Telling stories ABOUT stories seems to be my stock-in-trade when it comes to teaching Shakespeare.
Unusually, I’m going to start with the quotation of the week, from Stephen Greenblatt, rather than work towards it:
Humans cannot live without stories. We surround ourselves with them; we make them up in our sleep; we tell them to our children; we pay to have them told to us. Some of us create them professionally. And a few of us – myself included – spend our entire adult lives trying to understand their beauty, power, and influence. [a]
It often takes something (we consider) sub-human to remind us of our humanity …
‘… you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.’
Not that you needed me to complete the speech, I dare say … I’m also guessing you want to watch it again (I had to), so here it is.
The weekend brings an exciting reward for my ‘holiday’ week’s hard marking. On consecutive nights I’ll be watching Bladerunner: The Final Cut, and then Bladerunner 2049. And I’ve got my tattered copy of Philip K Dick‘s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep‘ (1968) out – the first non-Shakespeare/EMP book I have read in weeks, or perhaps even months …
Yet there is, because there always is, an opportunity for me to connect to Shakespeare.
Christ, this is IT […] THIS is why I do it. All of it.
W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up (Penguin: London, 1992)
Today’s post is all about one simple fact: the world-wide-web existed centuries before the Internet. Before electricity, in fact. And I want you to plug into it.
I find it apposite, and slightly ironic that writing about Shakespeare, and without any deliberate choice on my part – I promise you – I’m listening to the Tron Legacy soundtrack as I type this. My other literary love is Science Fiction, and again, the point I’m making relates to that intoxicating cocktail of the 16th and 26th centuries, with a dash of the present thrown in.
I won’t hypocritically pretend that Sir Peter Hallwas a friend or indeed someone I knew very much about. I might have been to one of his productions over the years, but for most of the time it’s not been the sort of thing I took careful note of – let’s face it, I was probably under 10 when I saw my first Shakespeare. It would be churlish, though, on a blog like this not to mark his passing. He’s one of those people whose life influences yours at one remove …
For someone who almost famously doesn’t watch TV, I’m a remarkably big fan of the BBC. What I DO spend is an awful lot of time listening to the radio – for news, sport, and entertainment. I’m always dazzled by the quality of the drama they produce, and I really enjoy their Science Fiction adaptations – another obssession of mine.
But, it’s also an absolute treasure trove of radio programming about Shakespeare … both factual stuff and performances.