Sunday, July 6, 2008

Shakespeare Boot Camp, Day 1

The first day of Shakespeare Boot Camp went just fine. We had an opening introductory session at Georgetown, which turned out to be one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever been on (and that's saying a lot, since I'm an alum of Michigan State University, an agricultural stalwart that pumped a lot of money into landscaping). There, we received our schedules and an assortment of other materials.

From the sounds and looks of it, we're a pretty diverse group. I think we all teach in the U.S., but several people are from other countries. There seemed to be an equal amount of males and females. At 30, I'm probably on the younger edge of the participants, but there seemed to be a few younger than me. We did some standard introduction type activities - they replaced the Shakespearean insult game with a Shakespearean compliment game - and then we paired up, where I introduced a middle school teacher from Brooklyn who seemed to be our only middle school teacher.

Looking at the schedule of activities, it's pretty clear that this will be intense. We go all day every day, and several days last deep into the night (there's a performance tomorrow, for example, that starts at 7pm, and mandatory movie nights on Wednesdays, and social events like a Nationals game on Friday). Tonight, we met several of the visiting scholars and professors who are here for the conference, as well - professors from Colgate, University of Deleware, Cornell, and more - and they'll be lecturing on various Shakespearean topics. I ended up speaking for a long time with a professor from Colgate, and she seems really genuine and interesting. In a way, I feel like I'm getting a second chance at some of my college literature courses. Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young, and I certainly didn't appreciate my professors or my classes as I would now; I spent a lot of my time deciding what I could fake myself through and what I really had to do, especially if I didn't like something. Like John Locke or Tristram Shandy. Not so here. I've done the reading, have my opinions, and am excited to hear more thoughts about the texts.

It starts tomorrow. I'm going to be commuting to Washington everyday, so I'll be getting to know the MARC train a bit. Tomorrow starts at 11, to give the folks living in the dorms time to get settled. Luckily, it'll give me enough time to hit the gym and then figure out the train thing on the first day.

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