Monday, September 16, 2013

Courseblogging: Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama

I'm teaching Elizabethan / Jacobean drama for the first time this semester, so I thought it might be fun to revive the "Courseblogging" tag. (This is my first new course in FOREVER, so I'm pretty excited about it.)

So far, I think we have learned:

1) You're supposed to renew your vows for your four-and-twentieth Sataniversary, even if you wrote them in blood the first time.

2) And, by the way, if you ARE crazy enough to make a contract with the devil, don't ask for 24 years of fun! You may as well make it 2,400, or 24,000, or infinity. (Actually, one of my students had an interesting idea about how this might represent the 24 hours of the day, which I think is pretty neat, especially in conjunction with all the "eleventh hour" stuff at the end.)

3) Faustus and Mephistopheles are "like unholy pranksters," according to another student. Yes. Yes, they are. (ESPECIALLY in the recent Globe production, which is awesome, and on DVD. There's also another pretty-good stage version of Faustus on DVD, by a company called Stage on Screen. I love being able to use clips from live productions in the classroom. (Among other things, it saves me from having to show the Richard Burton version, which is kind of entertainingly trippy in a late-1960s way, but I would not go so far as to say it is actually good.)

4) Conversely, absolutely nobody bothers to film stage productions of The Spanish Tragedy. COME ON GUYS WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

5) If you're gonna kill your enemy, you may as well trick him into wearing a fez and a ridiculous fake mustache while you kill him. What is revenge about, if not excess and humiliation? (My students also did a pretty good job with the weirdness of Soliman and Perseda, especially the ironic-but-oddly-apt choice to cast Lorenzo as the apparent good guy.)

Revenger's Tragedy on Friday! I cannot wait!

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