Friday, April 10, 2009

SAA: ain't nothing but a party

On Tuesday I reminded my Shakespeare students that our Thursday class was cancelled, and I explained that I'd be out of town at a conference. I'd intended to make a light joke of it--saying something about how while they were all napping and playing video games I'd be partying with 800 Shakespeareans--but no sooner had I said the words "Shakespeare Association of America" than the entire room burst out laughing.

I paused, puzzled. This class does tend to find my jokes hilarious, but I hadn't gotten to the joke yet. Attempting a recovery, I arched an eyebrow and said something about what a crazy scene it was going to be, and how lucky they were to have me bringing them bulletins from the front.

They laughed harder, and I realized that I didn't need to make a joke: the mere fact that 800 Shakespeareans existed (and that we get together and talk about Shakespeare and shit) was sufficiently hilarious to them.

* * * * *

I have no interest in my students knowing just how fun conferences are--how full of gossip and drunkenness and bad behavior--and if they did, surely the idea would fill them with terror and pity as much as laughter. But it's my own feeling that parties have only gotten more fun as I've gotten older and the people have gotten more interesting, and the ability to mingle work and play (and to play with such smart people) is one of the wonderful things about this profession. It's our students, really, who have an impoverished notion of what partying is.


meg said...

Even I have heard of what a wild time the ShaxAss is. I recall several conversations in grad school about which had more bed-hopping, SAA or Kzoo.

Sisyphus said...

"Ain't no party like a Shakespeare party, cause the Shakespeare party don't stop (say wha?)"

Heh. No, that doesn't work for some reason. But have fun and cause a little trouble!

Renaissance Girl said...

I remember reading an article in the NYTimes or somewhere when the MLA was there a few years back, in which hookers complained that, whatever this "MLA" thing was, it was terrible for business, because all the conference-goers spent the whole time screwing each other.

Fretful Porpentine said...

Did you know that there is also a hockey coaches' conference going on at the same hotel? This afternoon, I found myself walking right behind a bunch of coaches and listening to them trying to make sense of the session titles. ("Reviewing reviewing," understandably, had them completely stumped.)

'Tis a strange, strange subculture we live in, and it's good to be reminded of that now and then...

Susan said...

Mind you, as a *historian* of Shakespeare's England, I've long been astonished at the size of the SAA. There are more of us than I sometimes think, but the conference going group is probably about 50 or 100. . . rarely if ever at one conference.