PTS 13/081: The Curse of Kings

… is that the job is, frankly, shit. And that you have to be a shit to do it successfully.

big mac
Excuse me?  I ordered a kingdom like I saw in the advert …

PTS read-through:  King John, Act IV.

If you’re not ‘born great’, if you want to achieve greatness, you have to put in the hours, right?  Just think of the graft involved: wheeling and dealing; equivocating; making and breaking alliances; sucking up; marrying well (not, alas, for love); adding colours to the chameleon; changing shapes with Proteus; and generally setting the murderous Machiavel to school.

And for what?

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QotW (#63): Monday 14 January 2019

king john donald trump
image: Mashable [a]
I mentioned the other day that I was coming into King John blind, apart from the Disney film and a vague notion of the Magna Carta.  The little I am beginning to accumulate through secondary reading and the play itself is startling.

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QotW (#61): 12 November 2018

BH ken dodd
Ken Dodd (and his infamous tickling stick):  ‘I haven’t spoken to my mother-in-law in eighteen months.  I don’t like to interrupt …’

You probably know my taste for puerile humour by now.

This joke (and there are many versions of it knocking around) has been a favourite since before I got married, a good twenty years ago.  You can imagine how well it went down, the first time I used it on my (rather fierce) ex-mother-in-law.  I received what we might call an ‘old-fashioned look’, with added chilli.  Nowadays, poking fun at someone’s verbosity is also self-referential, because, yes, I unashamedly like to talk!  In my defence, it’s because I ‘live’ in 1592.

Which leads me nicely to this week’s QotW

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We HAVE remembered them …

hedd wynn
Aerial image of Hedd Wynn at Colwyn Bay before the tide rolled in …

Fittingly for the 100th anniversary, today was the most affecting Remembrance event I’ve been to.

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QotW (#59): 22 October 2018

It’s no wonder we love soliloquy …

BH marlowe-and-shakespeare

Regular visitors know that I teach Richard III and Edward II at A Level – coincidentally, plays which seem to have appeared within months of each other, in or around 1592.  Marlowe doesn’t get discussed much in the circles I move in online, and Edward II often feels even more overlooked – so when someone wanted to talk about the differences between Kit and Will on /r/shakespeare (after watching a performance of Tamburlaine), I couldn’t resist diving in.  Here’s an edited extract of what I said:

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PTS 12/074: Carry on, Nurse (and Mercutio) …

BH carry on nurse
I see Queen Mab has been with you …

PTS read-through:  Romeo and Juliet: Act 1, scenes iii and iv

Why is R&J funnier than Love’s Labour’s Lost, or the Comedy of Errors?

Whilst Jonathan Bate tells us that Shakespeare:

borrowed certain techniques of dramatic cross-dressing and comic overhearing from John Lyly [a]

the spine of the comedy here is firmly character-driven, by Juliet’s Nurse and Mercutio. That’s why …
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Pay attention, there’s a test (part 2)

At 18, students ought to be able to handle History plays, but the exam boards don’t seem to like them?

BH KS5 texts

Following my recent KS4 post, I extended my research to A Level – that is the exams taken by 18-year olds before they hit university.  Again, I’d love to hear from students or teachers, especially in other countries.  Here are a few thoughts of my own:

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