It’s certainly been a strange year, but not without its bright spots. This collage covers a few of my highlights of 2020 (from top left): actually going places in January & February, directing for the Growing Stage’s New Play-Reading Festival in February, so many baking and knitting adventures, wonderful memories with two different virtual play reading groups over the past many months, getting to house manage outdoors at the Back Yard Stage in the summer and fall, reading and collaging the full canon for the Shakespeare 2020 Project, directing a Zoom production of my beloved The Winter’s Tale in November, and re-discovering my love of watercolor!
Quote of the Month
"Pay attention... Rather than try to understand it as it's going along, have it go along for a while and then understand it."
- Carrie Fisher
Current & Upcoming
I certainly haven’t seen many people in person this holiday season, but we have found ways to have some festive “gatherings” in my couple of virtual play reading groups. I’ve continued my remote box office work, and have also worked on some holiday and winter offerings for my Etsy shop (more on that below).
It’s nice to be back to the cozy baking & knitting season, since we’re stuck at home anyway, and I look forward to seeing what creative opportunities the new year brings. If the past many months have shown anything it’s that the next artistic projects may not be the ones I expect, but can turn into wonderful, inspiring experiences nonetheless.
End-of-Year Reading Wrap-Up
My completed reading list from this year is a lot shorter than last year’s in terms of different titles, but I think you’ll see why:
1. The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis
*Highly Recommend - A fun novel set in Grand Central Station of two different eras, from one of my favorite historical fiction authors.
2. The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan
3. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
*Highly Recommend - Such a beautifully written and original contemporary fantasy novel!
4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Yes, this would be the reason (along with all my Shakespeare reading) that the list is fairly short. Check out my Tolstoy reflections from July & August!
5. Circe by Madeline Miller
*Highly Recommend - This had been on my to-read list for so long & was so worth it! A delightful epic, feminist retelling of The Odyssey and other connected myths from the enchantress Circe’s perspective.
6. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
… and the complete works of William Shakespeare, let’s get into that below …
Shakespeare 2020 Project: Epilogue
Little did I know when I started this project in January just how important at-home reading activities would be this year, but here we are! I can now definitively say that I’ve read the entire canon of plays, as well as the sonnets and other assorted poems. Early in the year I started writing down some notes and collaging a few production design inspirations after finishing each play, as a reference for future directing opportunities. During parts of the year when other directing-related projects were limited especially, I really enjoyed getting more detailed on the artwork for these collages and they took on a bit of a life of their own. I’m so happy to have all these as a keepsake from this project, and I look forward to seeing what productions they might inspire!
A compilation of the title art from each of my Shakespeare collages throughout the year!
While I’ve got the whole canon fresh in my head, here are a few end-of-year reflections:
Favorite Play - The Winter’s Tale (this hasn’t changed this year)
A few favorite characters - Paulina (Winter’s Tale), Beatrice (Much Ado), Queen Margaret (Henry VI)
Favorite Comedy - As You Like It
Favorite Tragedy - Macbeth
Favorite History - a tough choice, but probably Henry V
Newer Discoveries that I’d like to work on - Henry VI Part 1, Richard II, Cymbeline
Weirdest Elizabethan “scientific explanation” learned from the footnotes - It’s a toss up between the belief that horse hairs would turn into snakes in water, and that bear cubs were licked into shape by their mothers from clay.
Favorite Sonnets - #s 23, 55, and 130
A Crafty Closing
This is where I give a little monthly shoutout to the Etsy shop to which I contribute, Queequeg & Paulina Vintage (on Instagram @Queequeg_PaulinaCrafts). We offer an ever-changing selection of varied vintage finds, beautiful hand-knitted accessories, and other one-of-a-kind crafted items. Currently, I’m most excited about our lovely sets of seasonal greeting cards featuring some of my watercolor artwork (pictured at left) - perfect for holiday thank yous or any New Year’s & winter wishes! Also available are prints of the Shakespeare canon compilation, pictured above.