My work centers around Shakespeare and world drama. My favorite plays to teach are Shakespeare’s history plays and the problem comedies. Students have often had fewer opportunities to study these plays than some of the more popular comedies and tragedies, and they are frequently surprised by how much they love such plays as Measure for Measure; All’s Well That Ends Well; Henry IV, Part One; and Henry V. No matter how often I teach these plays, I love hearing the students’ ideas. When I leave my Shakespeare class, it’s almost impossible to wipe the smile off my face. Teaching Shakespeare doesn’t feel like work to me — it feels like a privilege.
I also have deep interest in drama from around the world and in different time periods. Part of this interest comes from being a performer. As a high school and college student, I was heavily involved in music and drama, performing whenever I had the opportunity. I always remind my students that our literary efforts of interpretation have a symbiotic relationship with the stage. Recently, I had my students memorize short speeches from Shakespeare and perform them in class. Not to let myself off the hook, I also memorized and performed a speech. It was an amazing experience for all of us — even me! I found new insight in a text I’d read too many times to count simply by memorizing and performing the speech. The students were also able to understand and engage with the language better through their efforts.