Lauren Tank's Blog

[ENTRY 1] I find it very interesting that according to an article I found, Protestants of Christopher Marlowe's time believed that conjurations of magic and devils onstage actually had the power to unleash otherworldly evil upon the theatre goers. Even when simply going through the motions of a pretend spectacle, such gestures and acts could actually summon something dark, according to their beliefs. How peculiar is that? That must have been terrifying to the audience, even the actors. Did the actors have any objections to it? If society believed such a thing, how did Doctor Faustus ever get an audience? Wouldn't this have condemned Marlowe as a terrible playwright, banished to the depths of historical obscurity?

Also, I find it especially intriguing that religious leaders of the day warned against participating in such controversial nonsense and dangerous tomfoolery, as participation in such a spectacle could jeopardize one's salvation. I would argue that since Marlowe had quite a bit of theological education, he knew that his work would cause controversy, and maybe even unleash some badness upon the world. Therefore, he is quite the rebellious badass of his day. Imagine that - not being allowed to enjoy a theatrical spectacle that you have come to see. I would find living in such a society that dictates what you can think would be rather unsettling. This was the norm for several societies throughout history, so I suppose it is possible to get used to such societal judgement and control.

[ENTRY 2] I wonder why Marlowe was so controversial if he had to jump through hoops to get his plays performed. That is, how did the censors allow these things that would make him so controversial and rebellious in his day? If "Why Devils Came When Faustus Called Them" details the absolute shock that any devout Protestants must have gone through watching Doctor Faustus due to its entanglement with demons and similar notions and opinions that would put the audience's eternal salvation in jeopardy by simply enjoying the show or even being present in the theatre, why was the play allowed to be performed? Perhaps the censors saw through the demonic conjurations and manipulations of magic and saw the deeper religious truth, that is, that one must stay true to God and repent sins in order to earn salvation. At least, I would be lead to believe that by my research. I think this will be interesting to explore along the way. I personally would like to argue that he was a "badass" and rebel of his day, as his work was controversial as it is, and his possible status as an atheist was considered absolutely unacceptable blasphemy by society of his day. In those days, atheists were considered terrible, ungodly (literally!) heathens. People plotted murder against these people; in fact, that is arguably why he was killed in the end, some say. One must wonder, though, why would such religious people want to commit such a deadly sin? Elizabethan society is so complex and strange, is it not?

[ENTRY 3] As the presentation looms nearer, I feel confident in our ability to convey the necessary information to the audience in a way that will truly resonate with them. The presentations I have seen are inspiring and informational; we have a lot to learn from them. I do know, for one thing, that I have to speak up in order to be heard by the people in the back row. Also, it sounds most engaging when one speaks naturally, and doesn't sound like you're reading from a card. I will try to use what I've learned to do my absolute best. I've had so much fun so far working on the presentation. I'm using Prezi and making git as flashy and engaging as possible...but not in a distracting way, hopefully.

[Entry 4]
It is almost presentation time, and the more presentations I see, the more I learn. I find it interesting so far that everyone chose the standard lecture format instead of finding new ways to be creative. I guess this goes to show that lectures can usually be the most effective way to teach a lesson to the class. This seems somewhat surprising and contrary to what we discussed during the very first lesson - the one in which we challenged the space and ran amok, complaining about the traditional teacher/student lecture scenario. It seems odd, but I guess this means that the lesson from Day 1 came full circle.

Here are several goals I have set for myself for the presentation:
1. Speak loudly
2. Speak clearly
3. Sound conversational, but not too conversational
4. Avoid stutters, hesitations, and too many "umms"
5. Keep it short, sweet, and to-the-point, keeping within the time frame
6. Speak in a way that keeps the audience engaged and entertained...I already have some comedic ideas for this element.

I am a bit nervous that I will get up on stage - well, I mean, at the front of the lecture hall - and become too hesitant, too conversational, and overrun by "uhhs," "umms," and "you know?s." I think as long as I remind myself of how much research I did and how much of an "expert" I have become on the topic, I will be fine.

What is it that makes the best lecture? A lecture is, by default, a tad boring, even if it is about the most interesting of topics. I would hope that the Prezi presentation will be flashy enough eye candy to keep the students' attention for a while. I worked very hard on it and I think my hard work will show. Our topic is pretty standard, but if we try to translate our thoughts into an engaging mindset that people will understand, I think we can capture their attention; that is, if we frame our lecture with an idea of how much of a BAMF Marlowe was in his day.

I really did like the idea of building this presentation off of the idea of Marlowe as a badass, but I guess it wouldn't have been sufficient enough to get any messages across. Oh well. I'm sure the presentation will be humorous and captivating enough to get that idea, anyway.

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I'd be interested to know how Faustus even made it to the stage given these warnings by religious leaders. Have you found any information about that? Also, how are you thinking of magic? Are you thinking of it as something not real? At the time, magic was quite real. So, another question: did Marlowe have enough theological knowledge to actually perform magic? Does Marlowe's own quest for knowledge, evident in his Master's degree, parallel Dr. Faustus's dilemma at the start of the play? If so, what do you make of that?

I appreciate that you are referencing the sources you have encountered, but I'd like you to drag that material into these journal entries in even more detail. Quote from those articles, for example. Tell us who those religious leaders are that you mention.

Grade: 80%

I posted these two entries as sketchy drafts; I wasn't quite finished with them yet. Can I come back to them and make them better, as I planned to, or is this grade quite final?

(As I mentioned in an earlier email, you can revise these first two entries if you want)

I don't know if Elizabethan England is any stranger than any other time and place. I understand what you're saying, though. Isn't it interesting how the more information you get about a place, the stranger it seems. You'd think that more information would mean less strangeness, but no. That's one of the great things about historically inquiry. The more you read, the less you know.

More importantly, I can see you deepening your thinking in this second entry by bringing in more information from your sources. Keep doing that! But what do you think is the point of labeling Marlowe a "badass"? I mean, what does that accomplish? How does that label help us in the present to think differently about theatre history?

GRADE: 95%

Regarding Blog 3
This entry seems a bit thin. Don't stop the careful investigation of ideas that you've started in previous entries. For your final entry, I'd like to see you engage with thoroughly with the material you have just read, the questions that came up through the doing of the presentation, the specific high points or low points you've witnessed in other presentations, and/or the ways in which you'd continue to pursue your research if there was more time. Also, you may want to read the individual entries of your group members. Katie, for example, had a long list of "dos and donts" for the presentation, based on things she saw. How do your thoughts fit with hers?

Grade for this blog: 75%

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