Horrorshow!

Friday_the_13th_(1980)_theatrical_posterTextualities 2016 was literally on Friday 13th.  I had been dreading it since September 2015 when I heard about it being part of the MA – alongside the Wikipedia editing.  So even though it was awful to have to drop out of the MA to return to London for a month in January 2016, at least it was a relief not to have to face these technical challenges.

In 2017 the date was less threatening. Friday 10th.  But when I heard the date it was seared into my brain as if by a hot iron.  Everything in my life became divided into: before the mini-conference and after it.  Because I did know that I would survive it.  I booked tickets for Enda Walsh’s Ballyturk at the Abbey in Dublin for Saturday 11th.  Here are Emilio and Maria     (photo: Josephine Fenton) ready to see the play.

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When the day came I was no longer nervous.  Either I was numb as my nerves could support no more effort or I was as well prepared as I could be and I could do no more.  And I knew that my mate Emilio would be coming to support me.

Also it was just so great seeing everyone ready to go.  Daniel Lynch in a suit is a sight for sore eyes.  And there were some amazingly elegant high heels on display.  Donna was in the room and when she is there I always feel calm.  Annie and Rebecca had my back on technicalities. They were both so kind and so competent.  It would all be cool.

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But the morning was all about other people and their work.  For me the star of the day and of the week was Ellen Reid.  Her activism in support of feminism, and, in particular, Repeal the Eighth is, as I said from my position of chair of her panel, GLORIOUS.  She had told me the previous day that she kept bursting into tears.  I thought of King Lear ‘And let not women’s weapons, water drops/ Stain my man’s cheeks’.  I absolutely do not want Ellen crying, for feminist reasons.  ‘You think I’ll weep?  No I’ll not weep.’

And, of course, on the day there was no sign of tears.  Rather we heard an excellent presentation on Irish women’s protest poetry which linked out to other aspects of marginalisation.  I had been impressed by Ellen’s previous blogs and I was particularly struck by the post showcasing this film.

Unknown.jpegAmong others I also loved Rebecca’s presentation on William Godwin and wanted to get into discussion with her about the play Mary Shelley by Helen Edmundson, a work which investigates Mary’s relationship with her father, Willian Godwin.  The father does not come out of it very well.  Edmundson has done loads of research mainly at the Bodleian Library at Oxford.  But I also wanted Rebecca to know about the wide range of letters and papers from the family that are available at http://www.bodley.ox.ac/dept/scwmss/wmss/online/1500-1900/abinger/abinger.html

Actually the whole day was brilliant although perhaps the most exciting research is that which Lena is doing in terms of German business in Ireland.  Now that is in the real world!

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Siobhán is working on famine roads and I think her thesis will be fascinating.  I am looking forward to reading it.  I saw an earlier iteration of her presentation last semester in Irish Studies – I was auditing a unit. She has done so much work and her delivery, like Annie Curran’s on John Huston, was authoritative.

Unknown.pngSo we got through with nothing worse than a bit of a headache.  And now I will never be frightened of Friday 13th or Friday 10th or Pecha Kucha ever again.

All that is left to do is write the thesis.  Easy Peasy! ???

Works cited

Edmundson, H. Mary Shelley. London: Nick Hern Books. 2012. Print.

Walsh, E. Ballyturk. London: Nick Hern Books. 2014. Print.

 

 

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Paddling with Pecha Kucha

images-4.jpegI lived for a full year from first hearing the phrase Pecha Kucha to understanding what it meant.  I thought it was thing for a presentation like emaze or Prezi or PowerPoint.  But it turned out to be a structure or discipline.  20 x 20.

Below is my absolute favourite tips page.  Love my green images?

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snake and robin

In over 35 years of teaching I had never done a slide presentation although I have seen many during training sessions and rarely enjoyed them. Most of my colleagues taught using presentations on whiteboards in every lesson.  I thought it might work well for maths or even history.  But English Literature or Theatre Studies?  Wouldn’t it be a stultifying way to teach? A way that might lead one to repeating the same lesson year-on-year for a completely different cohort of students?  I did show images on the white board.  They were just never an ordered presentation with bullet points.

So Luddite as I am I was not happy about this section of our MA in Irish Writing and Film.  But it has to be done.  I thought I would go for PowerPoint as my partner is a whizz with that.  Of course he had no idea what Pecha Kucha meant either.  When he saw what it was he felt that he had little to offer as it was not to his taste at all.  He prefers to be in control of the timing and to be able to play some appropriate music.  And pause for a few jokes.  And take questions as appropriate.  But he did agree to listen to my practice run.  I don’t think he thought much it. images.png

Advice from lecturers and peers has been that I should tell a story. I like a story. I like  Enda Walsh‘s story.  It is very interesting. He loves to tell it too.  In interview after interview you can find Enda Walsh telling his story.  And it’s more or less the same story every time he tells it.  The same key anecdotes offered up to the listening or reading public.  So there is no problem with a story.  But a story is generally chronological and descriptive – not very academic or analytical.  Nevertheless I will tell the story as it will be nice for people to hear it.

As Enda Walsh is a playwright and works in a visual art form there are lots of images to choose from.  Sadly most of these are close-ups of actors and I was looking for pictures of the entire sets.  I found some on set designers’ websites and on the GIAF website but these were not high resolution. Nevertheless they are in the Pecha Kucha because in spite of the reprographic quality they show the story I want to tell.

As I have boringly repeated to my peers many times, I went to Textualities16 last year.  It was great.  I saw lots of excellent presentations – each was excellent in its own way.  Some were breathtakingly skilful and creative technically, others gave brief but interesting insights into subjects about which I know zilch.  One was just a roller-coaster, delivered-too-fast, hilarious tour-de-force about Being John Malkovich.

My Pecha Kucha is complete.  The slides are chosen and ordered.  The narrative is written.  I forgot to do the storyboard thing but never mind.

Others are beavering away at the online presence and organisational matters.  Thanks to all of them.  Soon the day will come and we will strut our stuff.  Then it will be over.  Bring it on.

There are no works to cite.  Just follow the links.