Scholar

“Staging Sexual Assault Responsibly: Lessons from The Changeling.” HowlRound Theatre Commons. 10 June 2019. howlround.com/staging-sexual-assault-responsibly

Smith, Charlene V.  “Directing The Changeling with a Feminist Process.” Shakespeare Association of America: #OpenSecrets. Washington, DC, April 19, 2019. Unpublished conference paper. 

Smith, Charlene V. "Margaret of Anjou: Shakespeare's Adapted Heroine." The Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare's Queens. Edited by Kavita Mudan Finn and Valerie Schutte. 2018.

 

The Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare's Queens won the Royal Studies Journal Book Prize for 2020.

Acceptance and grants-in-aid for the Folger Shakespeare Library Symposium on “Shakespeare’s Theatrical Documents,” with Tiffany Stern. Washington DC, March 2016.

Smith, Charlene V.  “Re-Creating Shakespeare's Margaret.” Shakespeare Association of America: Re-Authoring Shakespeare in Contemporary Performance, Translation, and Adaptation. New Orleans, LA, March 25, 2016. Unpublished conference paper.

 

My seminar paper discusses modern cyclical productions of Shakespeare’s first tetralogy which led to what Robert Potter referred to as “the rediscovery of Queen Margaret.” The paper argues that more than being rediscovered, Queen Margaret was being remade, for cyclical production of the Henry VI plays created a version of Margaret that did not previously exist, one perhaps never intended by the original author(s) or seen by the original audiences. Margaret’s centrality within these modern cyclical productions was often strengthened by textual emendations, staging choices, and other adaptive moves. Now considered, as Peggy Ashcroft put it, “one of the great female characters in Shakespeare,” Margaret was only able to achieve this status through the force of modern theatrical performance.

 

Smith, Charlene V., Melissa Huggins, and Rebecca L. Hodder, eds. Rogue Shakespeare: Scholarship and Stagecraft in an Ensemble-Based MFA Company. Staunton: Rogue Shakespeare, 2014.

 

Rogue Shakespeare was Mary Baldwin College’s 2013-14 Shakespeare and Performance MFA class. Twelve students embarked on a one-year journey to put scholarship into practice by collaboratively producing and performing in six early modern or early modern inspired theatrical works in a range of venues and in a variety of styles. Our home venue was the recreated Blackfriars Playhouse, benefiting from the college’s partnership with internationally acclaimed American Shakespeare Center and combining academic and applied aspects of Shakespearean theatrical studies. Our diverse interests and backgrounds coalesced into an ambitious “Season of Treason” which roguishly challenged textual authenticity, cultural gender norms, and modern Shakespearean theatrical practice. The twelve essays in this book collectively discuss and debate the processes and results of our one-year MFA theatre company.

 

Smith, Charlene V. "Henry IV” and “1 Henry IV." Shakespeare Bulletin 32.4 (Winter 2014): 752-56.

 

MFA Thesis, 2014: Aural Character Identification in an Extreme Casting Production of Richard II

 

In 2011, Mary Baldwin College’s MLitt/MFA program in Shakespeare and Performance began referring to productions that handled doubling in nontraditional ways as “extreme casting.” This thesis seeks to extend our understanding of extreme casting by exploring other companies’ use of the style and to investigate what elements in Shakespeare’s plays make them amenable to the style, using Rogue Shakespeare’s Richard II as a case study. As the director of Richard II, my three specific goals were to explore ways beyond costume pieces to signify character, to key the extreme casting style specifically to the text of Richard II, and to take the repeated onstage verbal identification feature of the early modern theatre, caused due to rehearsal and playhouse conditions, and transform it into a purposeful feature of a modern extreme casting production. Ultimately, we achieved the first and second goals through the use of a musical score and the second and third goals by highlighting naming through choral speaking and staging. While past extreme casting productions at MBC had focused on signifying character visually, Richard II explored how to signify them aurally.

 

Smith, Charlene V.  “Margaret of Anjou: Shakespeare’s Adapted Heroine.” Shakespeare Association of America: Contending with Shakespeare through Adaptation. St. Louis, MO, April 12, 2014. Unpublished conference paper. 

 

My seminar paper investigates a growing trend within Shakespeare adaptation: the Margaret play. Currently at least seventeen adaptations of Henry VI exist which turn Margaret of Anjou into the protagonist of the Wars of the Roses. Though “adaptation” is a nebulous word, its range of definitions are found within these Margaret plays. Some are single-evening cuts of the Henry VI plays, some are re-arrangements of Shakespeare’s text, and some contain large percentages of new text. Though Shakespeare’s history plays as a whole are more likely to be produced in England, these adaptations are nearly entirely an American phenomenon. This paper ultimately argues the “Shakespeare’s Margaret” was both created through and promulgated by adaptive texts.

 

Smith, Charlene V. (October 2013). Various entries. American Shakespeare Center Blackfriars Conference 2013 Live Blog. Wrote blog entries covering topics discussed during keynotes and paper sessions during the American Shakespeare Center's 2013 Blackfriars Conference. Available online at americanshakespearecentereducation.blogspot.com.

 

MLitt Thesis, 2013: Margaret of Anjou on the Modern Stage

 

This thesis explores the character of Margaret of Anjou in and beyond Shakespeare’s canon in order to assert that Margaret is the first heroine Shakespeare created but the last heroine audiences and critics recognized. The thesis analyzes four interlocking factors that led to Margaret’s emergence: the presence of women on the stage; the advent of Freudian psychology and its notion of human interiority; the performance history of Henry VI; and the political, cultural, and critical repercussions of the feminist movement. The resulting Margaret is a new brand of heroine: powerful and passionate, yet flawed and deeply human. Finally, this thesis considers the ways in which adaptations of the first tetralogy respond to and portray the character of Margaret, ultimately finding that Margaret’s character continues to evolve as theatrical interest in her is a continuing and increasing trend.

 

Smith, Charlene V. (October 2011). Various entries. American Shakespeare Center Blackfriars Conference 2011 Live Blog. Wrote blog entries covering topics discussed during keynotes and paper sessions during the American Shakespeare Center's 2011 Blackfriars Conference. Available online at americanshakespearecentereducation.blogspot.com.