QotW (#87): 02 September 2019

… and we’re back to school today, for another year’s fun and games.

Cue all kinds of traffic on Twitter and elsewhere on-line: pre-battle speeches from the veterans; advice sought by the newbies, and given by the self-styled ‘influencers’; new teaching-year resolutions declared; virtue-signalling pictures of classroom displays, and so on …

Have I got anything to add to the Babel? Not really.  I’d rather chat about Literature …

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PTS 14/085: Ye Olde Three-Card Monte

three-card-monte

PTS read-through:  The Merchant of Venice, Act II

‘Watch the plays, don’t read them!’

Advice given so often to people who say they ‘don’t get’ Shakespeare – advice I almost always disregard, much preferring the film running in my head as I read.  But there’s one time when I find reading difficult, and that’s the multi-scene act.  It distracted me last time I read The Merchant of Venice, and it has done this time, too.  Just don’t speak to me about Antony and Cleopatra‘s 42 scenes …

And yet, for all that there are nine scenes in Act II, there are only really two plots.

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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 12/076: Keep Your Snake In Its Cage, Boy …

The more I admire Juliet, the more protective I get about her …

BH watching you

PTS read-through:  Romeo and Juliet, Act II, sc. ii

‘He jests at scars that never felt a wound.’ (II.ii.1) [a]

This is one of the reasons why I avoid teaching R&J at GCSE.

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Crimes Against Shakespeare: 012

My only surprise is that Giuliani didn’t use the interview to position Trump as a Christ-like figure, with Cohen as Judas …

BH giuliani-trump
Et tu, Rudy?

Step aside, Alan Futerfas.

Lou Reed had Donald Trump nailed as long ago as 1989, namechecking not just the POTUS but also his latest cheerleader, Rudy Giuliani, in his polemic track, ‘Sick of You‘, which also contains the following memorable and prophetic lines:

They say the President’s dead,
No-one can find his head,
It’s been missing now for weeks.
But no one noticed it!
Yeah, he seemed so fit …

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QotW: 30 July 2018 (#51)

Marlowe probably DID make a hazard of his head by easing his heart …

BH pulp

The more I read about Marlowe, the more I like and sympathise with him – arrogant, frustrated genius, malcontent, morally questionable, and attention-whore as he may have been.  I sense a kindred spirit: my best friend would say the same about me – perhaps with a lot more arrogance and a lot less genius.  As I get older, I like to think that my moral code is finally begining to crystallise, where it was entirely fluid 25 years ago, but then Marlowe never had the opportunity to mellow …

Increasingly, I see Marlowe as the kind of ‘mis-shapeJarvis Cocker sung about in 1995:

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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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