on earlier. https://t.co/kMKO9l5DML

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 23, 2019

I enjoyed this staging choice. https://t.co/35PrvYB71q

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 23, 2019

THE BEAR FINALLY STRUCK. #Blackfriars19 #BlackfriarsBear

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 23, 2019

An excellent plot, very good friends. #blackfriars19 https://t.co/sBYgQ6IHBi

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 24, 2019

#Blackfriars19 Day 2 Report: Met the legendary #BlackfriarsBear at last. The score from today’s paper sessions was Presenters 11, Bear 1, but I’m confident the Bear will catch up in the days ahead. pic.twitter.com/r5d7MIXJnQ

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 24, 2019

Rounded off the evening with a very bizarre but hysterical performance of “Caesar & Cleopatra”. Can honestly say I’ve never seen a Shaw production quite like that.

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 24, 2019

Day 3

My favorite thing about #blackfriars19 (apart from the #BlackfriarsBear, of course) are the papers that use @shakespearectr actors to illustrate points. The perfect intersection of academia and practice. pic.twitter.com/2VBRzylSEA

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 24, 2019

Do the professional conferences YOU go to have dance-offs between presenters and the bear who is sent out to enforce presentation time limits? No? Then you’re living your life wrong. #Blackfriars19 #BlackfriarsBear @shakespearectr pic.twitter.com/xV1dpjLdfI

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 24, 2019

Carnage at the Blackfriars this afternoon. Conferences are dangerous business. #blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/NxqKojlcpi

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 24, 2019

Chaos breaks out during the honorific of Roz Knutson at #Blackfriars19. pic.twitter.com/axzyIToMVq

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 24, 2019

Today’s #Blackfriars19 score report:

Presenters 12, #BlackfriarsBear 5

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 24, 2019

#Blackfriars19 Day 3 Report: Witnessed five brutal bear attacks, rocked out to Ophelia singing “Papa Don’t Preach”, and watched a bunch of goobers stab themselves (aka “Julius Caesar”). Typical Thursday.

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

I’M RUNNING A WORKSHOP AT #BLACKFRIARS19 IN LESS THAN TWELVE HOURS AND AM EXTREMELY TIRED AND ALSO WIDE AWAKE CAN ANYONE REMIND ME HOW TO SLEEP PLEASE I’VE FORGOTTEN

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

Day 4

CRAP I JUST REALIZED MY #BLACKFRIARS19 WORKSHOP IS ON **ST CRISPIN’S DAY** TALK ABOUT UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS AHHHHH https://t.co/hlOf3J4jxf

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

”’Interstices’, ‘solipsistic’, and ‘semiotics’… I’ll get ’em all three all ready.” (Cartoonist at a Conference, Act 3, Scene 1) #Blackfriars19

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

Two deaths already at #Blackfriars19 this morning, thanks to Matthew Davis’s marvelously-titled paper “Strange Ways to Die: Some Meditations on Non-Biological Causes of Death in Shakespeare”. pic.twitter.com/pSerV8MAHH

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

18th Century actor Spranger Barry described by presenter Chelsea Phillips as a “legit snack”.

This is the kind of cutting edge analysis you get at #Blackfriars19 and I am here for it. pic.twitter.com/SqlFaOOgJM

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

“If we go by Elizabethan life expectancy, more than half of you would be dead by now.” @shakespearectr artistic director Ethan McSweeny on “authentic” original practices. #Blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/j7rqcmCGW5

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

Doing it with the lights on, @shakespearectr Original Practices style, with an actual OVERHEAD PROJECTOR. #Blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/TCQ5dnNwBC

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

Stick-figure Shakespeare. Intimidatingly fabulous. @GoodTickleBrain #blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/qc9eNGtFA7

β€” Sarah (@ASC_Sarahe) October 25, 2019

@GoodTickleBrain β€œso many people ask why my stick figures don’t have noses. It’s because you don’t act with your nose.” #blackfriars19

β€” Dr. Danielle Rosvally (@DRosvally) October 25, 2019

⁦Mya Gosling ⁦@GoodTickleBrain⁩, being a total boss, leading her workshop, Shakespeare in Three Panels: the Art of Early Modern Stick Figures #blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/K0V9hz75BK

β€” Kate Moncrief (@KateMoncrief) October 25, 2019

REALLY ENJOYING @AdmitMeChorus‘s paper on how Shakespeare geeks interact with Shakespeare performances as opposed to “normal” audiences who don’t laugh at “quondam”. #Blackfriars19

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

Body count at #Blackfriars19 is mounting. @richardmpreiss responsible for the senseless deaths of three more actors. pic.twitter.com/EeI8UuoSvA

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

Edmund: “Which of them shall I take? Both? One? Neither?”

Audience Member: “KILL THEM BOTH AND TAKE THEIR MONEY”@liarwalzak on the unpredictable joys of Audience Activation. #Blackfriars19

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

Even more effective that Chekov’s Gun is Shakespeare’s Laundry Basket. (From Sid Ray’s paper on cueing laughter in “Merry Wives”.) #Blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/l1Pg7wWAVR

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

The badass @DRosvally leading a colloquy on the language of violence in Shakespeare. #Blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/H12aRnSGJX

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

The colloquy on the language of violence, held in the basement of Blackfriars, is playing out over the sound of violent thumps coming from “The Devil’s Charter” staging session above.

There’s something to be said about this but I can’t quite figure it what it is. #Blackfriars19

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

ONLY ONE BEAR TODAY. Do better tomorrow, #Blackfriars19 presenters. (So tragic to watch a disappointed #BlackfriarsBear peeking despondently through the curtains.)

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 25, 2019

#Blackfriars19 Day 4 Report: Had great fun running my 3-panel workshop, learned a lot from all the awesome people who came, and then watched @fightguy stab himself rather ineffectively, but to great effect in “Antony & Cleopatra”.

Presenters 17, Bear 1. πŸ˜’

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

Day 5

.@OSShakespeare shares some great data from @shakespearectr showing people drink more while watching Shakespeare’s histories than while watching comedies or tragedies. #blackfriars19

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

That’s it. That’s Shakespeare. https://t.co/IMopGIlJOi

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

I love conferences because you encounter words in new and exciting orders you never imagined, like “newly-enfranchised body part messenger” (from Steven Urkowitz’s paper on the beheading of Suffolk). https://t.co/9MniFkkl6j #blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/ADjzhLn7V6

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

I regret to inform you that Professor Urkowitz was brutally mauled by the #BlackfriarsBear shortly after this. #blackfriars19

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

Bob Jones brilliantly co-opts the #BlackfriarsBear to demonstrate the power of paws in Shakespeare.

*checks notes*

I’m sorry, that should be “pause”. #blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/OWoEXRjIUi

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

I just realized Prof. Kozusko is from Ursinus College and now I’m VERY MAD that he wasn’t chased offstage by the #BlackfriarsBear. Talk about a missed opportunity. #blackfriars19

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

SAA president Katherine Rowe, delivering her keynote address, worries about antagonizing the #BlackfriarsBear before being reassured by Ralph Cohen that “the bear is on hold” for keynotes. #blackfriars19

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

Enjoying @thehiddenroom‘s crew exploring 19th century acting styles, here comparing the more refined gestures of Edwin Booth with those of his sightly less subtle brother, John Wilkes. #blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/NXbLDtsyGe

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

Following Garrick’s guide to depicting terror (left) and flowing through Restoration-era Goneril gestures (right) with @thehiddenroom. #Blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/fSWpABplH3

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

#Blackfriars19: the only conference where you will hear esteemed academics say “oh god, oh god, I know that bear’s coming” in panicked tones near the end of their papers.

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

Honestly not sure how the #BlackfriarsBear is going to top this assault on Professor Steven Urkowitz. #Blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/RK0zvbypOD

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 26, 2019

Day 6

.@mollytheharper demonstrates how to fend off the #BlackfriarsBear… IF you happen to be taller than it. #blackfriars19 pic.twitter.com/A9wkLp6UUu

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 27, 2019

The last #Blackfriars19 paper session is over, and the final score is:

Presenters 50#BlackfriarsBear 13

(This only counts full interruptions, not frustrating incidents when the bear arrived jusssst as the presenter ended.)

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 27, 2019

They say you should never met your heroes, but, in this case, they are wrong. #Blackfriars19 #BlackfriarsBear pic.twitter.com/Eoqi7X7J0C

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 27, 2019

Final event of #Blackfriars19, the Emerging Scholar keynote, and @KatieNWalker is demonstrating that “emerging scholar” means “scholar who is able to effectively deploy memes to get her point across”.

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 27, 2019

I too had a wonderful first #Blackfriars19 at @shakespearectr. Check out my pocket dramaturg @KatePitt‘s conference tweets for all the non-bear-related joys we experienced. https://t.co/oUH3JUcan9

β€” Good Tickle Brain (@GoodTickleBrain) October 27, 2019

Read more here:: https://goodticklebrain.com/home/2019/11/1/2019-blackfriars-conference-report

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.