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Kyra: Shakespeare, Senior year and Being Generally Sentimental

It’s the first semester of my senior year at Linfield. It almost seems surreal–I can hardly believe that four years ago, I was an incoming freshman, so excited and nervous for the year to start. In some ways, the feeling remains the same. I’m both excited and nervous for the year to unfold. Classes, work, and friends will soon pick up and I’ll be caught in a whirlwind of keeping myself busy while trying to keep myself sane. They say that senior year is supposed to be the most fun, yet the most stressful (I’ve yet to figure out who “they” are, but we’ll just call it the general rumor and consensus). All of my friends are graduating with me this year–we’re all trying to do as much as we can with each other while we’re all in one place and before we scatter across the country. We’re working on weekly friend dinners and study groups. If we get the balance just right, I think it will prove to be a great semester.

I’m transitioning into the fall from a summer of research. I spent my days, and quite a few of my evenings, this summer working on a project focused on Shakespeare and Gender. A fellow student (Kate McMullan ’13) and our Professor, Dr. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner researched the role of women in Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” and his contemporary/successor John Fletcher’s “The Woman’s Prize, or the Tamer Tamed”. We did our own personal research into the plays and assisted the Portland Shakespeare Project’s production of these plays as dramaturgs. My work focused primarily on “The Tamer Tamed”, so I attended the majority of rehearsals for the production and assisted the director/cast with the text, answering or researching any questions they might have about plot, context, pronunciation or the meaning of any unfamiliar phrases. It being a Renaissance play, there was quite a bit of unfamiliar language, so I had my work cut out for me. However, I had an absolutely amazing time working as a researcher and as a dramaturg. I was able to split my time between the McMinnville campus and Portland so I could straddle my own research and my position as a dramaturg. At the end of the summer, DPP, Kate and I had the pleasure of accompanying the Alumni Shakespeare trip to Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival! We were able to see five different productions, including a modern rockabilly adaption of “Taming of the Shrew”, which Kate and I were then given the opportunity to teach the alumni about.

I’ll be able to continue this research throughout this semester through various presentations, and I’m hoping to use the Gender Studies research I’ve accumulated to my senior thesis. I’ll also be working on an honors thesis in the Spring, in which I’m hoping to continue the Shakespeare and Gender theme. In addition, I’ll be DPP’s teaching assistant for his Shakespeare: Tragedies and Tragicomedies. I’m really looking forward to the ways this will help me throughout the rest of my time here at Linfield–especially in all the experience this position has given me. I plan on going to graduate school for Literature, so working on a research project like this gives me excellent experience in the field, studying areas in my interest. Plus, getting paid to do just the thing you love is amazing. I wouldn’t have had any other job this summer.

Working on research throughout the summer has kept my mind fresh and active, so I think that bodes well for all of my classes this term. My senior thesis is centered around Literary Theory and Charles Dickens’ last completed work, “Our Mutual Friend”. We’re working on sending all of our papers to an undergraduate literary conference at the end of the course, so class has gotten to a very quick and intense start. It’ll be a lot of work to juggle, but definitely worth it. I’m also working on finishing up my second minor–Creative Writing. I finished my first minor–Visual Culture–last semester, and I just need two more Creative Writing classes to complete this one. Luckily, I love everything I’m studying so the work isn’t tedious or tiresome. I’m taking Non-Fiction this fall, which is a genre I haven’t really experimented with in the past, so I’m looking forward to testing my writing abilities.

Overall, this semester has already taken me up and swept me along. It will be an interesting experience to see where everything leads, but it’s my senior year and I’m excited to see where this takes me.

 

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The heart of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland

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My Non-Fiction textbooks–the life of a Lit major and Creative Writing minor is a constant flux of reading multiple books.

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“Our Mutual Friend” by Charles Dickens, the theme to my senior seminar in the Literature major and the summation of aspirations for the best descriptions ever, “literary man with a wooden leg”.