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 (#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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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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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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Forensic Friday (#11)

Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy …

BH frankie howerd
Frankie Howerd in Up Pompeii (1971): “You’ve seen the ring she had on? Well, allegedly, that was given to her by her fiancé when she was eighteen, and he jilted her, and she hasn’t had it off since!”

Maybe it’s growing up in the 70s, but I enjoy an infantile dirty joke as much, if not more, than the next fellow.  They don’t always work in the plays, or perhaps audiences are now vastly more sophisticated: I can imagine that even the weakest ones would have had them rolling in the aisles at The Globe.

This week, I decided to work my favourite Shakespearean knob-gag … ooh err!

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QotW (#57) 17 September 2018

BH organise-fish-solidarity-hi
ORGANIZE!

Why do I keep reading books about the plays, about the contextual crucibles in which they were cooked up?

Because there’s always something new to learn, or an angle that I hadn’t considered before.  And that’s where this week’s QotW comes in.

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