Dear Professor Shultz,
I am very enthusiastic about this course.
As I attended the last transfer student orientation, I did not appear in your roll this afternoon, nor am I yet seeing our course on the e-learning site. As I understand it, you had sent out two e-mails which I would appreciate the opportunity to read. Also, the link to the syllabus is not yet available. So I look forward to reading those documents. I know these technical things take some time and you have many students to interact with.
On the up-side, I found the Backwards & Forwards book in the downtown library and am currently at work absorbing that into my brain. It is quite economical and direct in its approach, which I find refreshing. Also, I had an opportunity to examine your instructor/actor web page and view a few of the much-discussed (even this afternoon it was spontaneously and fondly mentioned in passing by a fellow student) graph-analysis of the myriad of Shakespeare works. Wow! I suppose that looks rather daunting (and it probably must have been to a certain extent) to your average freshman, but what a fantastic way to absorb a play at much deeper levels. I particularly like your ‘detective’ analogy in approaching the material for this course. I am a Big Sherlock Holmes fan here, so that entirely works for me. [Basil Rathbone, and the late great Jeremy Brett–who may have actually become Sherlock Holmes in reality before his untimely passing–being my favorite actors in the role.]
In the Backwards & Forwards book, our author Ball mentions that simply evaluating the ‘trigger’ and ‘heap’ of each action in a play (Shakespeare is particularly mentioned), one can go further than years worth of cursory lectures. And that was only one or two sentences of direction in Ball’s manuscript. Incredibly dense, in all the right ways!
I look forward to the challenges awaiting me in this course, and at UF’s theatre program in general.
See you Friday.
— Tom Miller