Forensic Friday (#03): RIII I.iv.180-183

It’s dawning on Clarence that he won’t talk his way out of this one …

“Do you do ‘PEEFE’* on Saturday nights, Sir?” one wag asked me, to general titters of amusement in C5.

‘Why not?  It’s fun.’ I replied.  And it is.  So why not?

Why not, actually, spend some time thinking again about RIII, I.iv?  Thinking about a grown man who has such a terrifying nightmare that he asks another to sit with him whilst he tries to get some sleep.  About a man desparately pleading for his life in every way he possibly can (see the Blues Brothers, above), when faced with two murderous executioners.  Much more fun than Love Island, surely?

Continue reading “Forensic Friday (#03): RIII I.iv.180-183”

Forensic Friday (#02): RIII I.ii.107-109

Don’t just talk the talk – walk the walk, Sir!

Subtitled: This Charming Man

BH the smiths

What kind of teacher asks their students to do something they wouldn’t do themselves?

My latest Y12 Homework task was titled, yes, This Charming Man – students were asked to analyse the exchange between Richard and Anne in Act I scene ii of Richard III.  Those who were feeling a bit flash were challenged to get in as many song titles as they could from The Smiths discography.

Continue reading “Forensic Friday (#02): RIII I.ii.107-109”

Forensic Friday (#01): RIII I.i.20-21

We can give those long dead words tone, inflection, pace … and meaning.

THIS is what we do, students.

We are archaeologists of the written word.  Remember that.

BH skeleton2We take our soft brushes and gently but resolutely stroke away the accumulated layers of popular misconception, plain bullshit, and systemic Shakesnobbery that surrounds a text until we are left with the bare bones – the words themselves …

Then – armed with contextual knowledge that keeps us somewhere on the Continuum of Plausibility – we ‘perform’ (and that is precisely the word, so enjoy the performative aspect of the work) forensic autopsies on those long-dead words: we dissect, analyse and record our findings.  

Occasionally, what we’re looking at might seem as alien as some of the stuff Scully chops up in the X-Files, but we persevere, we find points of reference, and with care we perform a kind of necromancy: we can practically bring the sample in front of us to life.  

We can give those long dead words tone, inflection, pace … and meaning.

THIS … … … is OCR H472/01 (Drama and Poetry pre-1900), A Level English Literature, section 1, question A … your Shakespeare extract task.
Continue reading “Forensic Friday (#01): RIII I.i.20-21”

A Restless Ecstasy …

Here’s looking at you, H …

BH RIII I i 1.001

So.

It’s been a long, hard, day.  No, really!  In amongst the pre-school meeting; the marking; the trying to keep your errant Year 11s just on this side of hysteria, given they have their second English Lit exam on Friday; the data (two classes’ worth, by lunchtime, thanks very much); the lunchtime storytelling club for younger pupils; the broken photocopiers; and the almost insignificant matter of actually teaching,  you need an oasis of calm.

Or two …

Continue reading “A Restless Ecstasy …”

Crimes Against Shakespeare 011: beware Shakesphobia

Don’t Panic, as Douglas Adams might say. Together we can beat this awful disease.

BH shakespeare-signature-shutterstock2

This is a PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING brought to you by the Boar’s Head, Eastcheap.

There is a deadly, debilitating disease sweeping schools in the UK.  Parents, teachers, and especially students need to be informed.  Many people do not realise they have it until it is too late.  Treatment can be lengthy, and painful, and some patients (err, I mean students) never recover.

Continue reading “Crimes Against Shakespeare 011: beware Shakesphobia”

Crimes Against Shakespeare 010: On ‘Dumbing Down’

This has been on my mind for a while …

BH dumbing down

This is a long read – I say that on a blog where posts often hit 1,300 words, against ‘accepted wisdom’ – so apologies in advance.  YOUR blog is your blog; my blog is MY blog, and I write for catharsis and as a kind of journal, not ‘popularity’, ‘followers’, or ‘influence’.  I was tempted to temper my words with a gallery of pictures, but that didn’t feel right, either.  This post feels a little more personal than most.

In spite of, or maybe because of, constant trawling for Shakespeare-related content, I have only just found this.  Last April, Peter Marks wrote a piece for The Washington Post  (link below) suggesting that Americans are too ‘intellectually lazy’ to appreciate Shakespeare, and fearing for the future popularity of the plays.  My immediate response was ‘you think it’s bad in the US?  Try over here, where Shakespeare was born!’

Continue reading “Crimes Against Shakespeare 010: On ‘Dumbing Down’”

Quote of the Week: 20 November 2017

Fair’s fair: if you think it is important for me to learn what a ‘360 No-Scope’ is, why can’t you get a grasp on similes and metaphors?  

BH periodic table
image:  https://othmarstrombone.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/the-elements-of-language-a-periodic-table-of-sorts/

BE MORE LIONEL MESSI, STUDENTS …

Today’s quote is taken from:  David Crystal, Think On My Words – Exploring Shakespeare’s Language (Cambridge Uiversity Press:  Cambridge, 2008)

To my knowledge, the displays in my classroom had been up since 2012/13 – until this week, at least.

The non-existent magic money tree has been given a shake, and someone in the school has now been given paid time to do this for us.  It’s a bit bizarre, given we’ve had to do it ourselves, unpaid, in the past, which is part of the reason I didn’t bother.  Continuing the general thrust of this post, I felt that making me choose between covering my back by marking students’ work or prettifying the walls was an Rq.  See what I did there?

Anyway …

Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 20 November 2017”

%d bloggers like this: