Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Break and Teaching Updates and a Meditation on the Evolution of Romantic Love

Hello, friends! Have you noticed I haven't blogged in weeks? Yeah, I'm sorry about that. Last week was Spring Break, and I was too busy a) helping my kids have an active social life and b) cleaning my house (which was FILTHY, let me tell you) to do any blogging. Oh yeah, I went to the dentist, too. I live an exciting life, for sure.

The week before that, I was in the middle of teaching, including grading eleventy million quizzes and entering them into the gradebook so the 3-week progress reports would accurately reflect the students' current progress. (Or, um, the lack thereof. One of my students currently has an average of 13. Thir-TEEN. It is not actually easy to have an average that low. It takes superior ignoring-the-teacher-and-wasting-time-in-class skills to get that grade.)

And THIS week has also been busy, but good. I made the decision (very wise, in retrospect) to start the week after Spring Break watching the first half of the movie(s) of Romeo and Juliet. The students were happy because A MOVIE! That we can watch instead of all this hard READING and WRITING and THINKING! And I was happy because they were mostly quiet and I got more grading done. Plus, it was an easy way to remind them of the plot since they had gone a week, I'm sure, without using the academic part of their brains at all.

We watched Acts I and II of the 1968 Franco Zefferelli version. You may be familiar with it. This is what the actors who play the young lovers looked like.

It  was interesting to see how my 15-year-old students responded to a movie made 42 years ago of a 400-year-old play. I thought they wouldn't like the historical setting and costumes, but they mostly took it in stride. Also, they liked the lead characters. I have this theory that movies set in a particular period still bear traces of the decade in which the movie is made, and this one was no exception. Romeo has full-on Beatles bangs, and Juliet wears hers long and parted down the middle like a flower child. Interestingly, the actor who played Romeo looked a LOT like Zac Efron, especially with the hair. This, as you can imagine, caused some sighs and giggles among the girls in my classes. I realized that the actor, Leonard Whiting, is about my dad's age--60. These girls were oohing and aahing over a man old enough to be their grandfather. Ha!

We also watched the Capulet's party and the balcony scene in the 1996 version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. I was surprised that so many of the kids didn't like it. They thought the modern setting was jarring combined with the Shakespearean language. "Mrs. Andrews, the old version is so much better!" many said. I have always liked the newer one, myself--I think it's a clever update and Leo was dreamy. (He's MY age, so at least I'm in the same ballpark as my eye candy!) I'm not allowed to show the whole movie, since it contains scenes with violence (in Shakespeare! Whodathunkit!) and drug use (not in the original text, but goes a long way toward explaining Mercutio's Queen Mab speech). I realized while we were watching the balcony scene--actually the swimming pool scene--that I first watched the movie at my bachelorette party. Almost thirteen years ago. And I felt old. Especially because my husband and I used to be like R & J in one way--our families weren't at war with each other or anything, but we could hardly bear to leave each other after a date. We'd say goodbye, kiss, and be unable to stop kissing for a while, stop and say we really should go our separate ways, think of something else to talk about, decide to really leave this time, kiss again...and repeat for a couple of hours.

Now? We watch TV until we're ready to crash, talk for a while in bed, give each other a quick kiss, and zonk out. Not exactly the stuff of deathless romance, but I'm willing to bet that if Romeo and Juliet had lived and had a couple of kids, they would be the exact same way.

However, I did go home and lay some smooches on my honey, for old times' sake. Even if he looks nothing like Leonardo DiCaprio or Zac Efron, he's still the only guy for me.



  1. Aw. Romance!
    I got 13% in a class once, a university logic class that I signed up for BY ACCIDENT.

  2. Ah yes, but your man has Smiling Eyes, which counts for at least 70% of total handsomeness.

    This was an interesting post!

  3. I like the newer version too.Youwould be Arianna's favorite teacher!d

  4. I like the newer version, but that was the time we knew. Kids don't see that time now, it is different for them. I am sure they would like a newer version set for now.