PTS 09/055: The Rough Wooing of the Monstrous Regiment

Where is the ‘son-in-law’ material in LLL?

 

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Dad, this is Nigel … we’re in love!

Love’s Labour’s Lost:  Act IV

My life has been filled with obsessions, and for reasons too complex to go into here, about twenty-five years ago, one of them was Scottish history.  With no knowledge ever completely wasted, it’s contributed to where and who I am today, struggling with this play, and especially to find any kind of empathy with its male characters.

Put simply, if I had a daughter, none of these men would be son-in-law material …

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Macbeth: Villain, or Victim?

Can I REALLY be an apologist for Macbeth? I think so.

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Kate Fleetwood and Sir Patrick Stewart as the happy couple …

“Something something isn’t Macbeth a villain!?!?!? something something.”

This is someone’s response to my suggestion that Macbeth (and, incidentally, his wife) is one of Shakespeare’s most ‘memorable’ characters.  The ‘something’s are their words.

It set me thinking … IS he a villain, or simply a victim?  Can I really be an apologist for him, I asked myself?

I reached for my Arden …

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On Being THAT Guy …

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You know, the Shakespeare nerd in people’s lives.

In some ways, this post feels like a partner to yesterday’s

Survive in teaching long enough – it IS a question of survival, and of course many do not – and your students grow up, and they leave ‘the nest’ that is your classroom.  Some you never hear from, or indeed see, again, and all you can hope is that the The Long Goodbye … applies.

Others stay in touch.  It’s one of my chief joys this year that some of my Year 11 class from last year pop in and say hello every now and then, even though, or perhaps especially where they haven’t chosen English at A Level.  Don’t tell them that.  Oops.

Eventually, some become friends.  And James is one of mine.

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‘Dews of blood’: Hurricane Ophelia, 16 October 2017

BH ophelia 2Working in a school, of course I met several people who seemed genuinely frightened by the eerie sky that only half-illumined our collective journey to work on Monday – some, only some, of them were pupils …

Conditions really were awe-inspiring up here in the frozen North of England.

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PTS 07/039: (Find Me) Somebody To Love

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Ponytail Shakespeare read-through – Richard III (Act I, scene i)

Larger than life.  One of a kind.  Brash on the outside, to mask an inner vulnerability.  The ultimate showman, whose memory lives on long after his death.  Freddie Mercury is all these things, too

I’ve arrived at Richard III, the first play in my read-through that I know well, with a sense of awe, almost a fear of not doing him justice.  Unusually, I’m as tentative as I might have been had I met him with a pathetic autograph book in my hand (or Mercury, whose death in 1991 touched me as few other celebrity deaths have:  Prince and Sir Terry Pratchett are the only others that I register, emotionally).  My relationship with Richard grows more obssessive and complex every time I teach him, and my recent book-buying seems unconciously centred round the historical Richard and the major players in his accession and downfall.  I’ve also realised there is no way I can do this in the usual 1,000-ish-words-per-act format, so all I’m going to do is try to avoid 1,000 words-per-scene, if I can.

How has Shakespeare done this to me?

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PTS 06/035: The Rally of Revenge

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Titus decides to deploy his ultimate weapon …

Titus Andronicus, Act III

Bear with me on this: I’m an English teacher, and I talk – no think – in similes and metaphors.  “It’s what I do!”, as David Mitchell might say in BBC‘s Upstart Crow.

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PTS06/033: Thou Shalt not Suffer A Queen To Live

(Ponytail Shakespeare read-through) Titus Andronicus:  Act I

My experience of Shakespeare’s Rome is the city where Cinna the Poet is torn apart by the mob for his ‘bad verses’ (Julius Caesar, III.iii), and the antagonistic opening to Coriolanus. So, what first struck me as the play opened was just how thin the veneer of civilisation proved to be.

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