Finals, Finals, Finals….

Multi-tasking at its best is the name of the game right now. As I begin to take the dive into deep-finals mode, here’s a list of things I have done/will do over the course of last week and this coming weekend.

  1. After much waiting, gnashing of teeth, and bating of breathe, it looks like we are a GO GO GO! for the launch of Offensive Shadows! About a year ago, my ever-wonderful partner in crime hatched the plan that we should co-host a podcast dedicated to explicating Shakespeare for the common man. He, as a normal smart
    Myself and aforementioned partner in crime during our visit to Gallow Green this summer.

    Myself and aforementioned partner in crime during our visit to Gallow Green this summer.

    person who has been adulterated by having a best friend doing a PhD in Bardy Goodness, had realized many things over the course of watching me at my work: 1) that Shakespeare (and theatre in general) is pretty neat! Like, much more neat than he had maybe at first thought. 2) That normal smart people (like himself) could definitely get into Shakespeare and connect with it if they had someone to talk to about it . 3) That I’m a good someone to talk to about it and, through the process of this talking to, we could help other people get into it as well.

So we set out on our quest. We are going to cover all of the plays in (roughly) chronological-to-being-written order (as much as we can), omitting the War of the Roses cycle for its own special run in the middle of the series. We will be releasing one episode a week and each play will have between three and five episodes dedicated to it. The episodes will include discussions of the play’s major themes, things to watch for in the play, information about dramaturgy, history, textual notes, and special readings of snippets by our very talented friends.

In short, if you like Shakespeare, or think you might like Shakespeare but have no idea where to begin, or know nothing about Shakespeare and would like to learn, or would really like to listen to the dulcet tones of my voice on a regular basis, you should definitely check us out!

The first series (released this weekend) is a set of preview episodes on Titus Andronicus. Through the process of recording these episodes, we learned a lot about the podcasting process and, by learning a lot, didn’t produce what we thought was our best work. As a result, these episodes will be a taste of what Offensive Shadows has to offer, but won’t be exactly what you’ll get in the real deal episodes.

Our first real deal stuff will be out the following Monday and will focus on Two Gentlemen of Verona.

  1. Prepping the last of my presentations of the semester. This talk is on the work I’m doing for my paper on William Brown’s 1821-22 production of Richard III. Some pretty nifty and exciting stuff if you like early American theatre.
  2. Wrapping up research on my two finals papers and transitioning into writing mode. This is one of the more difficult stages of the research process; when is enough enough? There is always something more to learn and when do you walk away from the books and begin to write? For term papers, I constantly have to remind myself that I am not writing a book, I am not expected to know everything about a topic, and I am definitely not going to be able to dig up every bit of archival evidence available. I tend to research until I can see (very clearly) my research looping back in on itself. What I mean by that is that if I’m reading the same facts or the same re-printed letters, looking at the same sketches or the same scripts, or if my sources start to reference each other, it’s pretty clear that I have enough to write a 15-25 page paper. There’s always the lurking gremlins, and generally there will be something you’ve forgotten to verify that will rear its ugly head when you’re elbow-deep in the writing process, but for the most part my philosophy should do you as a general rule.
  3. I turned in my essays on Measure for Measure for Prologue (Tufts’ Drama publication that comes out in conjunction with each of the shows the department puts on). For Measure, I had to write two 800-1000 word pieces; one a dramaturge’s essay (fondly referred to as “Page Three”, guess why?), and one a sort of op-ed piece about some issue which the play brings up (“Page One”). These essays, short as they were, caused me no undue amount of stress. Prologue is disseminated fairly widely and a good amount of eyes will be upon my work for it; it’s yet another way that we graduate students can bring honor and glory to the department. Have I done it with my pithy writing skills? Stay tuned to find out!
  4. Prepping my abstract for submission to the 2013 Comparative Drama Conference. I had a great time at this conference last year, and have been helping the conference
    The CDC conference hotel.  AWESOME!

    The CDC conference hotel. AWESOME!

    chair get an official conference twitter feed on its feet. I’m pretty excited about the possibilities that social media can bring to a national conference like this, so here’s hoping my abstract wows them enough to ask me down there to speak!

So that’s me right now. Excuse me as I take a deep breathe and head down deep into the land of paper writing. I think I’m well-prepared for it at least; and I know that I will always have my trusty French press at my side. Small comfort on this long and winding road to slay the semester’s final chimeras.

Have a great weekend!



With my heart skipping beats for fear of typos and my hands trembling for fear of writing some unknown academic faux pas in the cover e-mail, I have finally taken the leap.
I just submitted my first abstract for publication.
The volume is a book which will be published in 2012 and is set to be the foundational text for the new MA program in Vampire Literature at the University of Hertfordshire.  The papers selected are mostly being pulled from the 2010 conference (“Open Graves, Open Minds”) at which I was supposed to present, but was rudely prevented from leaving the country by an errant volcanic eruption.  Seriously.  You can’t make this stuff up, people.
The CFP requested an 800-900-word abstract of the paper (yay for already having written it! Abstracts are so much easier when the paper actually exists!) along with a 200 word bio.
I hate writing bios almost as much as I hate writing personal statements.  The only thing that mitigates the bio from being the most detested form of personal writing is the fact that by the time the bio is requested, one has usually already been accepted into conference, panel, etc. of the requester.  While I do have to impress with my bio, nothing hinges on it.  The people reading it are already stuck with me (or about to be stuck with me if it’s going to be read aloud somewhere).
As you may have noticed by now, I do things slightly differently.  I’m not the most reverent of conference presenters (though my papers are meticulous and utterly professional).  I bring slideshows.  I am energetic.  I don’t read straight from a sheet of paper.  In short, I perform.  In the bio, I have no chance to do that.  It’s like asking me to take myself and cram it into two hundred words.  There’s no room for personality in two hundred words!  More importantly, if you’re asking to look at a bio, you want to see how professional I can be, not how charming.  I can be professional, I assure you, but I’d much rather be charming.  It comes more naturally to me and (frankly) I think I’m better at it.
Part of me hesitated briefly and wondered if the British academes wouldn’t be thrilled by an utterly irreverent bio.  I mean, they are British after all!  Their country birthed Monty Python and Red Dwarf!  They must have senses of humor! 
….but if they didn’t, then I’d be really up the creek without a paddle.  I’m already at a disadvantage for being a mere lowly graduate student, I really shouldn’t discredit myself any further with witticisms over content.  Even if they were going to be spectacular witticisms. 
So I sent them a serious bio.  But I just couldn’t help myself… I had to write the silly one.  It called to me with its siren song, longing to be birthed into the world.  Since I didn’t send it to them (and since I figure if you’re still reading this blog I haven’t offended you with my offbeat points of view), I’m sticking it here for you to read and enjoy.
Danielle Rosvally is a recovering actor who earned a BA in legos from New York University.  After realizing that she had neither the patience, diligence nor social anxiety to qualify as a real computer scientist, she shifted her focus and instead set to studying something her parents (and good senses) told her she would never make into a viable career: Elizabethan Theatre.
In addition to her University education, she has also studied both the theory and practice of classical theatre at the American Globe Theatre, The Actor’s Institute, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare & Company.  None of these institutions knew quite what to make of her, so she turned to Rutgers for an MA in English.  They don’t know what to make of her either.
Her primary research interests are in the practical application of theatrical scholarship as well as theatricality in traditionally non-canonical texts (whatever that means).  She is a TA in the Rutgers Newark performing and visual arts department where she works with minions towards her greater purpose of world domination via Shakespeare in the classroom.  She also works as an independent educator in Shakespeare scholarship, acting and stage combat.  It’s a lot easier to bend the masses towards world domination when she doesn’t have a neurotic professor breathing down her neck.  She hopes to be a mostly benevolent dictator, but firmly believes that poor grammar is a high crime worthy of being striped down, placed in the town square, tarred, feathered, then stoned to death.  Unless it’s her own grammar, of course, that she will blame on the poor graduate student who edits her papers.
You may follow her exploits via her blog at
…so if you’ve got one of your own, I’d love to read it.  I really think one can tell more about a person by their sense of humor than their accomplishments.  It shows how willing he is to throw it all away and talk like a regular human rather than recitational parrot.  And anyone who can dispense with the traps of formality can easily prove that he actually knows the material in his heart rather than just in his head.  More importantly, it shows that a person isn’t too proud to laugh at himself.  And, my friends, I don’t care how many degrees I have.  If I ever lose that ability, please take me out to pasture with a none-too-friendly literary smack-down and bludgeon me to death with a Complete Works.  It will be well past my time to go.