Contributing Writer, Gracie Stains
Dr. Andrew Darr, CHS Drama and dual credit language arts teacher, contributed his article titled “Finding Ludonarrative Harmony in the Limited Agency of Ophelia in Elsinore” to the recently published book collection titled Variable Objects: Shakespeare and Speculative Appropriation.
Darr’s essay argues that Elsinore, an independently published video game adaptation of Hamlet is the first successful video game adaptation of Shakespeare’s most famous play
because it effectively blends the traditional narrative of the story with the gameplay, which Darr calls “ludonarrative harmony.”
The idea for this article evolved from a presentation Darr created for Shakespe
are Association of America [SAA] while he was a first-year teacher at CHS. Darr stated, “I prepared for the SAA while I was finishing up my dissertation on adaptations of Shakespeare.”
Darr has been writing and researching Shakespeare since he was a graduate student. “I chose that focus in part because it was an uniter between my love of theater, which was my undergraduate major, and English, which I pursued in graduate school,” Darr explained.
Darr wrote and submitted the original 30-page article in August 2019 and then revised
it multiple times. He made final edits last summer and the book was published this spring. The overall process took three years.
A variety of people critiqued Darr’s work through the academic article peer-review process. A number of anonymous professors analyzed Darr’s first draft and sent revision notes to him. Finally, editors at Edinburgh University Press, the book’s publisher, reviewed the essay.
After all his hard work was completed, Darr was excited when his contribution to the work was finally printed. “Publishing a peer-reviewed article is very time-consuming. Because the essay has to go through so many checkpoints to make sure the information is valid and the arguments stand up to criticism, the process can feel pretty overwhelming, but seeing the essay in print is very gratifying,” said Darr.
In 2017 Brill Publishers distributed Darr’s first publication called “Revisiting the Zoo: Time and Gender in Edward Albee’s ‘At Home at the Zoo.’” He has also released some poetry in the national literary journal Dappled Things and other literary work in his alma mater’s literary journal.
Darr’s degrees include a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a M.A. in English Literature from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and a B.A. in Theatre Arts with a minor in English from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida.
Darr taught for the University of Missouri and Southern Illinois University while pursuing his degrees and worked at Moberly Area Community College as an adjunct professor.
The Centralia R-VI administrators have been supportive of Dr. Darr’s publishing endeavors. Dr. Matt Smith, CHS principal, encouraged Darr to attend the SAA conference that led to this publication. Without that opportunity, this publication would not have happened. Darr is the only contributing writer to the volume who works in secondary education.
Darr feels the encouragement he has received is a demonstration of the “support our district gives our teachers.”