Beat the Teacher (part 1)

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I know this; and thus I challenge it. (Henry V)

How do you get a bunch of giddy Year 8s to do some ‘proper’ contextual research for HW, rather than just ripping stuff off Wikipedia, printing it without actually reading it?

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Roughly Chronological Re-read Week 1: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

I’m a “grow old disgracefully” sort of guy, but some prefer to “live fast, die young“, of course …

If you’re more Jimi than Jagger, more Buddy Holly than Bruce Springsteen, you might want to tune in to Jen’s blog, where she is looking at a play per week.  Mad as a hatter!

I think she knows her Shakespeare shit …

Date: Between 1589 and 1592.

 

First read: In 200…5, I think? At some point in my early 20s I read my Arden Complete Works cover to cover. Then I re-read it in 2011 when I worked on a couple of scenes from it at Mountview.

 

Productions seen: None – just that couple of scenes at drama school.

 

Productions worked on: As above.

 

Edition I’m using: Good old Dover Thrift.

She's just not that into you, Pro

 

Observations:

 

  • I read the play aloud with Mark and Flavia. We noticed that the locations weren’t consistent across the editions – sometimes one of us had Milano and another Verona, sometimes one had Mantua and another Padua. I wish we’d actually noted the differences, but we didn’t… What I can tell you is that I was using the Dover Thrift pictured above, Mark had the Arden Complete Works and Flavia was using the text…

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Cheaper than a Harley. Easier than growing a ponytail …

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How dull it is to pause, to make an end,

To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!


Why this?  Why now?  And why so slow?  What on earth would prompt someone to commit to a read-through of Shakespeare’s plays?

I decided to do this about 6 weeks ago, let’s say about the end of November 2016.  In many ways this post is a way to work through my motivations, as well as finally committing to the project.

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The School Shakespeare Timetable

O, is it all forgot?

All school-days’ friendship, childhood innocence?

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Image copyright: King Edward VI school

What does the Shakespeare curriculum look like in the UK in 2017?

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‘Weak with toil, yet strong in appetite’

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Ron Cook in the BBC’s 1983 production.  Underrated.

‘You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.’

What do Sundays look like for an English teacher and Shakespeare obsessive?

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Henry V, War Criminal?

bh-cover-henry-v-war-criminal ‘… like Olivier, Branagh ducked what is the most contentious element in the play for British audiences, namely Henry’s apparently criminal massacre of his helpless French prisoners …’

John Sutherland

 

 

I bought this book, which arrived today, on the strength of the fun I had with another of John Sutherland’s: ‘Is Heathcliffe a Murderer?  Puzzles in 19th-Century Fiction.’

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A chronological nightmare …

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“Like an Early Modern game of ‘Find The Lady’, my expectations seem to be defied at every turn, and no two results were the same!”

I’ve been toying with the idea of a Shakespeare readathon for a while, and am trying to justify it to myself.  When I do work out the ‘why?’, I’ll post …

In the meantime, a friend received a full set of BBC Shakespeare on DVD for Christmas.  This worried me quite a bit: mostly because I had a small (and I DO mean small) cameo in the gift’s selection. But, what if she hates them, or simply finds them staid and sooo-1980s? Their overwhelmingly earnest nature and general quaintness – which I find as endearing as original series Star Trek – might pall quickly.

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