Trilogy Day at The Globe: 03 Aug 2019

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All the world’s a stage.  Image: me

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named (Henry V: IV,iii)

IF their legs are still working, that is.  Shakespeare’s Globe staged three plays last Saturday, and a ‘happy few‘ of us bought groundling tickets for the trilogy.  Here’s how I got on. [spoilers ahead]

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PTS 015/093: Man-Crush alert!

Hotspur Kate
Joe Armstrong and Michelle Dockery

PTS read-through:  1 Henry 4 Act II, scene iii

How can anyone, male or female, gay or straight, NOT fall for Harry Hotspur?

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Three: it’s the magic number …

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image:  The Globe.  Excitement:  it’s all mine!

It’s been a long, hard year, and I need a real treat …

Whilst it’s not all been bad news, Spring Term was dominated by an insidious, invidious, but ultimately innocuous illness that lingered like an unwelcome guest at a party, refusing to take all the hints I could throw at it that it needed to exit stage left.  Summer Term replaced that with a series of professional setbacks and niggles that have led to my heavy-hearted decision to leave a school I always thought I would (eventually) retire at, and where I work daily alongside some of my closest friends.  ‘You do the math‘, as Shakespeare never said.

I’m currently open to offers inside and outside the profession, by the way …

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[book review] Tracy Borman: The Private Lives of the Tudors

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Tracy BormanThe Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain’s Greatest Dynasty (Hodder & Stoughton: London, 2016)

A salutary warning for would-be 21st-century celebrities?

Francis Bacon calls it correctly, as he so often does:

Men in great place […] have no freedom; neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire, to seek power and to lose liberty: or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man’s self. [a]

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Half-Term Book Haul

An almost ascetic book haul this time out …

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Sure, it’s only a week away from school, and I ought to be able to control myself.  Many of you will also have a handle on the state of my bookshelves – I have no space for these, and yet.  Half-terms are an opportunity to catch breath in more ways than one.

Some would suggest I oughtn’t to have bought anything; I like to think of this as a fairly restrained Book Haul, all sourced from the second hand bookshop about 300 yards from ‘her place’.  So, what and why …

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Forth, and Fear No Darkness …

“DO panic tomorrow. For 5 minutes. Then dive in.”

BH ride of the rohirrim

Tomorrow is the Year 12 end of year exam …

150 minutes.  Three questions, on Richard III, Edward II, and Tennyson‘s ‘Maud‘.  And despite my best efforts, my class have been increasingly panicked, increasingly convinced that a ‘U’ grade will result in their being kicked off the course.  Most of my free periods this week have been taken up in reassurance and revision.

It’s been contagious:

Open your ears! For who could possibly block them when loud Rumor speaks? (2HIV)

And it’s been unhelpful.  For a certain type of student, fear of failure is the biggest barrier they have to succeeding.  Whoever propagated this ‘you’re getting kicked out’ myth needs a kick in the codpiece.

One of the latest things I asked my students to consider was the contrast in pre-battle speeches between Richard and Richmond.  Which inspired me to email them my own, a short while ago …

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PTS 11/066: Alas, poor Richard …

For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground, and tell sad stories of the death of kings …

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PTS read-through:  Richard II, act III (part ONE)

Witnessing the utter disintegration of a human being – even a fictional one – is, I’d suggest, an uneasy, distressing experience.  And yet … 

Voyeuristic shame accompanies the compulsion to keep spectating what is usually such a private affair.  My first experience of this type of slow-mo car-crash literature was Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, when I was about 12.  It scarred me – I’ve never quite been able to revisit Michael Henchard’s self-induced immolation; it also, I think, gave me my first seductive bittersweet taste of tragedy.  Like that initial stolen underage drink, whilst I wasn’t quite sure I liked it, I wanted another – just to be certain.

Richard’s collapse is the most devastatingly beautiful in Shakespeare, perhaps in the wider canon: it begins here, spanning three poignant acts. 
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