Monday, October 22, 2007

I Am A Geek, And True

Over the last few days I've gotten quite a little traffic from a site that turns out to be completely in French.  I see my name quite clearly, so I run it through Google Translate and here's what I got:

Duane Morin is a geek, a true: not only is that American computer programmer, but he spends much of his spare time to update its various blogs. Including the one he takes on William Shakespeare. Nothing that relates to the author of Richard III escapes Duane: As this video of a young girl who recited a passage from Romeo and Juliet in helium; This site reflects La Nuit des rois in sign language ; this anecdote or an actor who would accidentally stabbed while playing Julius Caesar. So you can be a fan of Shakespeare as it is a great fan of Star Wars.

I guess that describes me and my little site here pretty well :).

But I'm curious about the overall context.  Can someone who speaks French tell me what the point of the page was?  There are several other sites listed.  Is it just a sort of "Sites of the week" sort of thing, or is there a theme?  Are there other Shakespeare references on the page?

Thanks :).  I tried to write a comment on the original post, but you have to register to do that and I couldn't get through the French to do it.

New England Shakespeare 2008 Auditions

Here's something I don't post much about, but I'd like to : casting calls.  I stumbled across the New England Shakespeare Festival auditions page for their 2008 touring production of Much Adoe About Nothing (that's how they're spelling it). 

...seeking actors and actresses of all ages and types, non-traditional casting, all roles open, for its upcoming summer tour of Much adoe about Nothing. Auditions by appointment will be held in the spring....

They are also hiring tech interns, a stage manager and a wardrobe supervisor.

So if you've always wondered how you can get in on the Shakespeare action, and you want to tour New England, here's your chance.  All performers are paid, and company members receive housing and transportation while on tour.

(I shouldn't have to say this, but I have no affiliation with this organization, and nobody came to me asking me to post this announcement.  I really did just find it and think it worthy of posting.  Yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Iambic Pentameter and the Three Second Rule

No, this does not mean that if you accidentally drop a line you're allowed to pick it up and eat it within three seconds. :)  Remember that post I made about audio examples of the "correct" way to do iambic pronunciation? Ron Rosenbaum, he of Shakespeare Wars (which I'm not finished with), has a lengthy article up on the habit of making the slightest pause between each line, and why that might be.  Someone writes in to him with an interesting suggestion about how human memory is organized and experienced, and how it fits in quite nicely.  A neat read.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

48 Classic Books to Boost Your Learning Experience

So, I found this link on Life Optimizer about classic books to "boost your learning experience."  What's that mean?  I've always liked the idea (referenced in the post) that they "give you different lenses to look through."  The author actually explains how he created his list, looking at two references on the subject "How To Read A Book" and "The Well-Educated Mind".  His list is composed of those classics that are recommended in both books.

Anyway, you just know that when somebody lists important classic books I'm gonna be there to see how our man Shakespeare does.  This particular list has a category for "Drama", which has 13 entries.  Care to take a guess how many old Shakey is responsible for?

3(*) of them.  For the next question, no, no other playwright is listed more than once. 

Which ones?  Richard III, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Hamlet.  Interesting combination. 

(*) Technically 4, if you count "Sonnets" listed in the Poetry section.

Monday, October 15, 2007

BiblioShakespeare: Shakespeare Challenge

BiblioShakespeare: Shakespeare Challenge

Up for a challenge? Biblioshake's got people worked up about 6 months to read four books *about* Shakespeare. That's a little different. Can I count Shakespeare Wars, since I'm halfway through it already? I may have to invest this Christmas in a few of the more "novel" biographies that try to breathe a little bit more life into old Will and not just present everything as dry academic stuff.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Empathy, Defined

I am often fascinated by my children's interest in the stories of Shakespeare.  I can typically answer all of their questions off the top of my head, since they are really just variations on the classic "Why" game (i.e. "Why did the bad men put Miranda and her Daddy on the ship" and so on).  But sometimes one comes out of left field that is truly a surprise.

"Daddy," my 5yr old recently asked, "If Miranda and her Daddy and Caliban and Ariel were the only people on the island, and Miranda and Ariel did not like to play with Caliban because he was mean to them, then does that mean Caliban did not have anybody to play with when he was growing up?"

Ok, so, wait.  Even though he is the acknowledged bad guy sea monster who is mean to everybody and wants to take over the island, my daughter is concerned that he not be lonely.  I think that makes me kind of proud.

"I don't really know," I tell her.  I try very hard not to lie to my kids.  If you stall, sometimes they answer their own question.

"Maybe he played with the animals?" she asked.  That's certainly a common theme in the kinds of movies she's seen.

Seeing my opportunity, I embellish.  "You know, I think that's exactly what he did.  I bet he played with all of the animals that Miranda and Ariel didn't like to play with, like the snakes and the spiders and scorpions and the other scary creatures.  Because he wouldn't be scared of them, they would be each other's friends."

"Yes," she concurred, "I think that's how it happened."

Daddy, Can I Read Your Book?

That's what my 3yr old asked me this morning while I was getting ready to go to work.  "Sure," I told her.

The thing is, the book was King Lear.

More specifically, it was one of the comic versions of Shakespeare that I have.  I also have The Tempest as I've mentioned, Taming of the Shrew, and Romeo and Juliet.

In general I have refused to actually read them the story of King Lear, as we don't do that degree of violence in my house (hence my emphasis on the non-violent Tempest).  But she does like to look at the pictures.  So there she sat, doing her morning business, flipping through the pages.  Like any 3yr old she was also carrying around what if she were a boy I would call "action figures" - small statues of her favorite Disney princesses, including Belle and Ariel.

"Her name is Cordelia," my daughter tells me, pointing at the Belle figure.    Then she points to the cover of the book and asks, "Is that Cordelia with the red hair?"

I look at the cover and sure enough, Cordelia is in fact the one with the red hair.  "That is Cordelia," I tell her.  "And those are her sisters, Regan and Goneril."

I think I reached her limit, though, as I never heard the names of the evil sisters mentioned.  She did go off playing, speaking of Cordelia's friends Jossa, Brak and Ryda, which I thought was rather unusual.  At first I thought she was getting in to the imaginary friends stage (her older sister's imaginary friends were named Cartlyn, Neejin and Lonoze).  But then I wondered if maybe hearing all the weird names in Shakespeare that she hears nowhere else, she's tuned to thinking that names can in fact be any stream of sound, and not just repetition of the same names she's heard over and over again.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shakespeare Scrabble

The Effing Librarian muses on how Shakespeare could liven up a game of Scrabble.  Because he made up words when he needed them, you see. 

I like it.  It's short, it's funny, go read it.  "There, now it's a word.  Triple word score.  I win.  I'm Shakespeare, motherf**ker!"

Thursday, October 04, 2007

And Now, Shakespeare On Helium

It's short, but cute.  And I think she gets the quote wrong in the middle, it sounds like she says "and no longer be a Capulet."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Arden Project "Taking A Break"

About a year ago I blogged excitedly about a virtual Shakespeare world by Edward Castronova.  Who am I kidding, I immediately wrote to them and begged to be a beta tester.  I couldn't get in :(.

I see an update on the blog, but alas it's not great news:  they're out of funding.  So he has no idea when there will be any new milestones to report.  Which means I shouldn't hold my breath for a public beta?    Oh well.  I would love to see this project reach completion.  Even though he manages expectations by saying to "expect small Dungeons and Dragons world with a Shakespeare layer" rather than "World of Warcraft with Hamlet", I say, "Who cares, I'll take it!" 

If it's an academic project and he's out of funding, I wonder if he has any open source options?  He could put key portions up in Creative Commons license, I'm sure that there's more than one Shakespeare geek out there that would love to dig in and help generate some content.


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Monday, October 01, 2007

Shakespeare Graffiti

I was going to roll right past this picture of a plain old "Everytime you see a 2B you're obligated to mention Or Not 2B" joke, until I thought about the paradox.  It's graffiti.  Deliberately vandalizing the property of someone else.  With a quote from Shakespeare.  I'm curious about the sort of brain that is both capable of holding knowledge about Shakespeare and somehow lacking the bit that says "Don't do that."  I suppose the answer is that the whole to be or not to be thing is just so darned generic at this point that you don't need a brain in your head to recognize it as Shakespeare.  Whoever wrote it probably didn't even know what he was quoting, just heard it someplace.

Iambic Pentameter : On Tape?

At my other site, Diego found an old post of mine entitled, Iambic Pentameter - What Is It?  He asked a good question.  He's wondering if anybody has a good source on tape that teaches you what iambic pentameter sounds like.  I figure somebody here might know.  Anybody?  I don't know of specific lessons, per se, but I have to assume that somebody out there has an audio sample of how iambic pentameter is supposed to be spoken.