HWS Theatre’s 2015-2016 Frame/Works series will conclude with featured speaker Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature Rob Carson, who will present “John Webster and the Shakespeare Industrial Complex.” The event will take place on Friday, April 15 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Coxe Hall 7.
In his talk, Carson will introduce the playwright John Webster, a near contemporary of William Shakespeare’s who wrote the Jacobean tragedy “The Duchess of Malfi,” a play that many scholars consider to be the equal of Shakespeare’s best works. Award-winning playwright Johnny Drago has modernized and adapted the piece into “Duchess.” Premiering at HWS, Drago’s work will run on Thursday and Friday, April 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday, April 16, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the McDonald Theatre of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts.
During Frame/Works, Carson will discuss the challenges that Webster’s work and a host of other remarkable playwrights’ efforts face in a world that continues to be dominated by the Shakespeare Industrial Complex. Carson will invite attendees to think broadly about questions of production and adaptation in theatre and other arts. The talk is free and open to the public.
Frame/Works attendees are encouraged to see “Duchess” that evening. Tickets are available at the College Store, Area Records and in room 202 in the Gearan Center between 2 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will be a limited number of tickets free for students one hour prior to each performance. All other tickets are $5.
In his scholarly work, Carson has published essays about Shakespeare and early modern skepticism, Shakespeare and early modern resistance theory, and Shakespeare and the linguistic turn in philosophy. He is currently completing revisions on his first book, “Every Third Thought: Shakespeare and the Early Modern Play of Ideas,” and is working on two other book projects, “Shakespeare and the New Elizabethans” (which considers how Shakespeare was used to re-shape British identity in the years following World War II) and “The Shakespeare Commons” (which examines early modern forms of collectivity, communicative action and distributed cognition).
Frame/Works is a program designed to draw connections between scholarly examination and artistic practice. Scholars are invited to present their research on a play, playwright, historical moment, genre or style in a pre-show lecture prior to a performance. Following the performance, audience members are invited to participate in a post-show talkback with members of the cast and creative team. Taken together, the pre-show lecture and the post-show talkback, “frame” a “work” of theatrical art.