Listen to a conversation between a student and a professor.
OK, let's see, right. Modern stagings of a Shakespearian classic.
Well, like I told you last week, I think that's a great topic for your paper.
So the title will be something like... um...
I'm not really sure. Probably something like 20th century stagings of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Yes, I like that.
Straight forward into the point.So how is the research going?
Well, that's what I came to talk to you about.
I was wondering if you happen to have a copy of the Peter Brook production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in your video collection.
I've been looking for it everywhere, and I've have a really hard time tracking it down.
That's because it doesn't exist.
You mean in your collection ?Or at all?
I mean at all.
That particular production was never filmed or recorded.
Oh, no, I had no idea. From what I read, that production like, it influenced every other production of the play that came after it, so I just assumed it'd been filmed or videotaped.
Oh, it definitely was a landmark production and it's not like it ran for just a week.
But, either was never filmed, or if it was, the film has been lost.
It's ironic, because there is even a film about the making of the production.
But none of the production itself.
So now what will I do? If there's no video.
Well, think about it. This is the most important 20th century staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream, right?
But how can I write about Brook's interpretation of the play if I can't see his production?
Just because there's no recording doesn't mean you can't figure out how it influenced other productions.
I guess there is enough materials around, but it'll be a challenge.
True, but think about it, you're writing about dramatic arts, the theater, that's the nature of theater, isn't it?
You mean because it's live, when the performance has finished...
That's it, unless it's filmed, it's gone.
But that doesn't mean we can't study it.
And of course some students in this class are writing about productions in the 19th century, there're no videos of those.
You know, one of the challenges for people who study theater is to find ways of talking about something that's really so transient, about something that, in a sense, doesn't exist.