Dr. Pangallo Discusses Playing Shakespeare

    Playing is serious work, and playing Shakespeare among the most serious work of all. Mastering the rich language and complex characters of Shakespeare’s plays has been the highest goal of western theater for hundreds of years. To perform Shakespeare is to make contact with the deepest, truest, funniest, saddest, most persistent and most genuine aspects of our humanity. Today high school students are usually introduced to his plays as assigned reading in a classroom, but this course will re‐introduce students to his plays as they were originally written: as scripts for lively, and living, performance.

    Course Description: Performing Shakespeare
    July 26th - August 8th

    Over the past four hundred years, we have made Shakespeare into one of the most intimidating cultural icons in the world. Because of this, students often dread his plays – but this is in large part because they are often taught as books to be read rather than, as they were intended, scripts to be performed. On the page, his language is dense and often confusing; but on the stage, that language becomes engaging, moving, and truly alive. Performing Shakespeareintroduces students to a theatrical approach to mastering the works of the greatest playwright in the English language. The course is for all students, including those who have no prior experience with performance and those who have no prior experience with Shakespeare.

    While the two weeks culminate with student performances of scenes, the course is process-centered, with an emphasis on practical experience and collaboration. Students will analyze a Shakespearean character from an actor’s perspective, they will decode clues about action and emotion in Shakespeare’s verse and prose, they will map out the theatrical structure of the Shakespearean scene, and they will experiment with different ways of translating all of those into a compelling and original performance. Through improvisational games, exploration of the text, movement, production design, and experimentation and rehearsal, students will come away with the skills of cooperation, creativity, and critical thinking that will serve them when they approach any complex text or any great challenge.

    Apply online at www.umass.edu/summer/precollege

    Maker Technologies and the Internet of Things

    Once upon a time, I was nearly laughed out of the room for suggesting that, someday in the distant future, everyone would have their own computer. Now, of course, you probably have several computers. But you actually have a lot more computers than you think.

    Some of your computers are in obvious places, like your laptop or cell phone or game system. But others are invisible to you: In your car. (Your car probably has multiple computers in it already!) In your microwave. In your television.In your refrigerator. In your thermostat. Did you know there is probably a tiny computer inside your microSD card? (It's a modified ARM processor that maps out bad memory location and remaps the file-system so the FLASH memory gets exercised evenly).

    Soon, there will be computers inside everything. Imagine your disposable soda cup at the restaurant with a video advertisement playing on the cup! Or food packaging that turns black (or green or yellow) when it's expired. But the next really big step will be that these computers won't just be standalone computers: they'll be networked and able to talk to one another. Welcome to the Internet of Things.

    We're offering a class about Maker Technologies and the Internet of Things because, although the future is not quite here yet, you can already start exploring this new world. And begin developing the basic skills that will allow you to start using these technologies immediately.

    Some of the skills are basic: Navigating the Linux operating system using the bash shell and a text editor; Applying fundamentals of computer communication and Internet Protocol networking; Programming with Python. Others are more specialized: Collecting and transforming data from sensors using a GPIO; Controlling electronic devices; Building and using client-server applications.

    Finally, there's a dark underside to being surrounded by all of these computers: Who really controls them? Are they collecting data about you? Who can see that data? It's imperative to think through the security implications of these systems to prevent intrusions and mitigate their effects when compromised.

    The course is being offered by Steven D. Brewer, Director of the Biology Computer Resource Center, and Christine Olson, a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at UMass. They are co-founders of Makers at Amherst Media, a local group focused on building community and making technology accessible to the public.

    Former UMass student and entrepreneur Wayne Chang, talking about technology startups recently, identified the Internet of Things as the "next big thing". We agree — and hope you'll join us this summer for Maker Technologies and the Internet of Things July 12 through 25.