This is the program art for "Taming of the Shrew." I fell in love with it!! Look how their souls float about each other and take each other in! Passion, beauty, and in the end, respect!
OK, on to the meat of the blog...
I love art.
I love Moliere.
I love Shakespeare.
I love pretending I am a peasant paying a penny for a standing seat and speaking in a British accent.
I love buying Elizabethan pastries and booing Iago from a replica of the Globe theater.
I love taking my tenth graders to the Shakespeare Festival and seeing them grow and gain knowledge and show enthusiasm and excitement!
Most of all...I love being a tenth grade English teacher, and while giving a funny Shakespeare anecdote, suddenly seeing someone familiar....MY tenth grade English teacher!
I have not seen this woman since I was 15 years old. And there she was. Can I tell you the wonder and excitement of seeing her.
"Excuse me, you were my tenth grade English teacher."
"Oh my goodness! Yes I was! This is amazing, remind me of your name again."
"Yes, I remember you, what an AMAZING, talented, gifted, beautiful (ok, embellished story at this point, what can I say, it's what I do) you were! So, what are you up to?"
"Well, this is SO fun to tell you. But I am now a tenth grade English teacher and these are my students! I have brought them to the festival to learn and enjoy."
The look on her face was priceless...I think the greatest desire of a teacher's heart is to know that somewhere, somehow she made a difference to someone.
"And, because of you, all of these students can quote Anthony's 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen' speech. I made them memorize it, just as you did me!"
The first play we saw was an AMAZING version of "The Taming of the Shrew" (set in Italy in 1946). I have to admit, the first half of this play, with Kate's spunky independence (this one played less violently than Elizabeth Taylor) is so enjoyable! I love the energy, the words, the fun that the two characters have...but it has always made me sad that Kate had to be tamed. I didn't want her to kiss her husbands boots or her lose her wild nature. The morning after I saw it, I woke up early for breakfast at the hotel. I shared a table with two older women..they began to rant against women who don't give their husbands enough. "Feminism has ruined the American family! Women should be more grateful for their mate. What's wrong with waiting on your husband? This play speaks truth." I sat there and took it all in. I had some thoughts. They both looked to me for a comment...I just held up my bare ring finger and said, "I have yet to be tamed." That's all I could get out....it was an interesting perspective. But the play also played it well...great play on words, eh? The director, the only woman director of the festival, really was able to convey not a taming of sorts, but a mutual affection, adoration, and love that the two developed. I loved it.
Monday evening was "The School For Wives". A delightful production. Moliere is the Shakespeare of France! I have quite the crush on him! If I could pick one person from history to have a torrid affair with, it would be him.
“It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right.”
“To live without loving is not really to live.”
“People can be induced to swallow anything, provide it is sufficiently seasoned with praise”
Stunning. We saw this outside in the Globe. It was raining, we sat through it, the actors pretended it wasn't there. We went to a session with the actors the following morning in which they discussed their motivations and the acting process. We were all enthralled. Othello said that he isn't usually a method actor, but that on the death scene with Desdemona, a prop person had forgotten to remove Cassius's hat. It was on the corner of the bed where she was sleeping. He said it really struck him, caused such anger in him while in character that the death scene that night was probably the most intense they have ever done. My students and I were in awe at this tragedy of tragedies.
We studied "Cyrano de Bergerac" last year in school. The students were MOST excited to see this. They had all the background knowledge. They had acted it out. They had analyzed it. And now they were seeing it for real. It was amazing.
I've seen this musical a thousand times, but this magnificent production made it feel like it was the first. I haven't been part of this story in such a way since I was a child. It was a great finale to our trip.
Yesterday morning, before we left, we were invited to see a read through of a new play about Leonardo da Vinci. In it three characters from his paintings come to life. They talk to him and they ask him to justify his art. They put him on trial in a sense, trying to get to the core of what caused this greatest of inventors and thinkers to create and do what he did.
That's an interesting idea I've been thinking about, if the characters I create through writing and painting could come and speak to me, what would they say? What would yours say? Have you ever had a conversation with something you've created?