Well, the manuscript is finished and awaiting the editor’s big red pen. That means it’s time to change gears. It’s conference time. Time to get out there and spread the word around: risk theatre is the new game in town!
Anyone who knows a good site/database with a calendar of upcoming academic conferences please forward a link. After searching around (mainly by Google search), I found a promising looking conference to submit a paper proposal. They’ll send out acceptance letters in late February, fingers crossed! Here’s how the proposal letter looks:
408-1602 Quadra Street
Victoria, BC V8W 2L4
January 16, 2017
To The Organizers:
My name is Edwin Wong and I would like to propose a 20-minute paper to talk about how Macbeth speaks to contemporary audiences. I approach Shakespeare from a Classics background in ancient theatre (MA, Brown University). Here is my proposal for your consideration:
How Much is the Milk of Human Kindness Worth?
Two changes in the Shakespeare quatercentenary offer new creative options in the staging of Macbeth. One: life has become more monetized. Today actuaries set a price on mortality and measure an individual’s place in the Chain of Being by net worth. Two: the downside impact of man-made risks has gone up. They feared the plague, the storm at sea, and other natural risks. We fear Fukushima, bioengineering, leveraged assets, and other calculated risks. Macbeth addresses both these changes.
Each dramatic act in Macbeth is an act of gambling. In the play, Macbeth lays down the milk of human kindness for the crown. By staking milk for the crown, he demonstrates how some things are to be bought by human assets, not cash. Life has value and buys things cash cannot. The play demonstrates how life is not to be valued by an actuarial table, but by the limits of its desires. The play speaks out against life’s monetization.
Macbeth is also a lesson in risk management. Macbeth’s plan is good. But instead of becoming a king, he dies a tyrant. The play speaks out to the dangers of calculated risks. The play is a reminder to the modern masters of the universe, who, in the name of progress, gamble with the fate of the world: more things can happen than what they expect will happen. Birnam Wood is always coming to high Dunsinane Hill. My paper considers how performances of Macbeth, by concentrating on gambling acts and risk, can speak to the preoccupations of contemporary audiences.
Thank you for considering my proposal. I look forward to hearing from you.
Did my best to write an attention grabbing title and fit as much as I could (but not too much) into the 200-300 word proposal. How does it sound?
Until next time, I’m Edwin Wong and I’m doing Melpomene’s work.