Michael Kahn has experienced Twitter. On Thursday, he took part in a discussion about the “Soul of Shakespeare.” The discussion was coordinated by former American Theatre Wing President, and self identified “Theatre Pundit,” Howard Sherman (@HESherman) and the Washington Post’s Peter Marks (@petermarksdrama). Unlike a discussion taking place in a single location, Twitter allows for multiple conversations to shoot off from one beginning. It allows for a multitude of voices, opinions and it allows the doors to open in a way that is impossible when an event is bound to a building. Kahn was able to provide his unique perspective on Shakespeare as text, in performance and in the classroom, through STC’s account (@ShakespeareinDC). Tweets that Michael dictated were denoted using the hashtag #mk.
Unlike one of the conversations held in the Forum in Sidney Harman Hall or on our stages following a production, Twitter conversations do not work linearly. You can try to catch up on the discussion by searching the hashtag #pmdhes or reading the Sherman’s transcription on his blog. However, reading in chronological order is difficult when people are responding and posting multiple ideas at once. Engaging over Twitter is a little like being at a party where everyone is talking at the same time – it’s at once frustrating and exhilarating. You have to choose your conversation and actively follow. Personally, I enjoy that type of engagement. You can choose when you want to add to the conversation and you can choose when you would like to listen.
Due to other obligations, I was unable to follow the #pmdhes discussion as it took place. Instead I waited until morning to work my way through the transcript. I had the intention of recapping the discussion here on Asides Online but changed my mind while reading. Like theatre, Twitter works better in the moment. Instead, I have decided to write a short series of posts over the next week exploring a couple of the issues brought up within the conversation.
In the meantime, here is one of my favorite little exchanges from the #pmdhes conversation: