Yes, here we are, believe it or not: the Autumn issue of Didaskalia has appeared on schedule. (Well, almost.) With the first, text-only volume of Didaskalia, I took it for granted that we would appear on time, and we did. But the journal has expanded considerably since then. Dual-format production alone requires time, as all the files have to be marked up from ASCII to HTML and uploaded separately onto two different servers. The listings have to be updated several times a week, and sometimes more than once in a day. The site as a whole needs to be maintained, checked, and updated, with new links added in and expired links deleted. It took days of searching the net via Altavista to collect the current links on our Related Resources pages. Didaskalia deals with a living, growing, rapidly changing field, and it is very easy to fall behind.
Like most publishers of electronic journals, I initially and naively expected that Didaskalia was something I could manage in my spare time and which would not require any financing. Space on the University of Warwick's WWW and FTP servers is free to members of the university, yes. The School of Theatre Studies kindly absorbs postage and faxes. If I or any other staff member reviews a play, however, the cost of transport and admission comes out of my own pocket. It takes hundreds of hours of labor to produce each issue. While we save publishing time and expenses because we do not have to send Didaskalia to a printer, an electronic journal retains most of the staff requirements of a print journal: referees, designers, subeditors, copy editors, markup (the equivalent of typesetting), photographers/photo editors, information gatherers, public relations personnel, etc. I do most of these jobs myself. Associate Editor C.W. Marshall does most of the rest; the Editorial Board assists in refereeing. To the surprise of many whose productions we review, none of us gets paid for any of it.
Remarkably, we seem to be doing fairly well under the circumstances. I frequently get letters from readers thanking me for providing this resource. Over 200 websites, most of them for theater or classics courses, have links to Didaskalia. (Only two of them are mine.) Approximately 300 people access the journal each week. Despite the constraints of our situation, we want to expand our coverage and provide more of the things in which you are interested, including a more substantial central website where readers could find answers to the questions which arrive in my inbox even more frequently than the compliments do. (No one so far has sent any complaints, though surely there must be some, and letters disagreeing with or supporting statements made by our authors are always welcome.)
While pursuing funds is a job for the editorial board, there is much you, our readers, can do to help. It will save us hours of searching if you send us advance notice of productions in which you are involved, and arrange to have them reviewed. If you can send photos in electronic form (as .gif or .jpg files), it will save me a good deal of time at the scanner. But above all you can help by continuing to submit your reviews and articles. While I enjoy writing theater reviews, I did not found Didaskalia to be a star vehicle for myself.
This is our first issue without a theme, though in fact all the features are production reports. Initially the themes provided each issue with a focus, but there are now so many interesting articles available that the themes are becoming a constraint. Articles on any topic relevant to the production of ancient theater (in antiquity or in modern times) will hereafter be eligible for every issue. This issue also offers multiple perspectives on three performances: the RSC production of Euripides' Phoenician Women and the 1996 INDA productions at Syracuse, Aeschylus' Choephoroi and Euripides' Medea.
Issue 3.3 (Winter 1996), which will appear early in February of 1997, will see an adaptation of the Oresteia for secondary school performers and a review of the National Theatre's Oedipus Plays which have their last performances in London this week. There's plenty of room for more material, though, so get busy typing and e-mail it to us by mid-January.
University of Warwick