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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Memories.

I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. the Crucible.

I always had exceptionally good English teachers. I liked English. I liked its speculative, open~ended way of looking at life. I liked the way it taught through stories. The only term I didn't like English we looked at Australian politics because there was an election on. There is nothing deadlier than Australian politics.

Eventually I landed in the elite English class. I think there was only about 5 or 6 of us in the end grappling with Romeo & Juliet, which still has me howling with laughter, To Kill a Mockingbird, How Green is my Valley & the vagaries of Arthur Miller. Miller is one very disturbed man!

Death of a Salesman was one of the earlier offerings, along with Macbeth but by grade 11 we were considered mature enough for stronger fare & copies of The Crucible got passed out for our perusal.

Now I don't particularly like Miller. His plays are just downright depressing; I was going to say they were strong but Death of a Salesman just infuriates me so we'll skip that thought.

However I was lucky enough to have a brilliant teacher for my upper class English: a large uni graduate with a penchant for the sophistries of Ancient Greece [I preferred the bloodthirsty Romans to the poncy Greeks but whatever] who unfortunately found God in the young good looking school minister & drove the entire school batty. I don't know. Maybe her conversion was genuine but her timing was unfortunate from my point of view. I was toying with Atheism half~heartedly & knew more about Paganism than was good for me [you try reading history & not learning about paganism; it can't be done; & I was doing both Ancient & Modern history] & was not on speaking terms with God at the time. Something about free will. I'm over it now having realised even the theologians don't know what they're talking about on this one.

Anyway, the set play was Miller's the Crucible & one of the more brilliant quirks of Mrs T was her preference for acting out the plays we studied rather than simply reading them.

Ditz does her music thing; mine was theatre. NOT so much because I wanted to act, though I can after a fashion, but because I wanted to write & theatre is excellent for developing dialogue. I still write good dialogue. lol. I think I landed Abigal, a nasty but juicy part & was enjoying myself extraordinarily despite Miller's angst ridden play where everyone lies! I still have issues with Miller. His is a very nasty, depressing worldview.

English One was such a small class we got tucked into the cubbyhole beside the office in the basement where Mrs T could run the school while still keeping a sharp ear out to make sure her honour students stayed on task. She got called away pretty regularly but we were a geeky, dorky lot & rarely strayed off the straight & narrow path set before us. Most of us actually liked English so when Mrs T got called away yet again we simply kept going with the play. It was steaming along at a rollicking pace & we were studiously paying attention to all the stage directions; so when the play called for Abigail to scream I screamed. Not a little mousy shriek suited to a meek & mild puritan maid but a full~bodied shriek suited to wicked Abigail that rattled the window panes, disinterred the rust from the locks & shocked my fellow actors into momentary silence. Barely losing a beat they plodded on while from near & far teachers rushed down the hallways & burst through our door to find us placidly working our way through the next scene!

I've heard it said teachers have no imagination. It's not true. I heard some pretty wild tales of what they all thought was happening in the cubbyhole. Not a one of them thought of something so mundane, so prosaic, so obvious, as a play rehearsal in progress.

I musta shrieked good. I got to shriek for the whole school for the end of year revue. Nothing like a little drama to liven up proceedings!


Molytail said...

*grin* ~ I can totally see that playing itself out LOL

Have you seen the movie with Winona Ryder? That was actually my first introduction to the play ~ I know, movies aren't the same :-P

Persuaded said...

Interestingly enough, I also do not care for Miller in the least.. and infuriating is a perfect descriptor of my feelings towards Death of a Salesman. Would have liked to have been a fly on the wall at that rehearsal though;) hehehe