First posted January 15, 2015.
At the end of the month, I will represent The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project at La Société Française Shakespeare’s 2015 conference in Lyon, France. The topic of this year’s gathering is “Reading Love’s Labour’s Lost.” In the interest of full disclosure, this is not one of my favorite plays penned by Mr. Shakespeare, and my interest in this opportunity lies in the chance to explain our way of working to a new audience.
This international conversation about Love’s Labour’s Lost, the sister convention of the larger one to be held in Paris on 15 February, will host speakers from France, Norway, the UK and me (the only speaker from the USA in Lyon). A vast array of approaches and perspectives of the play will be covered. The topics range from very esoteric philosophic takes on the comedy to performance-based approaches of exploration. I have the honor of being the final presenter of the day.
My paper, An Unrehearsed Perspective on Love’s Labour’s Lost, focuses on the role of Berowne. By examining parts of the cue script that the Berowne-actor would receive, I demonstrate how Shakespeare wrote stage direction into his texts as well as plot and situational information and suggestions for how his actors may play their role(s). There is a great amount of information to condense into a 20-minute presentation. My exploration is limited to the cues that appear in the actor’s cue script, changes and shifts in the way Berowne speaks (or in the way the text appears in cue script form) and the ways in which they mirror and direct changes in the character. I explain the first two basic rules of performing the Unrehearsed Cue Script Technique and demonstrate how they can affect a reading of the script. To find out what those rules are and to make an interesting discovery or two about the role of Berowne, you will have to wait for La Société Française Shakespeare to publish my paper on its official website.
On a personal note, I am looking forward to spending what limited time I have in Lyon, France’s second city. Lyon has hundreds of years of history to explore in a very small amount of time. In regard to history, I will be turning an extended layover in Turkey into one day in Istanbul, a city I have longed to visit. On this trip, I will be in the air for about as much time as I will be free in Lyon and Istanbul, but I will make the most of my time in these amazing cities.
Above all, I plan to take every advantage offered by La Société Française Shakespeare and the connections I make in Lyon. Over the past year, USP has put a great effort into expanding our presence online and enhancing our local visibility in Pittsburgh. With the presentation of this paper we will put our first footprint in European soil.
-Andy KirtlandThe Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project