Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sorry Gandalf, I'm Gonna Side With Hannibal On This One

Sir Ian McKellen doesn't think you should read Shakespeare.

Sir Anthony Hopkins does.

How great is it that we can actually have a conversation that starts this way? Both actors are starring in The Dresser, and there's plenty of articles coming out where both are interviewed.

McKellen: "I don’t think people should bother to read Shakespeare. They should see him in the theatre! Reading just reduces him to an examination subject.

In the joint interview, Sir Anthony urged actors to read “anything you can get your hands on” and took a less rose-tinted view of acting in the theatre.

Now, let's be clear. This is not a black and white topic.  I think that if someone has the option, then of course you need to go see live theatre every chance you get.  I've always taken issue with the idea that it has to be one or the other, as if there's teachers out there saying, "Well we have a chance to go see the Royal Shakespeare Company person Othello, but we're just going to read it instead." If you find those people, then absolutely, gouge out their eyes and read King Lear to them.

But if you see it, and you love it, and you say "I want to do everything I can to get closer to the material", then isn't reading it (and everything about it) the logical option?  In fact, say that the thing you want most is to perform Shakespeare. They're doing Macbeth next.  So what do you do, exactly? Do you run and watch every version of it you can find? Or do you, I dunno.....read it?

If you *want* to read Shakespeare, read Shakespeare. Anyone who tries to talk you out of it has missed the point. Period.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Failure Is Not An Option (A Geeklet Story)

My oldest has been distraught lately over her first C on a significant exam, and we've been discussing daily whether getting all A's is the most important thing in the world.  She seems to think I enjoy watching her get bad grades because it shows that she's finally working hard enough, but she feels that if those bad grades cause her to not get into college then what's the point.

"If I FAIL...." she starts.

"We fail?" I interjected, predictably.  "Screw your courage to the sticking place and we'll...not....fail!"

Blank stare. Open mouthed, speechless daughter.

"Lady Macbeth," I explain.

"That's not what I thought you were going to say," she countered.

"Also Beauty and the Beast," I said. "Gaston."

"That's what I thought you were going to say."

Friday, October 16, 2015

Six Degrees of Francis Bacon

Ok, this might be the geekiest thing you read all day.

You've probably heard of the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", where you name an actor and then have to link him back to Kevin Bacon in less than six movies.  It's based on the "six degrees of separation" theory.

Well, I'm honestly surprised that it's taken this long for someone to think of Six Degrees of Francis Bacon.  What exactly was the original Bacon's social network, and were people like William Shakespeare on it?

Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have an easy "List two names and we'll tell you the connection" mode.  You enter a name and then get a very geeky map of nodes, and you have to explore it to find the connections you want.

My plan is to enter Edward de Vere and see if he shows up.  But company just came over and I must come back to it later!