Life is a jest, and all things show it;
I thought so once, and now I know it.
-The epitaph of John Gay
Ah no! Blog silence! What a terrible fate my blog has met amidst an unprecedentedly all-devouring work schedule....
Well, I will try to pop in now and again with a brief note on what I am up to. Lately it has been a non-stop roller-coaster of job applications (which, in the academic job market, are stunningly time-consuming), teaching prep, grading and dissertation-worrying (in the double sense of a terrier's attitude towards a bone and a mother's attitude towards an absent child as the curfew nears).
What have I been up to this weekend? Friday and Saturday were mad theatrical whirlwinds. On Friday I went to see a staged reading of John Gay's 18th C ballad opera, Polly, the sequel to his better known The Beggar's Opera. Only at Yale, eh? Although perhaps there is a wild ballad opera subculture somewhere in the world that performs little known three hundred year old works in charmingly dank, dilapidated cabaret basements - who knows? This reading was given by a combination of professors, grad students and undergrads and was terribly lively, as only a tale of racial masquerade, cross-dressing, piracy, bigamy, and sexual slavery -- with songs! -- could be.
Yesterday I went off to a graduate production of Brecht's early play Baal - for a change of pace, you know - and witnessed several rapes in ragged, almost-fully-naked-a-few-feet-away-from-me detail. It was a production that reveled in the squalor of bodily existence, shall we say. At one point, I must admit, I was spattered (in the second row, mind you) with fake urine from a character who was relieving herself onstage. Yeah.
Then, in the evening, I headed off to a former student's senior project: a very judiciously edited and rollickingly staged version of the two parts of Shakespeare's Henry IV. Most striking about the production, perhaps, was that a college-aged actor managed to embody Falstaff with such skill and gusto. The tavern scenes, which I normally find rather tedious (since they are filled to the brim with opaque and archaic wordplay), were played with particularly infectious vigor - actors spraying their drink on the audience out of laughter and surprise.
And as I dabbed at my rather damp self I thought: "Ah, the theatre.... When else do I get the opportunity to be peed on in the afternoon and spat on at night?"