In the Wake of Trump

“Thus the unfacts, did we possess them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude, the evidencegivers by legpoll too untrustworthily irreperible where his adjugers are semmingly freak threes but his judicandeees plainly minus twos.”

“Is now all seenheard then forgotten? Can it was, one is fain in this leaden age of letters now to wit, that so diversified outrages (they have still to come!) were planned and carried out against so staunch a convenanter if it be true then any of those recorded ever took place for many, we trow, beyessed to denayed of, are given to us by some who use the truth but sparingly and we, on this side ought to sorrow for their pricking pens on that account.”

Finnegans Wake

 

https://shamrockmcshane.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/losing-the-war-on-ignorance/

 

Wake up America! This is a must read book.

By Tess on August 6, 2015

Hall of Fools is a compelling read, and page turner, despite its 400 plus pages. The reader is taken behind the scenes of a typical (gee I hope not!) middle to upper class public middle-school in modern day America. If even 10% of this story is accurate on a national level, our country had better wake up and do something about public education. I believe this book is on the level of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” a genuine alert to the masses about a long on-going problem which is being ignored. This book is a gut wrenching story of deplorable teaching conditions, from incidents like fecal material dripping through damaged bathroom flooring, onto teachers in their lounge below eating their lunch to the constant level of violence and disrespect, both, towards teachers, and fellow students is mind boggling. When incidents like a punch to the face (facial bones broken) and heavy loaded backpacks intentionally dropped from upper levels on an unsuspecting student (resulting in a 3-week hospital stay for recipient) not only have no legal repercussion, but are the norm, it is easy to extrapolate and understand why our country is so violence orientated. It is a shocking must read for anyone and everyone. A lot of this book reminds me of the old movie, “To Sir, with Love” starring Sidney Poitier as well as other movies of that genre. The big difference is the school in this book is not an inner city, no funding school, but a middle to upper-class school district in a distinctive higher education University town, where not only do the all kids flunking at the lowest level get promoted anyway, but where the good students are the big losers in their education. I hope one of the major publishing companies out there picks up the rights to this book, it is an important work that needs to reach the masses. The author is well qualified to write on the topic, listing his 30-years as a middle school teacher.

http://www.amazon.com/Hall-Fools-Shamrock-McShane/dp/1511466553/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430838905&sr=8-2&keywords=hall+of+fools

Seven Sides of Shakespeare

Seven Sides of Shakespeare

 

(In progress. This is the script for a performance piece I am rehearsing. The commentary will be interspersed throughout the scenes.)

 

Sides of Shakespeare. I call it that because that’s probably the truest way of knowing the plays of William Shakespeare, and being able to see them as he and his fellow players saw them when they were first produced around the beginning of the seventeenth century.

 

These are my sides. The originals. This is the way I learn my lines for a play.

 

Turns out that’s the way Shakespeare and the King’s Men learned their lines too. What each player knew was just his side of the dialogue.

 

That’s what they went hunting for when Shakespeare’s plays were first published as Quartos, because, apparently a script of the entire play did not exist.

 

No original manuscript of a play written by William Shakespeare is known to exist.

 

This is what has fueled the Oxfordian or Anti-Stratfordian fervor that that would debate the Authorship Question.

 

Who really wrote these plays?

 

Shakespeare was an actor, a player, a man of the theatre, a theatrician, as we say. He’d seen the theatre grow from the morality plays into courtyard satires put on by university wits. Shakespeare was no university wit. He lacked the academic training, which at that time meant he knew Latin, but not Greek. Ironically, this is the cudgel that’s been used by the Anti-Stratfordians to claim that no one other than a university-trained globe-trotting nobleman could have written the plays of Shakespeare.

 

But you have to understand that from the playwright’s own point of view, it would have made good business sense to destroy the manuscript of an entire play because that would prevent other companies from stealing it.

 

So, when they wanted to put the plays together into a script to be published, with a beginning, middle, and end, they stitched together all the actors’ sides.

 

So, here I have my cue line, because that’s what I’m listening for, and then I have my lines, which I take the time to write down by my own hand, which always gives me the feeling that I wrote the play, which makes it easier to remember. You ought to be able to remember your own play, right?

 

And this is what I carry around with me on stage when I’m rehearsing a play.

 

The beauty part in writing the lines down, as if I were the author, is that I break them down into their smallest parts, like a single ribbon of poetry, and then I just read the lines over and over until I’ve learned them. Not memorized them, mind you. You learn your lines. You learn to ride a bike, you learn to swim.

 

You memorize the grocery list, but you learn your lines.

 

 

Romeo and Juliet

 

 

My personal association with Will Shakespeare goes back to 1973 in Chicago in Old Town on Welles Street in a theatre called the Gill. Patrick O’Gara, the artistic director, had opened the theatre to great success with a production of Bertolt Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle. I was lucky enough to have a part in that play, which won the Jefferson Award that year for Best Ensemble. Our second production was Romeo and Juliet, spring in Chicago, 1974. Keith Szarabika played Romeo. He’s still a great actor. I remember his approach to Romeo. He said: Romeo is just a guy trying to be cool. It worked. How cool was Keith? He later played The Equalizer’s sidekick on TV.  And I got to play Mercutio. What a part! What a part to start with! One of the stage’s great smart asses, which would turn out to be a role I specialized in. This guy gets stabbed to death and when his best friend Romeo asks him if the wound is bad, he tells him “Oh, not so deep as a well nor as wide as a church door, but t’will serve.”

 

Shakespeare gave another layer to Mercutio beyond smartass, a layer that reveals not only his tormented love for Romeo but a nightmare of the subconscious such as Freud would revel in. It’s all bound up in the Queen Mab speech.

 

Romeo and Mercutio are arguing back and forth about dreams, because Romeo is, of course, a dreamer.

 

“I dreamed a dream tonight,” Romeo says.

 

And so did I.

 

Well, what was yours?

 

That dreamers often lie.

 

In bed asleep, where they do dreams things true.

 

 

Mercutio

 

Oh,

Then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.

She is the fairies’ midwife

And comes in shape no bigger than an agate stone

On the forefinger of an alderman,

Drawn by a team of atomies

Athwart men’s noses

As they lie asleep. Her wagon spokes made of long spinners’ legs,

The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,

The traces of the smallest spider’s web,

The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams.

Her whip of cricket’s bone,

The lash of film,

Her waggoner a small gray-coated gnat

Not half so big as a round little worm

Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid.

Her chariot is an empty hazel nut,

Made by the joiner squirrel

Or old grub,

Time out of mind,

The fairies’ coachmakers.

And

In this state,

She gallops

Night by night

Through lovers’ brains,

And then they dream of love.

O’er courtiers’ knees

That dream on courtsies straight,

O’er lawyers’ fingers

Who straight dream on fees,

O’er ladies’ lips

Who straight on kisses dream,

Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues

Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.

Sometimes she gallops

O’er a courtier’s nose

And then dreams he

Of smelling out a suit.

And sometimes come she

With a tithe’s pig’s tail

Tickling a parson’s nose

While he lies asleep.

Then dreams he

Of another benefice.

Sometimes

She driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,

And then dreams he

Of cutting foreign throats,

Of breaches,

Ambuscados,

Of healths five fathom deep

And then anon drums in his ear

At which he starts and wakes

And swears a prayer or two

And sleeps again.

This is that very Mab

That plaits the manes of horses

In the night

And bakes the elflocks

In foul sluttish hairs

Which once untangled

Much misfortune bodes.

This is the hag,

When maids lie on their backs

That presses them and learns them first to bear,

Making them

Women of Good Carriage.

This is she –

 

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

I was 23 when I played Mercutio. It would be 20 years before I got another shot at Shakespeare. We put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre here in Gainesville, and it was directed by a young man named Andrew Toutain, who now makes his art in New York City! And here’s how sharp he was: his simple, brilliant idea for the set was just a series of doors, three or four of them in a row, I can’t remember, placed at angle to the audience, and every time you came in one of the doors, the place automatically became where you said you were. Genius.

 

I played Oberon, the king of the fairies, yes, possessed of great powers, which here he intends to wield over his queen Titania, and so imparts these instructions to his sprite Puck.

 

Oberon

 

My gentle Puck,

Come hither.

Thou remembrest

Since once I sat upon a promontory

And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back

Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath

That the rude sea grew civil at her song

And certain stars shot madly from their spheres

To hear the sea maid’s music?

That very time I saw,

But thou couldst not,

Flying

between the cold moon and the earth,

Cupid, all armed.

A certain aim he took

At a fair vestal

Throned by the west,

And loosed his love-shaft smartly

From his bow,

As it should pierce

A hundred thousand hearts.

But I might see young Cupid’s firey shaft

Quenched

in the chaste beams

of the watery moon,

And the imperial votress passed on,

In maiden meditation,

Fancy free.

Yet

Marked I

Where the bolt of Cupid fell.

It fell upon a little western flower,

Before milk white,

Now purple

With love’s wound,

And maiden’s call it

Love in Idleness.

Fetch me that flower,

The herb I showed thee once.

The juice of it

On any sleeping eyelids laid

Will make or man or woman

Madly dote upon

The next live creature

That it sees.

Fetch me this herb,

And be here again

Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

 

 

 

Twelfth Night or What You Will

 

Joe Argenio set out to direct this play at the Acrosstown. Joe would have been an actor in Shakespeare’s company if he had been alive at the time.  He had a vision of Shakespeare’s play and a handle on the language, and he cast the play, with my comrade and friend Scot Davis as Feste, the clown, and I was to play Malvolio, when an insurrection occurred and Joe was replaced as director by, well, nobody really, and we just put on the play without a director, which, was pretty much the way Shakespeare’s did it. Joe should’ve directed that play. He was the most wonderfully Shakespearean guy I ever knew.  It would’ve been wonderful, I have no doubt. Instead all I have is a memory of the obsequious Malvolio, the steward of the beautiful Countess Olivia, which goes well with the court intrigue that was actually happening offstage. First, listen to Malvolio. You can pick up on the way he sounds because somehow Shakespeare puts the intonation in the words as you say them. Somehow they just come out with you sounding like Malvolio. Say everybody’s having a good time, they’re having a party, say, and it’s getting late, but everybody’s having a good time, singing songs, having fun,  and then this guy shows up:

 

 

Malvolio

 

My masters,

Are you mad?

Or what are you?

Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty,

but to gable like tinkers

At this time of night?

Do ye make an alehouse

Of my lady’s house

That ye squeak out your cozier’s catches

Without any mitigation

Or remorse of voice?

Is there no respect

Of place, persons, nor time

in you?

Sir Toby,

I must be round with you.

My lady bade me tell you

That though she harbors you

As her kinsman

She’s nothing allied to your disorders.

If you can separate yourself

And your misdemeanors,

You are welcome to this house.

If not,

And it would please you

To take leave of her. She is very willing

To bid you farewell.

And Mistress Mary,

If you prized my lady’s favor

At anything more than contempt, you would not give means

For this uncivil rule.

She shall know of it.

By this hand.

 

 

Malvolio is a great one for writing notes. Put everything in a memo. The master of office politics, or at least he considers himself to be. So, naturally, when he finds a note – which we know has been planted there, he reacts both predictably and unimaginably, because, somehow, he imagines that the beautiful Countess Olivia is in love with him and this must be a love letter. It fits right into his fantasy life, in which he is not a lowly steward, a kind of servant, but, rather:

 

Count Malvolio.

There is example for it.

The Lady of Strachy

Married the yeoman of the wardrobe.

Having been three months married to her,

Sitting in my state,

Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown,

having come from a daybed,

where I have left Olivia sleeping.

And then to have the humor of state

And after a demure travel of regard,

Telling them I know my place

As I would

They should do theirs,

To ask for my kinsman, Toby.

Seven of my people,

with an obedient start,

make out for him.

I frown the while,

And perchance wind up my watch,

Or play with my –

Some rich jewel.

Toby approaches,

curtseys there to me.

I extend my hand to him,

Quenching my familiar smile

With an austere regard of control,

Saying,

Cousin Toby,

My fortunes having cast me on your niece

give me this prerogative of speech:

You must amend your drunkenness!

What employment have we here?

By my life,

This is my lady’s hand.

These be her very c’s,

Her u’s,

And her t’s,

And thus makes she her great P’s

It is in contempt of question hers.

“To the unknown beloved,

Thus,

And my good wishes.”

Her very phrases.

By your leave, wax.

Soft!

And the impressure

Her Lucrece,

With which she uses to seal!

T’is my lady.

To whom should this be?

“God knows I love,

But who?

Lips, do not move.

No man must know.

No man must know.”

What follows?

The number’s altered.

“No man must know.”

If this should be thee, Malvolio?

“I may command where I adore,

But silence,

Like a Lucrece knife,

With bloodless stroke

My heart doth gore;

MOAI doth sway my life.”

“MOAI doth sway my life.”

Nay,

But first let me see,

Let me see,

Let me see.

“I may command where I adore.”

Why, she commands me.

I serve her.

She is my Lady.

Why, this is evident

To any formal capacity.

There is no obstruction in this.

And the end.

What should that alphabetical position portend?

If I could make that resemble something

In me?

Softly,

MOAI.

M, Malvolio, M.

Why,

That begins my name.

M

But there is no consonancy

In the sequel

That suffers under probation.

A should follow, but O does.

MOAI

This simulation is not as the former,

and yet to crush this a little,

it would bow to me,

for every one of these letters

are in my name.

Soft,

Here follows prose.

“If this fall into thy hand,

revolve.

In my stars,

I am above thee.

But be not afraid of greatness.

Some are born great,

Some achieve greatness,

And some have greatness

Thurst upon em.

Thy fates open their hands,

Let thy blood and spirit embrace them.

And to inure thy self

To what thou art like to be,

Cast thy humble slough

And appear fresh,

Be opposite with a kinsman,

Surly with servants,

Let thy tongue tang arguments of state,

Put thyself into the trick of singularity.

She thus advises thee who sighs for thee.

Remember who commended thy yellow stockings

And wished to see thee ever coss-gartered.

I say remember,

Go to,

Thou art made

If thou desirest to be so:

If not, let me see thee a steward still,

The fellow of servants,

And not worthy to touch Fortune’s Fingers.

Farewell.

She that would alter services with thee,

The Fortunate Unhappy,

Daylight and Champion

Discovers not more:

This is open.

I will be proud.

I will read politic authors,

I will baffle Sir Toby,

I will wash off gross acquaintance, I will be Point Devise,

The very Man.

I do not now wish my self

To let imagination jade me;

For every reason excites to this,

That my lady loves.

She did commend my yellow stockings of late.

She did praise my leg being cross-gartered,

And in this she manifests herself to my love,

And with a kind of injunction drives me

To these habits of her liking.

I thank my stars.

I am happy.

I will be

Strange,

Stout,

In yellow stockings

And cross-gartered

Even with the swiftness of putting on.

God and my stars be praised.

Here is yet a postscript:

“Thou can’t not choose but know who I am.

If thou entertainest my love,

Let it appear in thy smiling.

Thy smiles become thee well.

Therefore in my presence,

Still smile,

Dearo, my sweet,

I prithee.”

God, I thank thee.

I will smile.

I will do everything

That thou wilt have me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macbeth

 

 

You can’t put on a play without enacting it in real life. You discover this only after having put on play after play, and you enter each production planning a smooth, calm, orderly, untroubled, predictable, unemotional, pleasurable experience, and inevitably something entirely different than what you had planned takes place. Your unconscious enacts the play in reality. You not only dream about it, you find analogous situations in your life and impose the plot of the play on them.

 

That’s what makes Macbeth the most dangerous play in the world.

 

The artistic director of the theatre liked to play dangerous games. He enjoyed what was termed rough trade. He had a secret life, but rather than keep it secret, he flaunted it – as a way of attracting rough trade, the very sight of which would elicit from him a cat growl. Directing a play was the perfect vehicle for procuring his psycho-sexual subjects, while at the same time establishing his credentials as a serious artist, mounting Shakespeare no less.

 

I was Shakespeare – metaphorically speaking. At least I thought so, and this was our Globe. Marcel was the artistic director, and I was playwright-in-residence, as well as the company’s leading Shakespearean actor. In the war of the theatres we were the interloper, the invader, the usurper, attempting to lure audiences away from both the Equity house in town and the community playhouse with our serious edgy dramas compared to their musical comedy fluff.

 

Our radicalism was our advantage, while the other theatres were locked into the depressing pattern of a subscription season with its gradually numbing repetition of the summer musical, then the  Halloween play, followed by the Christmas play. We, on the other hand, could be continually provocative. In our effort to subvert the traditional seasonal expectations and exploit them to our own ends, we decided for Halloween to stage the most dangerous play in the world.

 

Marcel would direct, and I would play Macbeth. Then Marcel fell in love with another actor and gave him the part instead. Marcel was never in love with me. We were business partners, collaborators. Besides, I was married. I was married to a witch. That’s a lie, a feeble, misogynistic, lame-ass excuse, but it’s all I’ve got. We decided to kill the king.

 

We found out Marcel had been pilfering the cash box and diverting the box office cash to other ends, namely his midnight revels, and so we outed him, like gutting a pig, to the long dormant board of directors, which promptly banished him under threat of criminal prosecution, and I became the artistic director. I. I would direct Macbeth and I would play Macbeth. I. I. I was on the biggest ego trip of all time.

 

I wanted to take the theatre to another level, and to that end I would cast a professional, an Equity actress to play Lady Macbeth.

 

By now I had created enough enemies at the theatre to reach critical mass. The whole production was seen as the power trip it was, and the board of directors threw me out.

 

But that didn’t stop me. We would just do the play somewhere else. We would do the play outdoors, on the community plaza. We would perform for the people!

 

Acting like I was Orson Welles or something, I cast the play, the Equity actress agreeing to play Lady Macbeth and seek an Equity waiver. Everybody still wanted to do it, because the play has such great parts. There are fights. We had a fight choreographer. We had swords. There are witches.

 

Shakespeare’s company put on his plays with an ensemble of ten or twelve players, with some doubling.

 

We decided to use the three Witches for all the doubling, and by doing that we stumbled upon the secret of the play, hidden in plain sight.

 

The Witches inhabit these other characters who surround Macbeth, they morph into them, they are evil incarnate, and they advance the plot in fulfilment of their own prophecies,

 

The idea turned the Witches into not just good parts to play, but great parts, because the audience could watch you transform from one character into another, a chameleon, from bloody soldier on the battlefield to drunken gatekeeper to cunning assassin. And then one of the Three Witches suddenly became the greatest of all.

 

Evil is a force we deal with in life. It confronts us, as the Witches do Macbeth, but, further, as his own wife does, and it is in the choices, the decisions, we make when confronted with evil that determines our own evil or virtue.

 

The whole production threatened to collapse when the Equity actress playing Lady Macbeth decided to back out. She asked herself: What the hell am I doing? It’s Macbeth – it’s cursed!

 

It was cursed, born of ill will, but the deed was done, and there was no turning back now. The play was booked rehearsals had begun.

 

So Lady Macbeth became a Witch, or, rather, a Witch became Lady Macbeth, with the same wonderful, powerful, alluring, masterful actress playing both a Witch and Lady Macbeth, and transforming herself in full view of the audience from one into the other, thus illuminating the play – as through a glass darkly.

 

Just as we had stumbled onto the secret of the play, we stumbled onto success. Great reviews, big audiences, thrilling performances, what has become a legendary production, and not because I made it all up, but simply because it is a very great and dangerous play that requires a kind of crazy maniacal courage and good luck to succeed. Next thing I knew, my wife divorced me.

 

But they let me back into the theatre, and I returned, with my tail between my legs, chastened but not stirred.

 

 

 

Two truths are told,

As happy prologues to

The swelling act

Of the imperial theme.

This supernatural soliciting

Cannot be ill;

Cannot be good.

If ill, why hath it given me

Earnest of success,

Commencing in a truth?

If good,

Why do I yield to that suggestion

Whose horrid image

Doth unfix my hair

And make my seated heart

Knock at my ribs

Against the use of nature?

Present fears are less

Than horrible imagings.

My thought,

Whose murder yet is but fantastical,

Shakes so my single state of man

That function is smothered in surmise,

And nothing is

But what is not.

If chance will have me king,

Why, chance may crown me

Without my stir.

 

 

 

Stars, hide your fires;

Let not light see

My black and deep desires;

The eye wink at the hand;

Yet let that be

Which the eye fears

When it is done

To see.

 

 

If it were done

When tis done

Then twere well

It were done quickly.

If the assassination

Could trammel up the consequence

And catch with surcease success;

That but this blow

Might be the be all and end all here,

But here,

Upon this bank and shoal of time

We’d jump the life to come.

But in these cases

We still have judgment here;

That we but teach bloody instructions,

Which, being taught,

Return to plague the inventor.

This even-handed justice

Commends the ingredients

Of our poisoned chalice

To our own lips.

He’s here in double-trust.

First, as I am his kinsman

And his subject,

Strong both against the deed;

Then as his host,

Who should against his murderer

Shut the door,

Not bear the knife myself.

Besides, this Duncan

Hath borne his faculties so meek,

Hath been so clear in his great office,

That his virtues will plead

Like angles,

Trumpet-tongued,

Against the deep damnation of his taking off;

And pity,

Like a naked new-born babe,

Striding the blast,

Or heaven’s cherubim,

Horsed upon the sightless couriers

Of the air,

Shall blow the horrid deed

In every eye

That tears shall drown the wind.

I have no spur

to prick the sides

of my intent,

but only vaulting ambition,

which overleaps itself

and falls on the other.

 

 

Is this a dagger

Which I see before me

The handle toward my hand?

Come,

Let me clutch thee.

I have thee not,

And yet I see thee still.

Art thou not,

Fatal vision,

Sensible to feeling

As to sight?

Or art thou

But a dagger of the mind,

A false creation,

Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?

I see thee yet,

In form as palpable as this,

Which I now draw.

Thou marshals me

The way I was going;

And such an instrument

I was to use.

Mine eyes are made the fools

Of the other senses,

Or else worth all the rest.

I see thee still,

and on thy blade

Gouts of blood,

Which was not so before.

There’s no such thing.

It is the bloody business

Which informs thus to mine eyes.

 

 

Now o’er the one half-world

Nature seems dead,

And wicked dreams

Abuse the curtained sleep;

Witchcraft celebrates

Pale Hecate’s offerings,

And withered murder,

Alarumed by his sentinel,

The wolf,

Whose howl’s his watch,

Thus with his stealthy pace,

With Tarquin’s ravishing strides,

Toward his design

Moves like a ghost.

Thou sure and firm-set earth,

Hear not my steps,

Which way they walk,

For fear the very stones

Prate of my whereabout,

And take the present horror

From the time,

which now suits with it.

Whiles I threat,

He lives;

Words to the heat of deeds

Too cool breath gives.

I go,

And it is done.

The bell invites me.

Hear it not, Duncan;

For it is a knell

That summons thee

To heaven or to hell.

 

I have done the deed.

 

Methought I heard a voice cry

‘Sleep no more.

Macbeth hath murdered sleep.’

The innocent sleep.

Sleep that knits up

The raveled sleeve

of care,

the death of each day’s life,

sore labors bath,

balm of hurt minds.

Still it cried

Sleep no more

To all the house.

Macbeth hath murdered sleep

And therefore

Macbeth shall sleep no more.

 

How is it with me

When every noise appalls me?

What hands are here?

Ha, they pluck out mine eyes.

Will all great Neptune’s ocean

Wash this blood clean

From my hand?

No.

This my hand will rather

The multitudinous sea

Incarnadine,

Making the green one red.

 

 

We have scotch’d the snake,

Not killed it.

She’ll close and be herself,

Whilst our poor malice

Remains in danger of her former tooth.

But let the frame of things disjoint,

Both the worlds suffer,

Ere we will eat our meal in fear

And sleep in the affliction

Of these terrible dreams

That shake us nightly:

Better be with the dead.

Whom we, to gain our peace,

have sent to peace.

 

 

Be innocent of the knowledge,

Dearest chuck,

Till thou applaud the deed.

Come, sealing night,

Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;

And with thy bloody and invisible hand

Cancel and tear to pieces

That great bond which keeps me pale!

Light thickens,

And the crow makes wing

To the rooky wood.

Good things of day

Begin to droop and drowse

While night’s black agents

To their prey

Do rouse.

 

 

I have lived long enough.

My way of life

Is fallen into the sear,

The yellow leaf,

And that which should accompany old age,

As honor, love, obedience,

Troops of friends,

I must not look to have,

But, in their stead,

Curses not loud but deep.

Yet,

I’ll fight

Till from my bones

My flesh be hacked.

 

Canst thou not minister

To a mind diseased,

Pluck from the memory

A rooted sorrow,

Raze out the written troubles

Of the brain, and with some sweet oblivious antidote

Cleanse the stuffed bosom

Of that perilous stuff

Which weighs upon the heart?

 

She should have died hereafter;

There would have been a time for such a word.

Tomorrow,

And tomorrow

And tomorrow

Creeps in this petty pace

From day to day

To the last syllable

Of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays

Have lighted fools

The way to dusty death.

 

 

Out

Out

Brief candle.

Life’s but a walking shadow,

A poor player

That struts and frets

His hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more.

It is a tale told by an idiot,

Full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

 

 

 

Julius Caesar

 

I killed Julius Caesar. I mean, I killed the part. I crushed it. I had to. When my wife left me after 20 years of married life, that’s as long as the entire Trojan War plus ten years of Odyssey getting home, I felt as if I’d been robbed of my life, my entire habitual life, and although it wasn’t true, I felt as if I were unafraid of dying, a feeling you can ride like a wave of confidence, and I did. That was the way I entered into rehearsals for Julius Caesar, and I did it with the only certainty any actor ever gets – I learned my lines. I knew my lines cold for the first rehearsal, and when that became apparent halfway through the read-through, Malcolm Sanford, who was playing one of my assassins, leaned in and said: I want to kill him already.

 

 

Let me have men about me that are fat.

Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.

He thinks too much.

Such men are dangerous.

Would he were fatter.

But I fear him not.

Yet if my name were liable to fear

I do not know the man I should avoid

As soon as that spare Cassius.

He reads much.

He looks quite through the deeds of men.

He loves no play

As thou dost, Antony.

He hears no music.

Seldom he smiles,

And smiles in such a sort

As if he mocked himself,

And scorned his spirit

That could be moved to smile

At anything.

But I rather tell thee what is to be feared

Than what I fear;

For always I am Caesar.

Come on my right hand,

For this ear is deaf,

And tell me truly

What thou thinks of him.

 

Caesar shall forth.

The things that threatened me,

Ne’er looked but on my back.

When they shall see the face of Caesar,

They are vanished.

 

 

What can be avoided

Whose end is purposed

By the mighty gods?

Yet Caesar shall go forth.

These predictions

Are to the world in general

As to Caesar.

 

Cowards die many times

before their death.

The valiant never taste of death

But once.

Of all the wonders

That I have yet heard,

It seems to me most strange

That men should fear,

Seeing that death,

A necessary end,

Will come when it will come.

 

Caesar should be a beast

Without a heart

If he should stay at home today

For fear.

No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well

That Caesar is more dangerous

Than he.

We are lions littered in one day,

And I the elder.

Caesar shall go forth.

 

These couchings and these lowly courtesies

Might fire the blood of ordinary men.

But be not fond to think

That Caesar bears such rebel blood

That will be thawed from the true quality

With that which melteth fools;

I mean sweet words

And base spaniel-fawning.

I could be well moved

If I were as you.

But I am constant as the northern star

Of whose true-fixed

And resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament.

The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks.

They are all fire

And every one doth shine,

But there is one in all

Doth hold his place.

So in the world:

Tis furnished well with men,

And men are flesh and blood,

And apprehensive.

Yet in the number I do know but one

That unassailable holds on his rank,

Unshaked of motion,

And that I am he.

Let me a little show it.

 

 

As You Like It

 

As You Like It was my second Shakespeare play under the direction of the great Shakespearean scholar Sidney Homan. Acting in a Shakespeare play directed by Sid was like taking a graduate level seminar in Shakespeare, but who cares about that? The best part about acting in a play directed by Sid was that he was a true Stratfordian – not just a believer that Shakespeare was the man, a man of the theatre, a theatrician, who wrote those plays, but acting on that belief and staging the plays to see just how they play, so every moment became a discovery of This Must Be How They Did It!

 

When I played Jaques, the first thing Sid told me was that it’s pronounced Jakes, not Jacques, because that was one of Shakespeare’s jokes – Jakes was the street name for the outhouse, so Shakespeare names this guy who gives everybody shit.

 

The way I did it was by adopting David Mamet’s pose and I applied what Mamet terms practical aesthetics to my method and performance. In other words, there is no character Jaques – it’s just lines on a page. Sid and I debated the concept at rehearsal because we going around the table so each of the actors could relate his character’s back story, their childhood, their fears and joys, et cetera, everything that had happened to them before the action of the play began, and when it came to me I told them just what Mamet would say: There is no Jaques. You can’t go out and have a beer with him. It’s a trick. It’s just words on a page.

 

The irony is that that is Jaques’ character – he’s a complete cynic.

 

 

 

 

 

Jaques

 

More, I prithee, more.

I can suck melancholy

Out of a song

As a weasel sucks eggs.

 

A fool, a fool.

I met a fool in the forest,

A motley fool

Who laid him down

And basked him int the sun

And railed on Lady Fortune

In good terms.

Good morrow, fool,

Quoth I.

No, sir,

Quoth he,

Call me not fool

Till heaven hath sent me fortune.

And then he says very wisely,

It is ten o’clock.

Thus may we see,

Quoth he,

How the world wags.

T’is but an hour ago

Since it was nine,

And after one hour more

T’will be eleven,

And so on, from hour to hour,

We ripe and ripe,

And then, from hour to hour

We rot and rot.

And thereby hangs a tale.

When I did hear the motley fool

Thus moral on the time,

My lungs began to crow

Like chanticleer

That fools

Should be

So deep

Contemplative.

And I did laugh

Sans intermission

An hour by his dial.

O worthy fool.

O noble fool.

 

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women

Merely players.

They have their exists

And their entrances,

And one man,

In his time

Plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.

At first,

The infant,

Mewling and puking

In the nurse’s arms.

And then,

The whining schoolboy,

With his satchel

And shining morning face,

Creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school.

And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace,

With a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

Then,

A soldier,

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honor,

Sudden and quick

In quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth.

And then

The justice

In fair round belly

With good capon lined,

With eyes severe

And beard of formal cut,

Full wise

Of saws

And modern instances,

And so he plays his part.

The sixth age

Shifts

Into the lean and slippered pantaloons,

With spectacles on nose

And puch on side,

His youthful hose – well saved –

A world too wide

For his shrunk shank,

And his big manly voice

Turning again

Toward childish treble,

Pipes and whistles

In his sound.

Last scene of all,

that ends this strange, eventful history,

is

second childishness

and

mere oblivion –

sans teeth,

sans eyes,

sans everything.

 

 

That wasn’t the Last Scene of All. This is. It’s always calmest just before the storm. The Tempest. Maybe it’s not the last play Shakespeare ever write, but I liked to think that it was while I was playing Prospero. I thought of it as Shakespeare’s farewell to the theatre. And I thought of the whole script as being on a continuous loop with everything Shakespeare ever wrote, so naturally the first thing he says is –

 

The Tempest

 

Prospero

 

Be collected.

No more amazement.

Tell your piteous heart

There’s no harm done.

No harm.

I have done nothing

But in care of thee,

Of thee, my dear one,

Thee, may daughter,

Who art ignorant

of what thou art,

naught knowing

of whence I am, nor than I am

more better

than Prospero,

master of a full poor cell,

and thy no greater father.

‘Tis time

I should inform thee

Farther.

Lend thy hand

And pluck my magic garment from me.

So.

Lie there my art.

Have comfort.

The direful spectacle

Of the wrack,

Which touched the very virtue

Of compassion

In thee,

I have

With such provision

In mi9ne art,

So safely ordered

That there is no soul,

No,

Not so much perdition

As an hair

Betide to any creature

In the vessel

Which thou heardest cry,

Which thou sawest sink.

Sit down.

For thou must now know farther.

 

 

 

Now does my project gather to a head.

My charms crack not,

My spirits obey,

And time goes upright in his chariot.

How’s the day?

 

Ye elves

Of hills,

Brooks,

Standing lakes

And groves,

And ye

That on the sands with printless foot

Do chasing the ebbing nature

And do fly him

When he comes back,

You demi-puppets

That by moonshine

Do the green sour ringlets make

Whereof the ewe not bites

And you

Whose pastime

Is to make

The midnight mushrumps

That rejoice to hear the solemn curfew

By whose air,

Weak masters though ye be,

I have bedimmed

The noontide sun,

Called forth the mutinous winds,

and twixt the green sea

and the azured vault

set roaring war.

To the dread rattling thunder

Have I given fire

And rifted Jove’s stout oak

With his own bolt.

The strong-based promontory

Have I made shake

And by the spurs

Plucked up the pines and cedar.

Graves

At my command

Have waked their sleepers,

Oped,

And let em forth

By my so potent art.

But this rough magic

I here abjure,

And

When I have required

Some heavenly music,

Which even now I do,

To work mine end

Upon their senses

That this airy charm is for,

I’ll break my staff,

bury it certain fathoms in the earth,

and deeper than did ever plummet sound

I’ll drown my book.

 

You do look, my son,

In a moved sort,

As if you were dismayed.

Be cheerful, sir.

Our revels now are ended.

These our actors

As I foretold you

Were all spirits,

And are melted into air,

Into thin air,

And,

Like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capped towers,

The gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples,

The great globe itself,

Yea,

All which it inherit,

Shall dissolve,

And

Like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind.

We are such stuff

As dreams are made on,

And little life is rounded with a sleep.

 

 

Now

My charms

Are all o’erthrown

And what strength I have’s

Mine own,

Which is most faint

Now ‘tis true.

I must be here

Confined by you,

Or sent to Naples.

Let me not,

Since I have my dukedom got,

And pardoned the deceiver,

Dwell in this bare island

By your spell,

But release me

From my bands

With the help of your good hands.

Gentle breath of yours

My sails must fill.

Now I want spirits to enforce,

Art to enchant,

And my ending

Is despair

Unless

I be relieved by prayer

Which pierces so

That it assaults

Mercy itself

And frees all faults.

As you from crimes

Would pardoned be,

Let your indulgence

set me free.

 

 

I always wanted to play Prospero, the magus, the magician, the wizard, the sorcerer “with an intellect pure and conjoined with the power of the gods, without which we shall never ascend to the scrutiny of secret things,” so when the chance came along at the ART I jumped at it. I probably should have waited. The whole production was based on a dumb idea. All the characters were really action figures, dolls, in a game that two little kids were playing on the beach. Ok. So we had to dress up like authentic action figures. The authentic action figure costumes didn’t arrive from the store till opening night. Here’s how dumb it was, I had an authentic long white beard which I had grown on my face, but the director insisted I wear a phony authentic action figure beard over my real one. But enough of that.

Trump Train a Comin’

Hall of Fools was written about the 2013-2014 school year, and throughout the book you can hear the whistle blowing of the Trump Train coming down the track, but even if we had seen it coming, there seems nothing we could do about it except try to get out of the way, jump off the track, which is what happens in the book. The narrator retires, declares a separate peace, and thus emerges from the Hall of Fools sadder but wiser.

Now it is clear, right here in Alachua County that if all those kids, disproportionally black, who were acting up in school before, trying to get attention even if it required  negative behavior to get it, who felt that their situation was hopeless, well, now they know.

How did Trump get elected? How did ignorance win the election? You’ll find the answer in school.

When I pointed this out recently, one of my readers responded that it was good that public schools were bad because the more stupid people there were, the easier it would be for the smart people to take advantage of them.

If that sounds like the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard, you must admit it sounds a lot like Trump too.

I still feel bad about the portraits I’ve drawn of a few people in Hall of Fools because they were my friends and I betrayed their confidence and held them up to ridicule, which I regret and I offer my sincere apologies, but, ironically, it would be dishonest of me to take those bits out because one inescapable conclusion of Hall of Fools is that not only is the narrator a fool but so are you. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.

Here’s the opening salvo of an academic year in the golden age of Obama near the beginning of Hall of Fools, and if you look closely you can see the shadow of Betsy DeVos with God on her side, descending from the clouds, assisted by the deus ex machina of Republican chicanery.

August 2013 Pre-Planning

I’m from Chicago, and having labored through 30 years of educational reforms down here, I could now safely side with DaMare in saying: “This town aint ready for reform.”

Educationally, as in other ways, Florida was a dead end.

The Florida Plan.

Strategic Planning.

The Education Secretary was forced to resign when it was discovered he had cheated in Indiana to change the grades of charter schools, in other words, to screw public education.

Over the summer the brass had all been to a Big Workshop, a Huge Workshop, at Atlantic Coast High School, two whole vans full of administrators and go-getter teachers, wasting a whole weekend, or rather, devoting a whole weekend of their vacation, on the taxpayer’s dime,  in Jacksonville.

The Principal, Jerry Brickhouse, was telling the story to start off the faculty meeting. “So we’re on our way over there, and Junior is driving.” Brickhouse always liked to have somebody on staff he called Junior. “And I want to get there in time for the buffet breakfast.”

The new “Junior” was Mr. Luden, who had only been teaching Math for three or four years but was a real go-getter, conducted Bible Study once a week. The old Junior was science teacher Adam Kander, who had been Junior for a long time and was well into his forties now, and who would henceforth be known as Junior Senior.

And something funny happened on the trip on the way over before they found out that the State of Florida was opting out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or PARCC, and would instead develop something called the Florida Plan so everything they learned that weekend would have to be discarded, and I wasn’t paying attention, but it must have been funny because everyone laughed.

Down to serious business. As always, pre-planning began with the same common sense overview: This was a crisis. What could be done?

This idea that something could be done was naïve. Nothing could be done because there was nothing to be done. The something they always mandated doing involved essentially something other than teaching. They, the administrators, the school board, the legislature, none of them seemed to get the idea that there was absolutely nothing else to be done in school besides teaching.

Connie Gwaltney got up to rat out the teachers from last year who were sitting on the bench at the bus corral during bus duty instead of actively supervising the students. She was chastising the administrators more than the teachers. She had been at Odyssey longer than anyone, she said, which turned out not to be true, and she hated to see it come to this, whatever this was, but I wasn’t paying attention.

Connie liked to show Brickhouse and everybody else that she could be an administrator too. She could run this thing.

Brickhouse had commenced referring to the students as “our customers”. He must have learned it at a workshop. “How can we best serve our customers?” Now we had 600 customers riding busses. They didn’t get here till 8:45 so there was no way to improve their FCAT scores till then, and they got back on those busses at 3:45 and they were gone. Somehow in-between we had to find a way to serve those customers. Brickhouse had a great idea. He would have a SWAT team of teachers offering tutoring services for those customers. To swing the deal, the SWAT teachers would trade their planning period for cash, and the students would trade their elective class for the free tutoring.

“You can’t do that, it’s illegal,” Connie pounced.

“Of course it’s not,” Brickhouse said laughing.

“Teachers are already compensated during their planning period, you can’t compensate them twice.”

“We’ll talk about that afterward. But for now, just keep in mind, this could be a real good way to help everybody that needs help and that means teachers as well as students. That’s all we’re trying to do. And that’s what we’re here to do. It’s real important that we’re all on the same page with this. That was the big message of that weekend at Florida Atlantic, even if we don’t implant any of those, what do you call them, reforms, and even if Florida is not part of the PARCC and we make our own Florida Plan, that we have to work together no matter what it is, that that’s the only to make it work, whatever it is.”

That was clear enough.

 

 

SMART

At our table, someone said. “You see in the paper they caught Lynn Thorndike with her hand in the cookie jar?”

Everybody had seen it. Lynn Thorndike had been Assistant Principal at Odyssey for a long and abusive time, we thought we’d never get rid of her, that nobody in his right mind would ever make her a principal, before the currents in the Administrative Pool swept her on to being Principal first at one school and then another and then another. Along the way she developed a sideline as CEO of an Educational Tutoring Service and a scheme not unlike the one Brickhouse had just openly outlined for all to hear. Then she hired her own company to tutor the customers. Bingo. Dr. Thorndike hit the Race to the Top jackpot and pocketed about a quarter of a million dollars. When the Better Business Bureau failed to look into this but the Tampa Tribune did, the Gainesville Sun got interested too and called Dr. Thorndike on the phone. Then the investigation took a comical turn when Dr. Thorndike pretended on the phone to be someone else and the reporter caught on.

“You don’t happen to be Lynn Thorndike, do you?”

“Why, no, no, of course not, I’m just . . .”

Our brave leaders. In front of us Brickhouse had given way to Diana Arthur, who was speaking now, ironically enough, as she was the one who had replaced Lynn Thorndike as Assistant Principal. She looked at our table sternly.

“I’d like for you look at the available data and then for you to brainstorm some strategies and access your resources, and then try to answer the question.”

What question? None of us knew. We’d been talking about Lynn Thorndike.

“Sustainable. Measureable. Attainable. Reasonable. Timely.”

“What?”

“SMART.”

Isn’t it!”

“Let’s look at our targeted population.”

That would be those 600 customers on busses, on free and reduced lunch, also known as the lower quartile, which meant the lowest quartile, and we could take all of their names and their data and put it in a big hopper and give it a spin.

“Let’s brainstorm.”

As always, we were trying to think of Things to do Besides Teaching.

“No, no. First, identify the problem.”

“Wait a minute. Aren’t these the same problems we were going to solve last year?”

“And they’ll be the same ones next year.”

Brickhouse could sense the crowd’s energy ebbing so he stepped in to raffle off gift cards to Wal-Mart and Publix and Starbucks.

 

5

The Beginning of the End

The continuum presented itself on the very first day of school, the kids who were already bored. They had been bored all summer and they were still bored. They were, of course, simply boring. They were boring themselves.

“I don’t know why you’re bored, you seem so easily amused. Why not summon up one of those highly amusing incidents that you so love to laugh at. Someone falling down. Or farting. Or, how about this? Someone Falling Down Farting!”

Sometimes the recoil can be more dangerous than the projectile.

“Why the long face? Think of all the wonderful farts you’ve cut.”

Anger is the poorest of counselors.

Lately, with the infusion of the lower quartile into my Regular Language Arts classes I found myself counseling young black males with the advice I had picked up from Dashiell Hammett by way of Sam Spade and portrayed indelibly by Humphrey Bogart: “When a lady slaps your face, you’ll take it and learn to like it.”

 

There were a lot of eighth graders who didn’t know the rules of capitalization.

Tenses? You’ve got to be kidding me. They didn’t know what a verb was, so how could they know tenses?

Who taught these kids last year?

The conclusion was inescapable that good old Finn, who had been at Odyssey for 15 years and had twice been named Teacher of the Year, who was accustomed to wearing a sports jacket and affecting the look of an administrator, whose yearning to be an administrator had only eroded over time when he failed to win the necessary backing from his own administrator, the Principal who might have offered him a starting block at the edge of the administrative pool but found him too contentious, after yet another class of his former students arrived in my room as illiterate as stones, fresh from a year of cooperative learning, proving damningly that Mr. Finn must really not be able to teach worth shit. But of course Finn could teach and was a good teacher. He tried. He knew his stuff, he was literate, articulate, personable, an effective communicator, and he did everything that was asked of him and more. It was just plain as day that his method wasn’t working either. The kids couldn’t write.

 

Now Bill O’Reilly could seize on this manuscript and say, see there, that proves my point: The public schools aren’t teaching these kids anything, they don’t even know what a verb is – but only half of that was true. Yes, it was true that the kids didn’t even know what a verb was, but I did try to teach them every single day and so did Finn. It was true that not even all the teachers of Language Arts knew what a verb was, but I did, and I told the kids, I taught them every chance I got. It’s just that the chances were so rare, and more and more those rare chances were being eliminated by shit like Pure BS.

Academic Success Program

PDP through ASICS

Reading Coach

The students would have you believe that all had been reversed, transformed into its opposite in a world like Genet’s in prison where the sinners were saints and vice versa. The students of the Obama era were ironically empowered with a kind of tea party mentality, believing that as tax payers themselves, the teachers were actually working for them and that they were actually the teachers’ superior. They were always to supervise their teachers to make sure the teachers were laboring to maximum capacity, meeting their every need, answering their every question. Their every question developed into a monotony: “Can I go to the restroom, can I get a drink, can I go call my mom, can I go see my counselor, can I go to my locker, do we have to write this down, is this for a grade, when do we get out of here, can I go to the restroom . . .” endlessly.

At least let me get all the way out the door, I thought, before you slam it on me.

I was looking forward to leaving, and apparently I wasn’t the only one looking forward to my leaving.

 

Julie Honnecut gushed at lunchtime upon having seen her old chum Faye Sheldon, the new Reading Coach cruising by for a briefing with the new Language Arts Department Chairwoman, none other than Ms. Honnecut herself, “I love Faye. The best thing in the world for her was to get out of the classroom.”

Faye Sheldon, despite being a staunch Republican in her 60s, was still sucking off the government’s tit. She and her husband had feared the onslaught of the tyrant Obama, who somehow at the same time managed to be a dictator and show no leadership, because they were unfortunate enough to “earn” more than $250,000 a year, thus falling prey to Obama’s communist philosophy of sharing the wealth. I knew Obama was not a communist, because it takes one to know one. Faye Sheldon was still pulling down her top-step salary, but not as a teacher anymore. Now she was a Reading Coach. That didn’t mean coaching kids in Reading, which God knows they could have used. It meant coaching teachers in how to teach kids Reading, which she couldn’t do anymore if she ever could, and  that was why she retired after frying her brain trying to teach Read 180 to a bunch of ghetto kids. Now I guess she must have been in DROP, where they let you retire and then they hire you back like you’re someone else, while the other you goes on collecting retirement checks. Jesus.

 

Sapere Aude

It was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. On my smart board we were able to watch Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speech. I was going to diagram some of the powerful metaphors on the white board. About halfway through Dr. King’s speech, a tiny black girl, in every way a model of respectability, good grades, two parents, stable household, college-bound, surreptitiously slipped on a pair of phony glasses with the mustache and nose attached (they had them in brown noses now too) and made everyone snicker.

 

A frightening number of eighth graders not only could not write or read cursive, they didn’t even know how to hold a pen. They clutched at it with their entire fist and gripped it like a snake they were trying to wring the life out of.

Your pen is not a snake. Your pen will not betray you in the Garden of Eden. Your pen will not bite you, but it just may poison you. Its power may seduce you, may lull you into a hypnotic and dream-filled waking sleep as it slides through sentence after sentence, snaking its way across and down each page, and like a python it may wrap its coils around you and squeeze the life out of you with its weighted words, words that speak the truth or heap lies on top of you until you are buried alive, curse at you like demons, bless you like angels, haunt you like ghosts, hunt you like beasts of prey, and your very humanity will cry out for release: No more ink, I beg of you, I’m drowning in it!

“If all the trees that are upon the earth were to become pens, and if after that God should swell the sea into seven seas of ink, his words would not be exhausted; for God is mighty wise.” The Koran, Sura 31, Lokman 

 

https://shamrockmcshane.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/losing-the-war-on-ignorance/

 

Wake up America! This is a must read book.

By Tess on August 6, 2015

Hall of Fools is a compelling read, and page turner, despite its 400 plus pages. The reader is taken behind the scenes of a typical (gee I hope not!) middle to upper class public middle-school in modern day America. If even 10% of this story is accurate on a national level, our country had better wake up and do something about public education. I believe this book is on the level of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” a genuine alert to the masses about a long on-going problem which is being ignored. This book is a gut wrenching story of deplorable teaching conditions, from incidents like fecal material dripping through damaged bathroom flooring, onto teachers in their lounge below eating their lunch to the constant level of violence and disrespect, both, towards teachers, and fellow students is mind boggling. When incidents like a punch to the face (facial bones broken) and heavy loaded backpacks intentionally dropped from upper levels on an unsuspecting student (resulting in a 3-week hospital stay for recipient) not only have no legal repercussion, but are the norm, it is easy to extrapolate and understand why our country is so violence orientated. It is a shocking must read for anyone and everyone. A lot of this book reminds me of the old movie, “To Sir, with Love” starring Sidney Poitier as well as other movies of that genre. The big difference is the school in this book is not an inner city, no funding school, but a middle to upper-class school district in a distinctive higher education University town, where not only do the all kids flunking at the lowest level get promoted anyway, but where the good students are the big losers in their education. I hope one of the major publishing companies out there picks up the rights to this book, it is an important work that needs to reach the masses. The author is well qualified to write on the topic, listing his 30-years as a middle school teacher.

http://www.amazon.com/Hall-Fools-Shamrock-McShane/dp/1511466553/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430838905&sr=8-2&keywords=hall+of+fools

 

 

James Livingston, Professor of History, Rutgers, on Hall of Fools:

 

“Everyone who teaches, at whatever level of education, higher, lower, or in the hellish depths of private schools and prisons, needs to avoid this book, because it lays bare the absurdity of the enterprise. Every department chair, dean, provost, principal, janitor, or hall monitor, and every student aged 14 to 24 needs to read it, because it explains why we–us teachers–enact this repetition compulsion on a daily basis.”

 

James Livingston has taught history at Rutgers since 1988. Before then, he taught at a community college, a maximum-security prison, a small liberal-arts college, and three state universities. He’s the author of five books, beginning with Origins of the Federal Reserve System (1986), on topics in economic, intellectual, social, and cultural history. His published essays include studies of Shakespeare, banking reform, cartoon politics, pragmatism, diplomatic history, Marxism, slavery and modernity, feminism, corporations and cultural studies, psychoanalysis, capitalism and socialism. He lives in New York City.

 

 

http://www.connotationpress.com/creative-nonfiction/2545-a-note-from-robert-clark-young-cnf-editor-march-2015

Every now and then I present a writer whose work, I’d like to think, only I have the balls to publish. While it’s possible that an academic journal might publish a piece that attacks the educational system—including students and parents—it isn’t necessarily so. Thus I’m proud to give you an excerpt of “Hall of Fools” by Shamrock McShane. The title is apt, and so is the writer’s honesty.
A Note from Robert Clark Young, CNF Editor: March 2015

http://www.connotationpress.com/creative-nonfiction/2543-shamrock-mcshane-creative-nonfiction

 

 

https://shamrockmcshane.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/hall-of-fools-arrives-at-the-white-house/

 

 

Seven Sides of Shakespeare

Seven Sides of Shakespeare

 

(In progress. This is the script for a performance piece I am rehearsing. The commentary will be interspersed throughout the  scenes.))

 

Sides of Shakespeare. I call it that because that’s probably the truest way of knowing the plays of William Shakespeare, and being able to see them as he and his fellow players saw them when they were first produced around the beginning of the seventeenth century.

 

These are my sides. The originals. This is the way I learn my lines for a play.

 

Turns out that’s the way Shakespeare and the King’s Men learned their lines too. What each player knew was just his side of the dialogue.

 

That’s what they went hunting for when Shakespeare’s plays were first published as Quartos, because, apparently a script of the entire play did not exist.

 

No original manuscript of a play written by William Shakespeare is known to exist.

 

This is what has fueled the Oxfordian or Anti-Stratfordian fervor that that would debate the Authorship Question.

 

Who really wrote these plays?

 

Shakespeare was an actor, a player, a man of the theatre, a theatrician, as we say. He’d seen the theatre grow from the morality plays into courtyard satires put on by university wits. Shakespeare was no university wit. He lacked the academic training, which at that time meant he knew Latin, but not Greek. Ironically, this is the cudgel that’s been used by the Anti-Stratfordians to claim that no one other than a university-trained globe-trotting nobleman could have written the plays of Shakespeare.

 

But you have to understand that from the playwright’s own point of view, it would have made good business sense to destroy the manuscript of an entire play because that would prevent other companies from stealing it.

 

So, when they wanted to put the plays together into a script to be published, with a beginning, middle, and end, they stitched together all the actors’ sides.

 

So, here I have my cue line, because that’s what I’m listening for, and then I have my lines, which I take the time to write down by my own hand, which always gives me the feeling that I wrote the play, which makes it easier to remember. You ought to be able to remember your own play, right?

 

And this is what I carry around with me on stage when I’m rehearsing a play.

 

The beauty part in writing the lines down, as if I were the author, is that I break them down into their smallest parts, like a single ribbon of poetry, and then I just read the lines over and over until I’ve learned them. Not memorized them, mind you. You learn your lines. You learn to ride a bike, you learn to swim.

You memorize the grocery list, but you learn your lines.

 

 

Romeo and Juliet

 

 

My personal association with Will Shakespeare goes back to 1973 in Chicago in a theatre called the Gill. Patrick O’Gara had opened the theatre in Old Town to great success with his previous production, Bertolt Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle. I was lucky enough to have a part in that play, which won the Jefferson Award that year for Best Ensemble. Our second production was Romeo and Juliet, spring in Chicago, 1974. Keith Szarabika played Romeo. He’s still a great actor. I remember his approach to Romeo. He said: Romeo is just a guy trying to be cool. It worked. How cool was Keith? He later played The Equalizer’s sidekick on TV.  And I got to play Mercutio. What a part! What a part to start with! One of the stage’s great smart asses, which would turn out to be a role I specialized in. This guy gets stabbed to death and when his best friend Romeo asks him if the wound is bad, he tells him “Oh, not so deep as a well nor as wide as a church door, but t’will serve.”

 

Shakespeare gave another layer to Mercutio beyond smartass, a layer that reveals not only his tormented love for Romeo but a nightmare of the subconscious such as Freud would revel in. It’s all bound up in the Queen Mab speech.

 

Romeo and Mercutio are arguing back and forth about dreams, because Romeo is, of course, a dreamer.

 

“I dreamed a dream tonight,” Romeo says.

 

And so did I.

 

Well, what was yours?

 

That dreamers often lie.

 

In bed asleep, where they do dreams things true.

 

 

Mercutio

 

Oh,

Then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.

She is the fairies’ midwife

And comes in shape no bigger than an agate stone

On the forefinger of an alderman,

Drawn by a team of atomies

Athwart men’s noses

As they lie asleep. Her wagon spokes made of long spinners’ legs,

The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,

The traces of the smallest spider’s web,

The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams.

Her whip of cricket’s bone,

The lash of film,

Her waggoner a small gray-coated gnat

Not half so big as a round little worm

Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid.

Her chariot is an empty hazel nut,

Made by the joiner squirrel

Or old grub,

Time out of mind,

The fairies’ coachmakers.

And

In this state,

She gallops

Night by night

Through lovers’ brains,

And then they dream of love.

O’er courtiers’ knees

That dream on courtsies straight,

O’er lawyers’ fingers

Who straight dream on fees,

O’er ladies’ lips

Who straight on kisses dream,

Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues

Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.

Sometimes she gallops

O’er a courtier’s nose

And then dreams he

Of smelling out a suit.

And sometimes come she

With a tithe’s pig’s tail

Tickling a parson’s nose

While he lies asleep.

Then dreams he

Of another benefice.

Sometimes

She driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,

And then dreams he

Of cutting foreign throats,

Of breaches,

Ambuscados,

Of healths five fathom deep

And then anon drums in his ear

At which he starts and wakes

And swears a prayer or two

And sleeps again.

This is that very Mab

That plaits the manes of horses

In the night

And bakes the elflocks

In foul sluttish hairs

Which once untangled

Much misfortune bodes.

This is the hag,

When maids lie on their backs

That presses them and learns them first to bear,

Making them

Women of Good Carriage.

This is she –

 

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

I was 23 when I played Mercutio. It would be 20 years before I got another shot at Shakespeare. We put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre here in Gainesville, and it was directed by a young man named Andrew Toutain, who now makes his art in New York City! And here’s how sharp he was: his simple, brilliant idea for the set was just a series of doors, three or four of them in a row, I can’t remember, placed at angle to the audience, and every time you came in one of the doors, the place automatically became where you said you were. Genius.

 

I played Oberon, the king of the fairies, yes, possessed of great powers, which here he intends to wield over his queen Titania, and so imparts these instructions to his sprite Puck.

 

Oberon

 

My gentle Puck,

Come hither.

Thou remembrest

Since once I sat upon a promontory

And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back

Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath

That the rude sea grew civil at her song

And certain stars shot madly from their spheres

To hear the sea maid’s music?

That very time I saw,

But thou couldst not,

Flying

between the cold moon and the earth,

Cupid, all armed.

A certain aim he took

At a fair vestal

Throned by the west,

And loosed his love-shaft smartly

From his bow,

As it should pierce

A hundred thousand hearts.

But I might see young Cupid’s firey shaft

Quenched

in the chaste beams

of the watery moon,

And the imperial votress passed on,

In maiden meditation,

Fancy free.

Yet

Marked I

Where the bolt of Cupid fell.

It fell upon a little western flower,

Before milk white,

Now purple

With love’s wound,

And maiden’s call it

Love in Idleness.

Fetch me that flower,

The herb I showed thee once.

The juice of it

On any sleeping eyelids laid

Will make or man or woman

Madly dote upon

The next live creature

That it sees.

Fetch me this herb,

And be here again

Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

 

 

 

Twelfth Night or What You Will

 

Joe Argenio set out to direct this play at the Acrosstown. Joe would have been an actor in Shakespeare’s company if he had been alive at the time.  He had a vision of Shakespeare’s play and a handle on the language, and he cast the play, with my comrade and friend Scot Davis as Feste, the clown, and I was to play Malvolio, when an insurrection occurred and Joe was replaced as director by, well, nobody really, and we just put on the play without a director, which, was pretty much the way Shakespeare’s did it. Joe should’ve directed that play. He was the most wonderfully Shakespearean guy I ever knew.  It would’ve been wonderful, I have no doubt. Instead all I have is a memory of the obsequious Malvolio, the steward of the beautiful Countess Olivia, which goes well with the court intrigue that was actually happening offstage. First, listen to Malvolio. You can pick up on the way he sounds because somehow Shakespeare puts the intonation in the words as you say them. Somehow they just come out with you sounding like Malvolio. Say everybody’s having a good time, they’re having a party, say, and it’s getting late, but everybody’s having a good time, singing songs, having fun,  and then this guy shows up:

 

 

Malvolio

 

My masters,

Are you mad?

Or what are you?

Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty,

but to gable like tinkers

At this time of night?

Do ye make an alehouse

Of my lady’s house

That ye squeak out your cozier’s catches

Without any mitigation

Or remorse of voice?

Is there no respect

Of place, persons, nor time

in you?

Sir Toby,

I must be round with you.

My lady bade me tell you

That though she harbors you

As her kinsman

She’s nothing allied to your disorders.

If you can separate yourself

And your misdemeanors,

You are welcome to this house.

If not,

And it would please you

To take leave of her. She is very willing

To bid you farewell.

And Mistress Mary,

If you prized my lady’s favor

At anything more than contempt, you would not give means

For this uncivil rule.

She shall know of it.

By this hand.

 

 

Malvolio is a great one for writing notes. Put everything in a memo. The master of office politics, or at least he considers himself to be. So, naturally, when he finds a note – which we know has been planted there, he reacts both predictably and unimaginably, because, somehow, he imagines that the beautiful Countess Olivia is in love with him and this must be a love letter. It fits right into his fantasy life, in which he is not a lowly steward, a kind of servant, but, rather:

 

Count Malvolio.

There is example for it.

The Lady of Strachy

Married the yeoman of the wardrobe.

Having been three months married to her,

Sitting in my state,

Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown,

having come from a daybed,

where I have left Olivia sleeping.

And then to have the humor of state

And after a demure travel of regard,

Telling them I know my place

As I would

They should do theirs,

To ask for my kinsman, Toby.

Seven of my people,

with an obedient start,

make out for him.

I frown the while,

And perchance wind up my watch,

Or play with my –

Some rich jewel.

Toby approaches,

curtseys there to me.

I extend my hand to him,

Quenching my familiar smile

With an austere regard of control,

Saying,

Cousin Toby,

My fortunes having cast me on your niece

give me this prerogative of speech:

You must amend your drunkenness!

What employment have we here?

By my life,

This is my lady’s hand.

These be her very c’s,

Her u’s,

And her t’s,

And thus makes she her great P’s

It is in contempt of question hers.

“To the unknown beloved,

Thus,

And my good wishes.”

Her very phrases.

By your leave, wax.

Soft!

And the impressure

Her Lucrece,

With which she uses to seal!

T’is my lady.

To whom should this be?

“God knows I love,

But who?

Lips, do not move.

No man must know.

No man must know.”

What follows?

The number’s altered.

“No man must know.”

If this should be thee, Malvolio?

“I may command where I adore,

But silence,

Like a Lucrece knife,

With bloodless stroke

My heart doth gore;

MOAI doth sway my life.”

“MOAI doth sway my life.”

Nay,

But first let me see,

Let me see,

Let me see.

“I may command where I adore.”

Why, she commands me.

I serve her.

She is my Lady.

Why, this is evident

To any formal capacity.

There is no obstruction in this.

And the end.

What should that alphabetical position portend?

If I could make that resemble something

In me?

Softly,

MOAI.

M, Malvolio, M.

Why,

That begins my name.

M

But there is no consonancy

In the sequel

That suffers under probation.

A should follow, but O does.

MOAI

This simulation is not as the former,

and yet to crush this a little,

it would bow to me,

for every one of these letters

are in my name.

Soft,

Here follows prose.

“If this fall into thy hand,

revolve.

In my stars,

I am above thee.

But be not afraid of greatness.

Some are born great,

Some achieve greatness,

And some have greatness

Thurst upon em.

Thy fates open their hands,

Let thy blood and spirit embrace them.

And to inure thy self

To what thou art like to be,

Cast thy humble slough

And appear fresh,

Be opposite with a kinsman,

Surly with servants,

Let thy tongue tang arguments of state,

Put thyself into the trick of singularity.

She thus advises thee who sighs for thee.

Remember who commended thy yellow stockings

And wished to see thee ever coss-gartered.

I say remember,

Go to,

Thou art made

If thou desirest to be so:

If not, let me see thee a steward still,

The fellow of servants,

And not worthy to touch Fortune’s Fingers.

Farewell.

She that would alter services with thee,

The Fortunate Unhappy,

Daylight and Champion

Discovers not more:

This is open.

I will be proud.

I will read politic authors,

I will baffle Sir Toby,

I will wash off gross acquaintance, I will be Point Devise,

The very Man.

I do not now wish my self

To let imagination jade me;

For every reason excites to this,

That my lady loves.

She did commend my yellow stockings of late.

She did praise my leg being cross-gartered,

And in this she manifests herself to my love,

And with a kind of injunction drives me

To these habits of her liking.

I thank my stars.

I am happy.

I will be

Strange,

Stout,

In yellow stockings

And cross-gartered

Even with the swiftness of putting on.

God and my stars be praised.

Here is yet a postscript:

“Thou can’t not choose but know who I am.

If thou entertainest my love,

Let it appear in thy smiling.

Thy smiles become thee well.

Therefore in my presence,

Still smile,

Dearo, my sweet,

I prithee.”

God, I thank thee.

I will smile.

I will do everything

That thou wilt have me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macbeth

 

 

You can’t put on a play without enacting it in real life. You discover this only after having put on play after play, and you enter each production planning a smooth, calm, orderly, untroubled, predictable, unemotional, pleasurable experience, and inevitably something entirely different than what you had planned takes place. Your unconscious enacts the play in reality. You not only dream about it, you find analogous situations in your life and impose the plot of the play on them.

 

That’s what makes Macbeth the most dangerous play in the world.

 

The artistic director of the theatre liked to play dangerous games. He enjoyed what was termed rough trade. He had a secret life, but rather than keep it secret, he flaunted it – as a way of attracting rough trade, the very sight of which would elicit from him a cat growl. Directing a play was the perfect vehicle for procuring his psycho-sexual subjects, while at the same time establishing his credentials as a serious artist, mounting Shakespeare no less.

 

I was Shakespeare – metaphorically speaking. At least I thought so, and this was our Globe. Marcel was the artistic director, and I was playwright-in-residence, as well as the company’s leading Shakespearean actor. In the war of the theatres we were the interloper, the invader, the usurper, attempting to lure audiences away from both the Equity house in town and the community playhouse with our serious edgy dramas compared to their musical comedy fluff.

 

Our radicalism was our advantage, while the other theatres were locked into the depressing pattern of a subscription season with its gradually numbing repetition of the summer musical, then the  Halloween play, followed by the Christmas play. We, on the other hand, could be continually provocative. In our effort to subvert the traditional seasonal expectations and exploit them to our own ends, we decided for Halloween to stage the most dangerous play in the world.

 

Marcel would direct, and I would play Macbeth. Then Marcel fell in love with another actor and gave him the part instead. Marcel was never in love with me. We were business partners, collaborators. Besides, I was married. I was married to a witch. That’s a lie, a feeble, misogynistic, lame-ass excuse, but it’s all I’ve got. We decided to kill the king.

 

We found out Marcel had been pilfering the cash box and diverting the box office cash to other ends, namely his midnight revels, and so we outed him, like gutting a pig, to the long dormant board of directors, which promptly banished him under threat of criminal prosecution, and I became the artistic director. I. I would direct Macbeth and I would play Macbeth. I. I. I was on the biggest ego trip of all time.

 

I wanted to take the theatre to another level, and to that end I would cast a professional, an Equity actress to play Lady Macbeth.

 

By now I had created enough enemies at the theatre to reach critical mass. The whole production was seen as the power trip it was, and the board of directors threw me out.

 

But that didn’t stop me. We would just do the play somewhere else. We would do the play outdoors, on the community plaza. We would perform for the people!

 

Acting like I was Orson Welles or something, I cast the play, the Equity actress agreeing to play Lady Macbeth and seek an Equity waiver. Everybody still wanted to do it, because the play has such great parts. There are fights. We had a fight choreographer. We had swords. There are witches.

 

Shakespeare’s company put on his plays with an ensemble of ten or twelve players, with some doubling.

 

We decided to use the three Witches for all the doubling, and by doing that we stumbled upon the secret of the play, hidden in plain sight.

 

The Witches inhabit these other characters who surround Macbeth, they morph into them, they are evil incarnate, and they advance the plot in fulfilment of their own prophecies,

 

The idea turned the Witches into not just good parts to play, but great parts, because the audience could watch you transform from one character into another, a chameleon, from bloody soldier on the battlefield to drunken gatekeeper to cunning assassin. And then one of the Three Witches suddenly became the greatest of all.

 

Evil is a force we deal with in life. It confronts us, as the Witches do Macbeth, but, further, as his own wife does, and it is in the choices, the decisions, we make when confronted with evil that determines our own evil or virtue.

 

The whole production threatened to collapse when the Equity actress playing Lady Macbeth decided to back out. She asked herself: What the hell am I doing? It’s Macbeth – it’s cursed!

 

It was cursed, born of ill will, but the deed was done, and there was no turning back now. The play was booked rehearsals had begun.

 

So Lady Macbeth became a Witch, or, rather, a Witch became Lady Macbeth, with the same wonderful, powerful, alluring, masterful actress playing both a Witch and Lady Macbeth, and transforming herself in full view of the audience from one into the other, thus illuminating the play – as through a glass darkly.

 

Just as we had stumbled onto the secret of the play, we stumbled onto success. Great reviews, big audiences, thrilling performances, what has become a legendary production, and not because I made it all up, but simply because it is a very great and dangerous play that requires a kind of crazy maniacal courage and good luck to succeed. Next thing I knew, my wife divorced me.

 

But they let me back into the theatre, and I returned, with my tail between my legs, chastened but not stirred. Next I would play Julius Caesar.

 

 

 

Two truths are told,

As happy prologues to

The swelling act

Of the imperial theme.

This supernatural soliciting

Cannot be ill;

Cannot be good.

If ill, why hath it given me

Earnest of success,

Commencing in a truth?

If good,

Why do I yield to that suggestion

Whose horrid image

Doth unfix my hair

And make my seated heart

Knock at my ribs

Against the use of nature?

Present fears are less

Than horrible imagings.

My thought,

Whose murder yet is but fantastical,

Shakes so my single state of man

That function is smothered in surmise,

And nothing is

But what is not.

If chance will have me king,

Why, chance may crown me

Without my stir.

 

 

 

Stars, hide your fires;

Let not light see

My black and deep desires;

The eye wink at the hand;

Yet let that be

Which the eye fears

When it is done

To see.

 

 

If it were done

When tis done

Then twere well

It were done quickly.

If the assassination

Could trammel up the consequence

And catch with surcease success;

That but this blow

Might be the be all and end all here,

But here,

Upon this bank and shoal of time

We’d jump the life to come.

But in these cases

We still have judgment here;

That we but teach bloody instructions,

Which, being taught,

Return to plague the inventor.

This even-handed justice

Commends the ingredients

Of our poisoned chalice

To our own lips.

He’s here in double-trust.

First, as I am his kinsman

And his subject,

Strong both against the deed;

Then as his host,

Who should against his murderer

Shut the door,

Not bear the knife myself.

Besides, this Duncan

Hath borne his faculties so meek,

Hath been so clear in his great office,

That his virtues will plead

Like angles,

Trumpet-tongued,

Against the deep damnation of his taking off;

And pity,

Like a naked new-born babe,

Striding the blast,

Or heaven’s cherubim,

Horsed upon the sightless couriers

Of the air,

Shall blow the horrid deed

In every eye

That tears shall drown the wind.

I have no spur

to prick the sides

of my intent,

but only vaulting ambition,

which overleaps itself

and falls on the other.

 

 

Is this a dagger

Which I see before me

The handle toward my hand?

Come,

Let me clutch thee.

I have thee not,

And yet I see thee still.

Art thou not,

Fatal vision,

Sensible to feeling

As to sight?

Or art thou

But a dagger of the mind,

A false creation,

Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?

I see thee yet,

In form as palpable as this,

Which I now draw.

Thou marshals me

The way I was going;

And such an instrument

I was to use.

Mine eyes are made the fools

Of the other senses,

Or else worth all the rest.

I see thee still,

and on thy blade

Gouts of blood,

Which was not so before.

There’s no such thing.

It is the bloody business

Which informs thus to mine eyes.

 

 

Now o’er the one half-world

Nature seems dead,

And wicked dreams

Abuse the curtained sleep;

Witchcraft celebrates

Pale Hecate’s offerings,

And withered murder,

Alarumed by his sentinel,

The wolf,

Whose howl’s his watch,

Thus with his stealthy pace,

With Tarquin’s ravishing strides,

Toward his design

Moves like a ghost.

Thou sure and firm-set earth,

Hear not my steps,

Which way they walk,

For fear the very stones

Prate of my whereabout,

And take the present horror

From the time,

which now suits with it.

Whiles I threat,

He lives;

Words to the heat of deeds

Too cool breath gives.

I go,

And it is done.

The bell invites me.

Hear it not, Duncan;

For it is a knell

That summons thee

To heaven or to hell.

 

I have done the deed.

 

Methought I heard a voice cry

‘Sleep no more.

Macbeth hath murdered sleep.’

The innocent sleep.

Sleep that knits up

The raveled sleeve

of care,

the death of each day’s life,

sore labors bath,

balm of hurt minds.

Still it cried

Sleep no more

To all the house.

Macbeth hath murdered sleep

And therefore

Macbeth shall sleep no more.

 

How is it with me

When every noise appalls me?

What hands are here?

Ha, they pluck out mine eyes.

Will all great Neptune’s ocean

Wash this blood clean

From my hand?

No.

This my hand will rather

The multitudinous sea

Incarnadine,

Making the green one red.

 

 

We have scotch’d the snake,

Not killed it.

She’ll close and be herself,

Whilst our poor malice

Remains in danger of her former tooth.

But let the frame of things disjoint,

Both the worlds suffer,

Ere we will eat our meal in fear

And sleep in the affliction

Of these terrible dreams

That shake us nightly:

Better be with the dead.

Whom we, to gain our peace,

have sent to peace.

 

 

Be innocent of the knowledge,

Dearest chuck,

Till thou applaud the deed.

Come, sealing night,

Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;

And with thy bloody and invisible hand

Cancel and tear to pieces

That great bond which keeps me pale!

Light thickens,

And the crow makes wing

To the rooky wood.

Good things of day

Begin to droop and drowse

While night’s black agents

To their prey

Do rouse.

 

 

I have lived long enough.

My way of life

Is fallen into the sear,

The yellow leaf,

And that which should accompany old age,

As honor, love, obedience,

Troops of friends,

I must not look to have,

But, in their stead,

Curses not loud but deep.

Yet,

I’ll fight

Till from my bones

My flesh be hacked.

 

Canst thou not minister

To a mind diseased,

Pluck from the memory

A rooted sorrow,

Raze out the written troubles

Of the brain, and with some sweet oblivious antidote

Cleanse the stuffed bosom

Of that perilous stuff

Which weighs upon the heart?

 

She should have died hereafter;

There would have been a time for such a word.

Tomorrow,

And tomorrow

And tomorrow

Creeps in this petty pace

From day to day

To the last syllable

Of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays

Have lighted fools

The way to dusty death.

Out

Out

Brief candle.

Life’s but a walking shadow,

A poor player

That struts and frets

His hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more.

It is a tale told by an idiot,

Full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

 

 

 

 

Julius Caesar

 

Let me have men about me that are fat.

Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.

He thinks too much.

Such men are dangerous.

Would he were fatter.

But I fear him not.

Yet if my name were liable to fear

I do not know the man I should avoid

As soon as that spare Cassius.

He reads much.

He looks quite through the deeds of men.

He loves no play

As thou dost, Antony.

He hears no music.

Seldom he smiles,

And smiles in such a sort

As if he mocked himself,

And scorned his spirit

That could be moved to smile

At anything.

But I rather tell thee what is to be feared

Than what I fear;

For always I am Caesar.

Come on my right hand,

For this ear is deaf,

And tell me truly

What thou thinks of him.

 

Caesar shall forth.

The things that threatened me,

Ne’er looked but on my back.

When they shall see the face of Caesar,

They are vanished.

 

 

What can be avoided

Whose end is purposed

By the mighty gods?

Yet Caesar shall go forth.

These predictions

Are to the world in general

As to Caesar.

 

Cowards die many times

before their death.

The valiant never taste of death

But once.

Of all the wonders

That I have yet heard,

It seems to me most strange

That men should fear,

Seeing that death,

A necessary end,

Will come when it will come.

 

Caesar should be a beast

Without a heart

If he should stay at home today

For fear.

No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well

That Caesar is more dangerous

Than he.

We are lions littered in one day,

And I the elder.

Caesar shall go forth.

 

These couchings and these lowly courtesies

Might fire the blood of ordinary men.

But be not fond to think

That Caesar bears such rebel blood

That will be thawed from the true quality

With that which melteth fools;

I mean sweet words

And base spaniel-fawning.

I could be well moved

If I were as you.

But I am constant as the northern star

Of whose true-fixed

And resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament.

The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks.

They are all fire

And every one doth shine,

But there is one in all

Doth hold his place.

So in the world:

Tis furnished well with men,

And men are flesh and blood,

And apprehensive.

Yet in the number I do know but one

That unassailable holds on his rank,

Unshaked of motion,

And that I am he.

Let me a little show it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As You Like It

 

Jaques

 

 

 

 

The Tempest

 

Prospero

 

https://shamrockmcshane.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/losing-the-war-on-ignorance/

 

Wake up America! This is a must read book.

By Tess on August 6, 2015

Hall of Fools is a compelling read, and page turner, despite its 400 plus pages. The reader is taken behind the scenes of a typical (gee I hope not!) middle to upper class public middle-school in modern day America. If even 10% of this story is accurate on a national level, our country had better wake up and do something about public education. I believe this book is on the level of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” a genuine alert to the masses about a long on-going problem which is being ignored. This book is a gut wrenching story of deplorable teaching conditions, from incidents like fecal material dripping through damaged bathroom flooring, onto teachers in their lounge below eating their lunch to the constant level of violence and disrespect, both, towards teachers, and fellow students is mind boggling. When incidents like a punch to the face (facial bones broken) and heavy loaded backpacks intentionally dropped from upper levels on an unsuspecting student (resulting in a 3-week hospital stay for recipient) not only have no legal repercussion, but are the norm, it is easy to extrapolate and understand why our country is so violence orientated. It is a shocking must read for anyone and everyone. A lot of this book reminds me of the old movie, “To Sir, with Love” starring Sidney Poitier as well as other movies of that genre. The big difference is the school in this book is not an inner city, no funding school, but a middle to upper-class school district in a distinctive higher education University town, where not only do the all kids flunking at the lowest level get promoted anyway, but where the good students are the big losers in their education. I hope one of the major publishing companies out there picks up the rights to this book, it is an important work that needs to reach the masses. The author is well qualified to write on the topic, listing his 30-years as a middle school teacher.

http://www.amazon.com/Hall-Fools-Shamrock-McShane/dp/1511466553/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430838905&sr=8-2&keywords=hall+of+fools

 

 

 

Are We Equal to the Task?

All men are created equal.

What does that mean? What can that possibly mean? Why is it in the present tense? After all, we’re already here.

All men were created equal.

What do you need all for? Can’t you just say: Men are created equal?

All men. For emphasis.

Yes, but why be emphatic about it? Why emphasize it? Why not accept it as a matter of fact? That’s your problem; you’re obsessed with inequality. Why pronounce that all men are created equal unless some of them were heretofore viewed otherwise?

They were.

By whom? You see? Not only is the supposition in the present tense, as if we stand at the dawn of creation, but it’s in the passive voice. All men are created – by whom?

Presumably, God.

We presume God?

God presumes us.

We’re all in this together.

And of course when we say all men we mean all men and women.

Not children?

Children too. Children have equal rights under the law.

With each other. All children are created equal.

And all dogs? Are all dogs created equal?

Animal rights.

One dog is equal to another? Really?

All men are created equal.

From the moment of each individual’s creation?

Conception?

Protecting the Rights of the Unborn.

Or does the proposition really imply a starting point. All men are created equal, but after that they only get more and more unequal.

Everybody is given a fair chance – at the start.

Sure they are.

By God.

We’re all created equal.

What happens if you take God out of the equation? Stop using the evasive device of the passive voice, and, instead of saying All Men are created Equal, just say Men are Equal.

Or, Men and Women are Equal.

Or, Women and Men are Equal.

Or, People are Equal.

Like an equation.

Take creation out of it. Things aren’t created. Creation implies making something out of nothing, and short of a black hole, I don’t think that’s possible. Things aren’t created; they’re produced. You know what produces them? Causes. Everything is simultaneously a cause and an effect. That’s what makes people equal, not God, unless you want to call cause and effect God. If you grant that we are the ones producing each other, which is indisputable once you take the notion of God and creation out of it, then we must be able to recognize each other’s equality, our mutuality, our shared existence.

Even the unborn?

People are equal.

Equal to what?

Equal to each other.

Just like all coins are equal.

All coins are not equal.

All coins are equally coins.

The unborn are to be treated like children.

Very, very young children.

They can’t vote, they can’t drive, they can’t join the army.

They can’t breathe.

Legally they can.

We know that trick. You give people rights they’re in capable of exercising.

And then pretend you didn’t grant them those rights; God did.

It’s all God’s idea.

Life is a dream.

A nightmare.

Sometimes.

Donald Trump is  President.

All men are created equal, but after that all bets are off.

Which is to say?

Don’t bet on them ever being equal again.

What are the odds we’ll ever achieve equality?

Incalculable.

And yet we strive.

All men are created equal doesn’t mean we all get an equal share.

Capitalism is not about sharing.

Freedom is just another name for capitalism. Anything that is not capitalism cannot be free. There can be no freedom without capitalism. Capitalism has the market cornered on freedom.

Freedom and equality don’t mix.

Obamacare forced insurance companies to equip policies with coverages and protections the insurance companies could deem excessive and expensive, and so premiums went up drastically.

There’s bound to be a contradiction if you go looking for health care and the best that can be provided is insurance in case you need health care.

Insurance is the problem, not the solution.

Insurance is a symptom.

Let’s be clear, we’re not talking about health care; we’re talking about insurance.

Everyone needs health care.

Sooner or later,

And therein lies the catch. In the passage of time.

Pay me now or pay me later.

Obamacare, and Hillarycare and all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt’s plan, they were all based on the idea that most people already had insurance. By that, we mean like 80%. The other 20% included the unemployed – because you get insurance through your employer – and all the people who were denied coverage – because they were sick and needed health care now.

To keep arguing about health insurance instead of health care is not just ridiculous and absurd, it’s insidious.

We have the capacity to extend and enhance one another’s life span.

But are we equal to the task?

 

https://shamrockmcshane.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/losing-the-war-on-ignorance/

 

Wake up America! This is a must read book.

By Tess on August 6, 2015

Hall of Fools is a compelling read, and page turner, despite its 400 plus pages. The reader is taken behind the scenes of a typical (gee I hope not!) middle to upper class public middle-school in modern day America. If even 10% of this story is accurate on a national level, our country had better wake up and do something about public education. I believe this book is on the level of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” a genuine alert to the masses about a long on-going problem which is being ignored. This book is a gut wrenching story of deplorable teaching conditions, from incidents like fecal material dripping through damaged bathroom flooring, onto teachers in their lounge below eating their lunch to the constant level of violence and disrespect, both, towards teachers, and fellow students is mind boggling. When incidents like a punch to the face (facial bones broken) and heavy loaded backpacks intentionally dropped from upper levels on an unsuspecting student (resulting in a 3-week hospital stay for recipient) not only have no legal repercussion, but are the norm, it is easy to extrapolate and understand why our country is so violence orientated. It is a shocking must read for anyone and everyone. A lot of this book reminds me of the old movie, “To Sir, with Love” starring Sidney Poitier as well as other movies of that genre. The big difference is the school in this book is not an inner city, no funding school, but a middle to upper-class school district in a distinctive higher education University town, where not only do the all kids flunking at the lowest level get promoted anyway, but where the good students are the big losers in their education. I hope one of the major publishing companies out there picks up the rights to this book, it is an important work that needs to reach the masses. The author is well qualified to write on the topic, listing his 30-years as a middle school teacher.

http://www.amazon.com/Hall-Fools-Shamrock-McShane/dp/1511466553/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430838905&sr=8-2&keywords=hall+of+fools