Monday, December 13, 2010

Random end-of-semester bullets

-- Final grades are in. I have decided to go to Parentland for three weeks, starting tomorrow, and not to read the evals until I get home in January. I think this will be a healthy and sensible thing to do, in contrast to my previous policy of hanging out in Sleepy Southern Town for days with nothing to do except fret about things my students might say.

-- I started my SAA paper, and then I realized I was trying to find Deep Meaning in a song that goes "John for the King has been in many ballads / John for the king down dino / John for the King has eaten many salads / John for the king sings hey ho." At which point I gave up in despair. Oh dear.

-- On a tangentially related note, I bought the big Richard Scarry book of nursery rhymes, because I had vaguely fond memories of it from my childhood and thought it might make a good first birthday present for the Small Nephew. Who knew there were nursery rhymes about how Welshmen are lying thieves and you should break into their houses and beat them up? I bet my brother and sister-in-law are going to have a fun time explaining that one...

-- Should I teach Love's Labour's or Shrew in the spring Shakespeare class? (Alas, there isn't enough time for both.) I happen to like LLL better, as it has smart spirited women who don't get punished, and it ends with the kind of tonal shift that I have a massive soft spot for, and I can show clips from last year's Globe production, which is fabulous. And it would generally be a better play for teaching students about how Shakespearean language and wordplay works. OTOH, Shrew is an easier read, and it would fit better into this year's lineup of texts since it's pretty much straight-up Roman comedy with a few English twists. (We will be starting the course off with Errors and Plautus's Menaechmi, and I've got Titus, Lucrece, and Julius Caesar lined up for later in the semester.) And the Christopher Sly framework would be really good for talking about metatheater, and there are more film versions, including two different stage productions filmed live, so there would be a ton of nice opportunities to talk about performance choices. Damn, they're both so good, only they're good for such different stuff, and I just can't decide.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I need to learn some more early modern ballad tunes...

... so that I stop humming the songs in plays to music that is totally inappropriate. For example, I'm pretty sure "Pack clouds away" is not actually supposed to go to the tune of "I don't care what they say, I won't stay in a world without love."