Tag Archives: drama/theater

Oscar Wilde on Journalism

“There is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”

Oscar Wilde

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Peter Ustinov on Experts

“If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.”

Peter Ustinov

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007

Book of Answers: Arsenic and Old Lace

“Who wrote Arsenic and Old Lace? The 1941 play was written by Joseph Kesselring. The 1946 movie adaptation was directed by Frank Capra.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Cultural Literacy: Juan Peron

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Juan Peron. And yes, it does mention Eva (“Evita”) Peron, the Argentine dictator’s wife, subject of the West End musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim RIce. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of three sentences and three comprehension questions.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

James Dean

Here is a reading on James Dean along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Does James Dean register with young people anymore? To my mind, Rebel Without a Cause is one of the great movies on adolescent angst. To my surprise, I learned while researching the fundamentals of this post that Rebel Without a Cause was actually released about a month after James Dean’s death on 30 September 1955.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Clive James on Bertolt Brecht

“I have nothing against Brecht in his place, which is East Germany.”

Clive James

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

The Algonquin Wits: Dorothy Parker, Famously, on Katherine Hepburn

Mrs. Parker once said of a Katherine Hepburn performance: ‘She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Antonin Artaud with a Grim Assessment of Writing and Writers

“All writing is garbage. People who come out of nowhere to try to put into words any part of what goes on in their minds are pigs.”

Antonin Artaud

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Octave Mirbeau on What Sounds Like a Day at Work

“You’re obliged to pretend respect for people and institutions you think absurd. You live attached in a cowardly fashion to moral and social conventions you despise, condemn, and know lack all foundation. It is that permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and vain pretenses of your civilization which makes you sad, troubled, and unbalanced. In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality, because at every moment they suppress and restrain and check the free play of your powers. That’s the poisoned and mortal wound of the civilized world.

Octave Mirbeau

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Postmodernism

They’re very likely something nobody at the elementary or secondary level needs, but here nonetheless are a reading on postmodernism and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. The one-page reading does a nice job of explaining what, for me, has always been a slippery concept. So if you’re teaching some or any of the authors discussed in this reading–among others you’ll find Thomas Pynchon, Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, and Jean Rhys mentioned here–these documents probably aren’t of, uh, surpassing use to you.

On the other hand, as the reading points out, postmodernism is “notoriously difficult to define, whether in reference to literature, art, or anything else….” So there is the question of semantics to entertain here; a point of debate might be “Is there a stable definition of ‘postmodernism’ with concrete applied examples of the word?” Another might be an assertion in the reading, mostly accurate in my understanding of postmodernism, that the doctrine (such as it is) prescribes a view of the world that that “secure truths [do] not exist and that the world was therefore hopelessly fragmented.” That’s a grim assessment in many respects; but how, if at all, has it lent credibility to and generally abetted tyrants around the globe who began almost immediately, after a former president of the United States began flogging the term, began proclaiming most journalism (or journalism that doesn’t flatter the supreme leader) “fake news”? There, I think, is another point for debate.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.