PTS 14/084: Why dost thou spit at me?

camel
[title from Richard III: I, ii]
Ponytail Shakespeare read-through:  The Merchant of Venice, Act I

Bring your baggage to the texts‘, I always say …

By this I mean your life experiences, the nature, the nurture, the things that define you, good and bad.  These are what make your responses to texts individual; they are what lets texts get under your skin as you measure yourself against the moral and ethical dilemmas they present; they, as experience changes you, are what make occasional re-reading such a thought-provoking and rewarding exercise.

So why am I feeling so uneasy about Antonio this time round?

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QotW (#68) 18 February 2019

rumsfeld.jpg

First (my QotW comes later), a few pithy words from Donald Rumsfeld in February 2007:

‘There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.’

Something worth bearing in mind as the Ponytail Shakespeare read-through canters on to The Merchant of Venice

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PTS 13/83 King John Soundtrack Album

bh-wurlitzer

Just as this play is hard to pigeonhole, so the King John Soundtrack has easily been the most difficult to put together.

So much so that although I usually manage at least double-figures, but not today.

The usual question therefore takes on greater urgency …

WHAT HAVE I MISSED?

 

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QotW (#67): 11 February 2019

“this it is, when men are ruled by women” – or at least by their groins …

Claudius & Gertrude

Although I’m never going to end up on stage, I often compare teaching to acting.

Non-teachers, think for a second: up to six performances a day, with audiences who require subtly different characterisations from you.  (My timetable goes from Y12 to Y7 without interval on a Friday afternoon, for instance).  That plus the teacher persona you can only shrug off when you’re safely indoors (because even walking down the street you end up intervening when you see pupils in uniform mucking about).  To say nothing of the range of people you have to be – in five minute chunks – at Parents’ Evenings …

No wonder I’m perpetually exhausted.

But if I were asked to play a Shakespearean role, what would be my top three choices?

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PTS 13/082 As in art, in life …

brexit sledgehammer
As Donald Tusk might say, there’s a special place in hell awaiting those who smash us out of the EU without a plan …

[Warning: you might want to stop reading now, if you voted for Brexit]

Ponytail Shakespeare read-through:  King John, Act V

It’s all a bit shabby, isn’t it, at the end of the day?

Act V holds Hamlet‘s ‘mirror up to nature‘ [a]: Shakespeare might be exploring the ‘Commodity’ of the times, but I can’t avoid building synaptic bridges to the realpolitik of the shameful goings on in the UK’s parliament over the past few years.  I ought to be far too old for the kind of idealistic rage I feel, but even at a relatively young age, I’m determined to ‘burn and rave at close of day‘ [b] …

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QotW (#66): 04 February 2019

Tilley Morris PalmerThis week finds me in a sombre, reflective mood.  Maybe it’s the continuation of Dry January (day 35 without alcohol, thanks very much).  There will, mind, be ‘more cakes and (especially) ale‘, at some stage, but not for a few weeks yet.  Apparently, I was ‘more fun’ when I was drinking, so bear with me.

Then, today is my younger son’s birthday: 18 today.  If that doesn’t give a man pause for thought on how time passes and how he has spent his life, I don’t know what will.

Which brings me to Morris Palmer Tilley.  Until recently a footnote in my life, and possibly that or less in yours …

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QotW (ep.65): 28 January 2019

sussex-barn-owl
image:  Hugh Ribbans

This weekend just gone marked the 40th RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.  As the ‘Upstart Crow‘ (or magpie) himself, I’m sure Shakespeare would have approved …

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