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UCLA Magazine Summer
Will Power
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Summer 2003
Will Power
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The work that's done with those resources extends beyond traditional interpretation. In Shakespeare Jungle Fever (Stanford University Press, 2000), English Professor Arthur L. Little Jr., for example, looks at the intersection of race, sex and imperialism in Elizabethan England through readings of Othello, Antony and Cleopatra and Titus Andronicus.

And there are others at UCLA who have found ways to incorporate Shakespeare into their lives. Like art historian David Kunzle who, after finishing a particularly grueling piece of scholarship in his own field, decided he "needed a change" and, at age 61, auditioned for a Shakespeare play. He was cast, and four years later has become a go-to guy for local Shakespeare companies looking for a particularly regal king or duke or royal adviser.

Or Liisa Spink '03. A double major in English and genetics, she went on the Stratford-upon-Avon tour last year with Braunmuller and Post and was so inspired that on the plane home she and a friend starting writing ideas down on the air-sickness bags for their own production of Much Ado About Nothing. Back in Westwood, she founded Shakespeare UCLA, a student group supported by ASUCLA and the Center for Student Programming. Her version of the play — set on the UCLA campus with Hero played as a Bruin cheerleader and Benedick and Claudio as Bruin football stars — ran for three nights before sold-out audiences. The villains, she says with a laugh, were USC players.

Though Spink has graduated, Shakespeare UCLA will live on, side by side with Shakespeare Reading and Performance, the Shakespeare Offshoot Film Festival and all the other Shakespeare groups, classes and events on campus.

It's true what they say: Where there's a Will, there's a way.

Clara Sturak is a freelance writer and associate editor of the Santa Monica Mirror.


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