Running the Stats on Shakespeare!

Shakespeare's 400th death day comes up this weekend, so I've done some analysis for FiveThirtyEight on which of his plays wind up taught outside English class (and offered a few recommendations of my own): Psychology students most often encounter Shakespeare’s great madmen: King Lear and Hamlet. Perhaps they’re the ones to blame for the more sexualized stagings of Hamlet’s confrontation with his mother. Oedipal productions of the play are such a trope that, in Jasper Fforde’s modern lit-nerd com … [Read more...]

Dwelling In Wounds To Hide From Grace

I really enjoyed seeing a broadcast of Kenneth Brannagh's The Winter's Tale (and, if the taped version becomes more widely available, I highly recommend it). I'd only seen it once before, and one thing that changed for me when I saw this new one was that I couldn't simply see Paulina as a pure heroine anymore.In The Winter's Tale, the king falsely believes his wife to be unfaithful, and he hounds her (he thinks) to death and orders her infant exposed to the elements. Paulina is the one who … [Read more...]

The Story of Shmuel and Tailoring Support [Guest Post]

This is a guest post by Ellery Weil on The Last 5 Years. I've included a video clip of a "Story of Shmuel" performance, but it's not the one Ellery is discussing.The Last Five Years is a story of love lost, or maybe love that was never really there. But more than that, it’s a story about the different shapes “support” can take, depending on the person who needs it, and how easy it is for people’s attempts to support each other to backfire without proper communication. One of the main issues p … [Read more...]

No Villains, Just Inept Lovers in The Last 5 Years

The Last 5 Years tells the story of Jamie and Cathy's relationship, from the moment they meet, through when they marry, to the moment, five years after they relationship began, their marriage ends.  The musical is a series of sung monologues--Jamie and Cathy each telling the story of their relationship in alternating songs, that cover the relationship's arc from opposite directions: Jamie from beginning to end, Cathy from end to beginning.  Thus, Cathy's first song is set the morning that she f … [Read more...]

Into the Weeds (and the Woods) [Radio Readings]

My new, weekly radio program, Fights in Good Faith, premiers today.  You'll be able to stream it live here on Real Life Radio at 5pm Eastern, and you can catch it again on Sunday at 1pm.  After it airs, the audio will be available on my show's page.  And, in the meantime, here's the 30 second promo for the show:Every Saturday, before the show airs, I'll be posting on the blogs to share links to all the major books, songs, concepts that I mention on the show.  So, while you're listening, i … [Read more...]

The Last 5 Years is totally our next Symposium topic

Eeeeee!  EEEEEEEE! Eeeeee!For folks who aren't familiar with Jason Robert Brown's The Last 5 Years, it's a musical that covers the five year relationship between Cathy and Jamie, from the moment they meet, through their engagement and marriage, till the morning after Jamie leaves.The two leads alternate numbers, which respectively tell the story of their relationship in opposite directions.  That means Cathy's first song (also the first song of the trailer) is the one she sings when s … [Read more...]

But Who Will I Take Care Of? [Desire of the Everlasting Hills]

Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing Desire of the Everlasting Hills at a screening hosted by the Catholic Information Center.  The movie, which is available for streaming, is a documentary about three celibate, gay Catholics.  Eve Tushnet reviewed the movie for The American Conservative and wrote: There are some fascinating theological contrasts: Paul’s most direct experiences of God come when he is being rescued or spared something he expected to be unbearably painful—the most intense examp … [Read more...]


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