Archive for the 'WordPress' Category

another directing blog

June 15, 2006

There aren't many of them out there, which is part of the reason I started Blogging the Dane. But here's one with a post I liked: the director's to-do list just a few days before opening. I especially like this:

-have backup plan for the staging of the “Telephone Room” scene in case the lighting/props cannot be made to work, or made to work properly in the time involved (Friday day)

And this:

-get a good night’s sleep before opening (Friday-Saturday)

Thanks for sharing your stuff, Ian.

Comment Spam

June 14, 2006

Starting to get a little bit of comment spam, so I have turned on an approval setting for comments. Please keep commenting — I’ll check and approve all non-spam comments on a daily basis.

Open Letter to the Essay-Needing Google-Searchers Who Have Found My Blog

May 3, 2006

So I have noticed a recent spike in the readership of this blog — closing in on 100 hits a day. Pretty small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but for weeks it was holding steady at about 30. I'm pretty sure, however, that this has very little to do with increased interest in Shakespeare direction in 21st-century Los Angeles and a whole lot to do with Google's special sauce moving me up half a notch in its page rankings for whatever reason.

WordPress gives me access to the search terms that led people to my blog. My first guess was that the actors who auditioned googled my name. And I do get a few hits from people who searched for "Josh Costello," plus a few hits from people who followed the link from joshcostello.com. But the overwhelming majority of my hits come from people searching for things like "plot summary of Hamlet," "why does Hamlet delay," "hamlet loyalty," "what impact did shakespeare have on english," and so on and so forth. (Though one person searched for — I kid you not — "wife fucking Great Dane" and ended up at this blog. …I have no idea what to say about that.)

I teach acting and theatre history, and I don't assign my students a lot of essays. But I do assign research presentations. It's always very obvious to me when my students plagiarize from the web — the information is bad, it's written in a style clearly not their own, and it's exactly the same as a different student's presentation from the previous year's class.

So here's what I have to say to the essay-needing google-searchers who have found my blog:

A) Your teacher knows you are cheating. You are going to get caught. Unless your teacher is completely senile or drunk, your only hope is that she doesn't care any more than you do about your education.

B) The internet is a really bad place to find quality information. I stand by what I've written on this blog, but it's intended for the very specific purpose of directing this particular production and I doubt it could fit whatever question you've been assigned. The web is great, it's incredibly useful — but you can't just trust whatever you read.

C) Here's the real point: Shakespeare is worth learning about. I know Shakespeare seems really boring at first, especially if you have a bad teacher. But there's a reason you've been given this assignment. There's a reason that Shakespeare is still taught in schools 400 years later. There's a reason we keep putting Shakespeare's plays on stage. I'm sure you're busy with school and work and friends and partying and sports and MySpace and everything else, and taking the time to actually wrap your head around a play like Hamlet seems insurmountable. All I can think to tell you is this: it's worth it. Shakespeare is worth the effort. The more time you spend reading Shakespeare and watching and listening to actors performing Shakespeare — if not rehearsing and performing those words yourself — the easier it gets. And eventually you'll have a moment where the words and the sounds of the words and the meaning of those words all come together to form some completely obvious but nevertheless mind-blowing truth, and the whole world will seem different and more meaningful, and you'll realize that Shakespeare did something truly special and you'll feel lucky that Shakespeare did what he did and that you got the chance to witness it.

Or maybe not. That's what happened for me. And that's why I'm spending my life looking for opportunities to work with those amazing words, despite the almost complete lack of financial compensation, job security, and health insurance. I wouldn't recommend following in my footsteps — but the least you can do for yourself is take advantage of being in school and get to know Shakespeare a little bit.

And it wouldn't hurt to buy a ticket and go see some Shakespeare performed live every now and then. If you live in LA, I know a pretty exciting production of Hamlet you can see this summer in a park near you for free.