These are discussion activities designed to put you in the ‘director’s chair’—they give you the opportunity to make performance decisions on things on which the text is silent or ambiguous. A post of 350-400 words would be appropriate for the completion of each of these activities. You are required to select and complete four ‘In the Director’s Chair’ discussion activities over the course of the term, and to respond to at least one of your peers’ posts on four different plays. Your replies need not be on the same topic/play to which you responded. That is, you may post on one topic/play and reply to a peer’s post on another topic/play. The replies to others should add something to the discussions (that is, not merely register your agreement or disagreement with another’s submission.) Please ensure that any feedback you provide to your peers is respectful: as the late Wayne C. Booth put it, “Precise demonstration of truth is important but not as important as the communal pursuit of it. Put in terms of Kant’s categorical imperative, When addressing someone else’s ideas, your obligation is to treat them as you believe all human beings ought to treat one another’s ideas.” For full completion grades, you must complete four different topics on four different plays.
Module VI: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Scholars who have studied possible doubling (having an actor play two or more roles) in Shakespeare’s plays have concluded that all the plays could be done with a company of thirteen actors. If the final scene of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was done by a company of thirteen, there would only one actor available after the six newlyweds and the six Mechanical players. That is, we cannot have both Egeus and Philostrate. In the quarto copy of Dream, the final scene begins with this stage direction: “Enter Theseus, Hyppolita, and Philostrate.” In the first folio copy of the play, the final scene begins with this one: “Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Egeus and his Lords.” If you were directing the play, would you include Philostrate or Egeus? Would Hermia’s father be part of the final social gathering or not? Why would your decision make your production better?