PTS 04/024: How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?

BH how many fingers
“‘Four!  Five!  Four!  Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!”  George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)

Ponytail Shakespeare:  The Taming of the Shrew, Act IV

KATHERINA:            ‘And be it moon or sun or what you please,

    And if you please to call it a rush-candle,

    Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.

PETRUCCIO:              I say it is the moon.

KATHERINA:             I know it is the moon.

PETRUCCIO:              Nay then, you lie; it is the blessed sun.

KATHERINA:            Then God be blest, it is the blessed sun.’

(IV.v.13-19)

I so often say to students (usually when we’re looking at poetry) that you should ‘bring your baggage’ to a work.  It’s one of the things that makes re-reading an unexpected joy, as you arrive at a familiar work with fresh eyes.  The ‘baggage’ can, of course, be life experiences, or other works that you’ve read: regular readers will already know that I have a habit of conflating Caliban, Richard III and Frankenstein’s monster, to talk through a sympathetic lens about those three characters and the nature vs. nurture argument.

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Age cannot wither him …

BH 2017:2018 timetable

… nor custom stale his infinite variety.  (Enobarbus:  ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA:  II.ii.245-246) [bastardised by me, obviously]

Our timetables for next year were finalised last Friday, and this is what mine looks like – at least in terms of Shakespeare / EMP material.  It’s more of the same, basically – although I finally lost The Tempest – which Top Set Y11 had voted to study back in the day when I had complete freedom about what to teach.  I think it could be the last year I teach this combination – I want to make at least one change …

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Can you overdose on Shakespeare?

BH will kempe
Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t how we teachers spend our time once the exams are over …

‘Give me excess of it, that surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken and so die.’

(DUKE ORSINO:  Twelfth Night, I.i.2-3)

So, as we enter the final stretch, you’d think that we teachers would be winding down, right?  Imitating Will Kemp in his warm up for his ‘Nine Days’ Wonder‘, by cavorting up and down the corridors of the English block in carefree abandon, greeting fellow English teachers with a hearty ‘hey, nonny nonny!‘ as we pass their empty classrooms?

Not a bit of it, sadly.  Whilst our exam classes have donned their gladrags and tottered off into the distance on their improbable high heels (and that’s just the boys, obviously), we’re left with end-of-year assessments for everyone else, which naturally have to be turned around pretty damn quickly.

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Lend me your ears: support Drew Dzwonkowski’s ‘foolish’ side project …

BH caesarweb
(C) Drew Dzwonkowski

A running theme in the play is how Caesar’s assassination is going to be remembered and reenacted for centuries to come, so I drew the swimmers in modern clothes.

I had a ‘tense’ conversation with a Y10 lad today.  He has about a week to work on a 5-minute or so presentation.  The subject is entirely open to him, but it ought to be something he has sufficient interest in that he can produce a structured, coherent talk, with the ability to think on his feet and answer potentially tricky questions on it afterwards (if he wants to get a decent mark).  It contributes towards his GCSE qualification under the new specification, and he could be asked to reprise the performance at our school’s ‘Work-Ready Day‘ in two weeks’ time: an important shop window for pupils to get noticed by major local employers, where talent HAS been ‘spotted’ in the past.  And ‘scouted’.  Despite the fact that the students would rather eat their own tongues than do the presentation once, let alone twice …

Why am I telling you this?

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PTS 03/020: The Enemy Within

BH red menace
You never quite know who’s working for the other side, do you … ?

Is it me, or does the guy in the picture look like a young James Comey?

Henry VI part III: act V

So, very belatedly, we reach the end of the road for Henry VI, and of history plays for a short while.  I’m sad to say goodbye.  The comedies aren’t generally my favourites, and these three HVI plays have been ones I’ve unjustly avoided until now.  It’s been a brilliant rollercoaster ride.

Last time round, I said there could only be one, and finally, mercifully, someone does for Henry.  And we all know who that someone is, right?  Only one man for the job …

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