Saturday, May 14, 2005

Mere Oblivion

Mere Oblivion

I currently feel like an over-worked, underpaid member of the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Albeit without the Othello rap*. After eight hours of learning Will's choicest snippets what have I learnt?

1. Comedies are easy to learn, they have clear rhythms and imagery that progresses. They also make you feel happy to be female because all of the men - Benedick in Much Ado aside - are useless. Ok, I'll excuse Jacques in As You Like It too, as whilst he's undoubtedly useless he gets the 'all the world's a stage' speech which is fantastic and I love.

2. For some odd, indescribable reason I seem to have Macbeth lines already imprinted on my brain. And I haven't studied Macbeth since I was 15. I did see Macbeth - the musical at the Edinburgh Festival in 2003, I'm wondering if that did it.

3. Hamlet is most definitely not easy to learn. Complex structure, complex imagery and very few footholds when you're doing the one woman version. Y'know, Hamlet, just stop talking and kill the guy.**

But as much as I complain I do love my Shakespeare and it's days like these that I think that I could be quite happy in academia for the rest of my life. A room crammed with books and the complete Arden Shakespeare collection, pictures of Byron and Woolf on the wall, whisky in a bottle in the corner. Admittedly my drink of choice wouldn't be whisky, but I've never been taught by a tutor who has a bottle of Baileys in the corner***. I'd write articles on the use of the word 'nothing' in Shakespeare****, on emerging drama and Virginia Woolf's diaries. Obviously in my spare time I'd write plays and I'd enjoy the mini-fame that goes with that. I'd also be a little quirky with my cowboy boots and instead of a push bike I think I'd have a vespa. And I'd run a one woman campaign to get everyone in Oxford to blog.

Aherm. What can I say? It's been a long day.

Seriously, though, I know that academia wouldn't be the right thing for me now but who knows in the future? Not full blown academia like I just described there, I'd go insane before I got to the million books in the room stage, but further study? Definitely. Just without the need for subfusc and 20 hours worth of exams in nine days******. Flower arranging then?

*Which is a shame, I love their Othello rap.

**"prove yourself in deeds your father's son/More than in words". Claudius is talking about Laertes rather than Hamlet but it sticks. And of course I don't really mean that. The play would be much less interesting if Hamlet killed Claudius some time around 'To be or not to be'. Be easier for my brain though.

***Yes, I really have had a tutor who keeps a bottle of whisky in the corner, he even offers it to students.

****It's my new Shakespeare obsession [alongside all the uses of 'bottomless' that Will has]: "A tale/ told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ signifying nothing", "Nothing, my lord", "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything", "of nothing"...ah the list goes on.*****

*****Apologies there are so many quotes in my head that they won't all stay there. And the
Macbeth quote there's bloody brilliant.

******I wish I hadn't just worked that out. I'm losing nearly a day of my life sitting in exam schools. Nice.

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