In the words of that great philosopher, Celine Dion, it's all coming back to me now. I do recall starring as Tony in 'West Side Story'. Yes, I know right? Jerome Robbins clearly knew nothing about it because I don't recall being put through my paces with his choreography. Or maybe I just couldn't be faffed and thought I knew better. It's possible.
I also recall having to write an original play set around the Bristol Riots. My group and I chose to present it as a news report which kept getting interrupted by an old episode of 'Dallas'. Mainly because we weren't interested in the Bristol Riots but did want to swan around with Texas accents pretending to be Sue Ellen Ewing.
We also presented 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and studied a bit of Oscar Wilde. Yours truly was Algernon natch. A role I believe I've carried on through most of my adult life as it happens.
Ah memories. Let's just say that when the time came to have a conversation with my parents, they were already a couple of steps ahead of me.
I can't remember everything we studied but I know that Romeo and Juliet was one. I was lucky in that I had an English teacher who brought what was often thought of as dry and dusty literature to life. We also had the benefit of the school being in an old country house and the courtyard and portico made excellent settings for plays like The Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar, so we had a couple of productions of that nature every year.
I never took part in them. Acting is something that holds absolutely zero interest for me. I did have a ten-second non-speaking part in a house play once, and that was entirely enough acting for a lifetime as far as I am concerned.
I have the ability to speak to animals. If they had the ability to understand that speech then we'd really be on to something.
I got in a huge argument with my AS Level English Literature tutor over my interpretation of Death of a Salesman. The details escape me now but she kept saying "that's not what Miller was going for" and I'd say "sorry, were you a friend of his?"
I still subscribe to the Death of the Author approach to this day.
Oh while we're talking arguing with tutors, my favourite to this day is with my PhD supervisor who when reading some analysis of the 'Man in the Park' scene in Angels (for the uninitiated it involves gentlemen cruising The Ramble in Central Park) And I commented on the 'humour' in the scene, and of the particular exchange 'Relax...' 'Not a chance'
Turns out supervisor was a bit 'unfamiliar' with the um...mechanics of the situation....I declined to explain it in detail.
For O Level we did Macbeth, The Pardoner's Tale and, I think, The Crucible. The teacher wasn't that good so A Level, taught by the head of department, was much better. We did Hamlet, some ghastly Yeats (but the other A Level class had texts I thought were worse), Sons & Lovers and The Shoemakers' Holiday, which last was great fun to read aloud but seems unknown now.
Nineveh city was a city of sin The jazzing and the jiving made a terrible din Beat groups playing rock and roll And the Lord he said 'Bless My Soul'
Such great lyrics.
Seriously? That's "AWESOME" compared to Tim Rice gems like, "No-one had rights or a vote but the King - in fact you could say he was fairly right-wing." "He was also known as 'Israel,' but most of the time, his sons and his wives used to call him 'Dad'." "Hey Joseph here's the punchline, this thing is gonna blow your mind, flip your lid."
And it's that standard for over an hour...
The manager of our local cinema died yesterday. His funeral is next Friday at 2.30pm, 5.15pm and 8.45pm.
You're lucky. I can remember all the books & plays I studied in English & I wish I could forget some of them!
Plays: Year 7 A Midsummer's Night's Dream, Year 8 The Tempest, Year 9 The Merchant of Venice & Romeo and Juliet, GCSE Macbeth & An Inspector Calls. I detested the last two. I've always preferred comedies.
Our school drama competition mercifully got cancelled during my time there but not before I'd lurked in the background as a schoolgirl in scenes from A Little Princess & got out of being in scenes from Pygmalion by organising the costumes. The aforesaid drama competition was also the location of my first ever mid-show walk out. Well, not exactly mid show, I lasted probably under 2 minutes of scenes from Sweeney Todd before walking out.
I was lucky with my GCSE 19th century novel option with Sense and Sensibility as I like Austen. Some groups had to do Dickens (who I'm so-so on) or Hardy (who I dislike). I hated the 20th century novel, Of Mice and Men. In previous years we'd already done The Great Gatsby & To Kill a Mockingbird. Collectively they engendered in me a lifelong detestation of novels dealing with the destruction of the American Dream & I don't think I've read a single American novel since finishing GCSE English.
It's terrible - and ironic - that studying Eng Lit at school can put you off it - or parts of it - for life. I thank school for my enduring love of theatre as despite some diabolical trips to dire and boring plays, I loved reading plays aloud in class (most didn't and all the boys were dreadful - reluctant and unable even to read confidently, let alone with expression); loved participating in the annual house drama comp and chose and directed the winning entry in my final year. Then it was university to study languages and very amateur play-reviewing for the student mag.
Primary School, late sixties/early seventies had us troop into the hall to listen to 'the school radio', usually a programme called 'music and movement' where you pretended to be trees and stuff whilst trying to retain at least some semblance of four year old dignity.*
As Tvcream explain "Arcane Swiss sociology exported as near-naked prancing on splintering wooden floors. For decades after World War Two primary school kids had their cognitive skills ostensibly honed by the aural equivalent of cod liver oil: a frosty-voiced BBC matron encouraging them to act out an activity in time with a piece of music picked out in lacklustre fashion on a battered piano. Quick, get into a space, it's time to do ‘our wide dance’."
* For music it was 'Singing Together', with such glories as 'Michael Finnegan'.
Now this is my era too. Country dancing (Virginia Reel , anyone?), classical record playing as we came in for assembly (Mozart French Horn Rondo), and Singing Together (Lillibulero... "there was an old woman who lived in a basket, seventeen times as high as the moon...") Great memories.
Back on topic ... O level - "Henry V" (I've loved "upon the king" before Agincourt ever since "And what art thou, thou idol ceremony?") A Level - "Coriolanus" (not everybody's choice, I think, but I'm still in 2 minds all these years later as to how noble/ignorant he is. Take your pick). Also "Miller's "A view from the Bridge" (a wonderful modern day Greek tragedy) Degree level- "Measure for Measure", and Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" (problems, problems).
"Would you have me false to my nature? Rather say I play the (wo)man I am".