Does anyone know if we are responsible for The Second Shepherd’s Play on the final?
Also, what about Paradise Lost? That was a catch-up week as well.
I think I remember him saying not to worry about Paradise Lost…but I’m not completely sure :/
Random Act of Kindness!
I help co-choreograph a hip hop class with a friend of mine for kids in Northeast Philadelphia, where I’m originally from. He and have taken a lot of kids under our care to keep them from getting into some nasty stuff and help them realize what great potential they have. I haven’t been able to visit them recently, but they have a pretty big tournament coming up, so I thought I would ask Kyle (the other choreographer) to tell the kids he was having practice early 9am on Saturday. I showed up pretty early, made sausages, a wide variety of pancakes, waffles, french toast, and other wonderful breakfast food to surprise the kids. The look of their faces as they walked in the door was better than I could have imagined. The combination of smelling delicious food and seeing me chilling there seemed to overwhelm them, and as a result, I got squashed in a rib-breaking giant hug. Not quite as random as a RAOK would delegate, but I would do it all again just to see their faces. Even though I have a huge paper due on Tuesday…
“Great actors are great observers of life.”
- Shakespeare Behind Bars, Leonard
To be honest, I was not expecting Shakespeare Behind Bars to be what it was. I did not expect an in depth documentary of people who were actually in jail for the heinous crimes that were elaborated upon. That being said, the phrase that stuck with me from the beginning was from Leonard: “Great actors are great observers of life.”
An actor, as most know, is a person who acts, whether it is in a play, movie, tv series, etc. What is interesting is the way that Leonard puts, leading me to think of it in another way. By taking the Greek word for actor, it literally translates to “one who interprets.”
Maybe Leonard did mean to imply that a great actor is someone who observes life. Short and simple. But what if he meant to imply more? The men in this documentary did horrendous things; after each inmate elaborated on their reasons for being in jail, I admit I shuddered. But then seeing them acting and getting emotional while in rehearsal, I was just blown away. Emotions were certainly misplaced, confused, and blended together. Maybe Leonard meant to imply that actors weren’t just people who understood life and appreciated it. Maybe he meant to imply that great actors were people who took the observations, the bad, the good, and the mixed, and interpreted in a way that would appeal to the emotions of the audience. Acting requires the actor to establish a relationship with the members of the audience. After seeing Avengers this past weekend (which was amazing, definitely go see it), the way that an actor and the writers establish a relationship with the audience was clear. People were laughing, clapping their hands, holding their breath, and sympathizing in just the ways their were expected to.
Now perhaps you think that observing means no action, or that it promotes only planning and no actual product. But I think that the role of the actor is to bring to life the observations of life through interpretation. These inmates are given the chance to show how they interpret each character, and it’s shown how some of their past seeps through. That raw emotion may at first seem to weaken the actors, but since it uses observations from their personal lives into a new interpretation, they become great actors.
“Now, now, my clients
Begin their visitation! Vultures, kite,
Raven, and gorecrow, all my birds of prey,
That think me turning carcase, now they come…”
How often are birds of prey used in a positive manner? Even now in English classes, one example in particular is the book by Charles Dickens Our Mutual Friend where the poor body finders are called vultures,birds of prey such as vultures and crows are depicted as the scum of the earth.These birds are always waiting around dead animals or food, salvaging what they can and fighting off others that come near. Jonson uses that phrase “birds of prey” to indicate to readers what kind attitude will be coming toward and from the characters that come to visit Volpone.
The birds of prey that Jonson uses in Volpone are meant to set the scene for each character. After Volpone states the aforementioned quote, he states that the vulture, Voltore, has come to visit him. While Voltore is there speaking his “concerns” to Mosca, Volpone is secure in the ruse, fully aware of the reasons people are coming to visit him. The image Voltore and Volpone create is very interesting, especially in correlation to the “birds of prey.” Voltore acts as the vulture, as he has been classified, hovering anxiously near his dying prey while Volpone plays dead in order to trick the hunter. The method often showed by many animals of survival. Voltore is visiting Volpone for a reason, but he will only hover by and wait to get what he wants, just as vultures circle and wait for food.
But the next bird of prey has his turn to play against the mind of Volpone. Corbaccio enters and is described as the Old Raven. Ravens are often associated with morbid experiences; the first connection that jumps to mind would be Poe’s The Raven. But ravens are also described as scavengers and often pick at mangled remains of dead animals, like crows. How fitting then that Corbaccio, who often said “good” to Volpone’s every bad symptom that Mosca stated would be described as a Raven. Hearing news of Volpone dying and Corbaccio found the perfect place to wait and salvage what he can, and the emphasis on “old” only increases his desire for materials.
Jonson has Volpone describe the characters solely as birds of prey, and he sticks to calling them the vile ones. No glory like the eagle or speed like the hawk, the clients of Volpone are birds of prey who salvage, scavenger, and prey.
If you’ve never heard of Bioshock, it’s a very good video game, in my opinion. The story begins with a man who decides to build a city underwater called Rapture free from God and government. He destines this city to be great, the greatest city there ever was, but the city falls, and he blames the weak. Bioshock 2 goes on to provide another problem set place in the city however you play against a new foe, and one that the people are fond of. The odds are against you, and the only way to win is to follow your gut and do what you think is right, even when it seems like the game wants to do the opposite.
Please check out the trailer: Bioshock Trailer 2
All the ruminations, and one specific rumination that talked about symbols, automatically brought this game to mind. I love video games, especially ones with great story lines, and this is definitely up at the top of my list. Even more fascinating is that the company even describes the city as a “decaying underwater Utopia!” I mean, I knew it, but I didn’t think the company would use it!