What happens at the intersection of history, art, and commerce, when historical sites and/or historical re-creations are turned into tourist attractions? Some folks on my blogroll have been writing thoughtfully on these questions.
First, Flavia at Ferule and Fescue went to North America’s “Shakespeareapalooza” this summer (a.k.a. the Stratford Shakespeare Festival) and writes about the curious flava of the festival:
[T]he best parts of the festival were the most amateurish, in the best sense of that word: though the actors were all professionals, there was a palpable sense that they and the audience (even the annoying lady with the dyed-red hair in the row behind us, who was loudly showing off her Shakespearian expertise before the show and during intermission) were there out of love for the plays, for Shakespeare, and for live theatre. And if you have to be a tourist in a tourist town, it’s pleasant for it to be one with three bookstores on the main drag, where you can saunter to a tasty post-show dinner at midnight, and where all the other tourists also have rolled-up programs popped beneath their arms.
But the less amateurish stuff was less agreeable. The mainstage production–the one in the fancy theatre, with the big-name star, and with lots of special effects–was dreadful.
And speaking of dreadful–some inept “social media” hack from the Stratford Festival “argued” in the comments with points she didn’t make, in a commentary on the festival that was overwhelmingly positive. Whatever, d00dz! Keep on practicing using those interwebs, will you?
Next, Chauncy DeVega at We Are Respectable Negroes wonders about the practice of sleeping in slave cabins: is it “Honoring the African Holocaust and our Ancestors, or Trivializing their Memory?” He writes, Continue Reading »