Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Of Hamlet, Conundrums, Cost Factors–oh my

I have decided that now and then it’s important to dip into the retirement fund to fully appreciate opportunities I may not be up for when I do finally retire. When the opportunity came up to apply for the first ever Folger Shakespeare Library Summer Workshop, I swiftly wrote up my reasons why I should be among the coveted twenty-five teachers who will get to study Hamlet. I don’t know if Midsummer Nights Dream or even King Lear would have caused me to leap without much looking. I don’t even recall what I wrote, I was in such an unmitigated hurry to apply.

Whatever I wrote worked for them.  Come July I’m heading out to Washington DC to learn how to teach Hamlet to my students. Even though it’s costing me about a month’s salary (tuition, airfare, hotel–ooh, I have to eat, forgot about that) my hubs and family and friends convinced me to commit by saying: “Just go already.” They’re right. I would be full of regrets at having turned down the opportunity just because I like to save money instead of spend it. ‘Tis better to be filled with memories than regrets. Shakespeare didn’t write that, but I’m sure he thought along those lines when he trekked off to London for the theater.

I will keep you all informed as I get closer to the event.  I think I’m getting excited–reality emails are arriving about getting prepared for the big trip. 

1. I must supply a recommendation letter in order to secure my Reading Room pass. My local library card will not be sufficient. This puts studying Shakespeare into a totally different realization of *special event*.

One thing I’ve noticed as July gets closer and my departure date, I’m more enthused about seeing Washington DC in movies we watch–“Hey, don’t blow up the White House! It’s on my tourista list.” Or a poke to the hubs “I’m gonna get a photo with Abe. I’ll give my regards.” The MEPA is an excellent fellow allowing me to gloat like this.

I’ve only dipped my toe back East briefly when I attended a Chautauqua workshop back in 2008. Is the east coast still muggy in summer? My part of the planet sports dry  and hot summer fun. Humidifiers and air conditioners are standard issue. 

As for tripworthy goals and accomplishments: I’m hoping Jude Law will stop by. Makes sense doesn’t it? He just did Hamlet on Broadway. I would settle for Patrick Stewart peeking in. David Tennant? I’m also hoping to dig in and get some amazing research done on a Shakespeare project I’ve been toying with the past five years. That Reading Pass will definitely come in handy. Of course, I really hope to bring back such astounding Hamlet lesson plans that they will transform my seniors into iambic spouting Bardinators.

We interrupt this post with an important update:
“participants should pack loose, comfortable clothing for stage work, including a workshop on swordplay.” SWORDS! 

Being a West Coaster, I am so open to suggestions of what I should REALLY see when finding time to be a tourist in Washington DC.

a bit about cricketmuse

I intend to pack a bit more…

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6 thoughts on “Of Hamlet, Conundrums, Cost Factors–oh my

  1. What a great opportunity! Congrats on being chosen! Your friends and family were absolutely right, you have to do it! I look forward to hearing more about it!

  2. This is sooooooo exciting! I saw Stacy Keach do Richard III there. It’s amazing!

    I lived in Bethesda and worked in DC for several years, but that was soooooo long ago. My husband was just in DC a couple of weeks ago, and he talked on and on about how much it’s changed. If you have a chance, you could see a show at the Wooly Mammoth theater. They did wonderfully offbeat productions when we were there. Oh, and you MUST go to Kramerbooks & Afterwards at the Dupont Circle Metro stop. And Politics and Prose. Two of the best independent bookstores in the city. If you want to go for a little stroll, the C&O Canal towpath was nice when we were there. Rock Creek Park, too. The blooms of the Tidal Basin’s cherry trees will be long gone, but it was still a very pretty place. And yes, the Vietnam Memorial designed by Maya Lin is quite moving. I think the reading room at the Library of Congress is a must. Just to inhale the breath of history. And the National Archives. Seeing the signatures on the original Declaration of Independence was an experience I will never forget. Oh, jazz in the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden…

    Have fun with your meter!!

    • Thanks for all the suggestions. I’m hoping to get as much absorbing in as possible. Apparently we will be Hamletting until 8 or 9 pm! I will be across from The LoC and that is on the top of my list to experience. Sounds like you miss enough of DC is do a visit…

  3. Ooo such a great opportunity, the only thing I have seen on the East coast of America is JFK airport, which was nice and clean, with some comfortable seats.

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