My Mandela Moment

A false memory is a psychological phenomenon where a person recalls something that did not happen or differently from the way it happened.

You ever have that thing where you have a very strong memory of something, and other people say, “Yeah, yeah, me too!”  Only it turns out that it never happened?  And your memory – even though other people claim to have the same memory – is entirely false? That’s called the Mandela Effect.

So I may have mentioned, my daughter is studying Taming of the Shrew. And last night she was working on an assignment where she was supposed to discuss how an all female or all male production might change the interpretation and performance. She was supposed to pick a scene and talk about different ways it could be interpreted in this context.

I said, “Well, let’s think about it. Kate puts on this nasty exterior, but maybe down inside, hidden from everybody, she *wants* to like one of these guys. She *wants* to get married. It’s supposed to be a good, happy thing.  So along comes this guy and she turns on the shrew and she gives him everything she’s got, and he stands toe to toe with her and takes it.  And maybe she comes away from that meeting thinking, interesting, maybe this guy’s different…”

Here I even dropped in that god awful “If you can’t handle me at my worst you don’t deserve me at my best” quote that floats around social media.  “But then she sees Petruchio talking about money with her father, and she’s dejected again, she realizes that they’re all the same, he’s just in it for the money.”

“Wait, that happens?” my daughter asks, grabbing her text.

No, it apparently doesn’t.  I checked the text and could not find the scene I’m talking about. I asked my resources and people confirm, no such scene.

So now I’m fascinated by where I got that idea.  It’s not like I’ve seen many versions of Shrew. I assumed it must be in the Taylor/Burton movie, because that’s the most well known and the most likely candidate, since I would have seen that one back in high school and formed such a memory. But again, it doesn’t seem to be in there.

It’s a scene easily inserted at the end of Act II, after they’ve met and before Petruchio goes off to arrange the wedding.  Doesn’t even need any words.  Just show Baptista’s people loading up Petruchio’s horse with a big bag of gold or something, and let Kate see it. But I can’t find video evidence of such a scene. (Kind of reminds me of all the kids who think that there’s a wedding scene in Romeo and Juliet. No, there’s not.  There’s a wedding scene in the Romeo+Juliet movie, though.)




[Admin] Is There A Travel Agent In The House?

So, the good news is that my upcoming trip to London / Stratford Upon Avon is starting to come together. The first thing I did was to book a nice AirBNB in SUA.  The plan is to arrive there on Monday, stay until Thursday, when we’ll head into London and spend about a week before returning to the US. I haven’t booked the flight yet but I’ve been assuming we’ll fly into Heathrow.

Here’s the catch. I knew that London and SUA were “about 2-3 hours apart”, which is the primary reason we’re splitting up the trip.  But now I’m hearing things like “switch trains 3 times” and “takes over 4 hours”, not to mention train tickets costing over $100 each.  I had not anticipated this little wrinkle.

The good folks on Twitter have been trying to help, offering all manner of suggestions “you could go here here and here, or you could go here, switch, then go here…” and honestly it’s all Greek to me.

What I’m hoping is that some of my readers are local and familiar with the area and the options and can say, for a family of five who’ll be traveling with luggage and just gotten off a red-eye flight from the US (figure arriving in London around 11 am, judging by the flight scheduled), what’s the best way to get to SUA?  Renting my own car is not an option, I’ve never been out of the US and won’t give myself a crash (ha!) course in driving on the other side of the road. But can we hire a car?  Is that something Uber (or equivalent) could handle?  Is there a bus? Where would I make reservations for these things?

Thanks for the help!  I’m putting faith in the universe that everything works out and we have the trip of a lifetime, but I’ve got to make sure that the details like this get worked out.  I can’t relax and plan the fun stuff until the necessary stuff is taken care of — get to country (flight), get to hotel 1 (SUA), get to hotel 2 (London), get home.


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Review : Pop-Up Shakespeare

A long, long time ago, when my kids were still in single digits, I had a pop-up book featuring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. I used to take it in to their classrooms as a prop.  I knew it had made an impact when a few months ago, my oldest daughter – who is now driving, and looking at colleges – came to me and said, “Do we still have that pop up book? I want to bring it in to class.”

So when I heard about Candlewick Press’ Pop-Up Shakespeare (by Jennie Maizels and the Reduced Shakespeare Company) I reached out to see if I could review it. They were happy to oblige!

I admit that it’s been a little while since I’ve purchased pop up books for my kids, but I have to say that this is one of the best I’ve seen. Let’s start with the amount of information provided. It covers everything (*). I learned things. We get some bio on Shakespeare himself, we get all the plays – including the questionable authorship plays – and we get the long poems.

Surely for a book with that much information it must be densely packed, right? Right. In a fascinating way. Much of the book is “lift the flap” style, and each spread is dominated by a huge, two-page pop up feature. But ready for the twist? The text is on both sides of the pop up, rotated accordingly. It’s hard to explain, but the best way is to think of this as a book to put down on the table and have the kids gather around from all angles and take turns reading what they see, because there’s stuff about Shakespeare just literally all over the place.

This would have been a great prop for me back in my volunteering days. If you’re still in that place, where you’ve got an audience that will enthusiastically gather around to start exploring things that pop up and looking for flaps to lift, I think this one is an excellent choice. I really do love that they covered everything everything. It would have been so easy to consider the audience for a book like this as not being old enough for Titus Andronicus or Timon of Athens, and spend all of its time on Midsummer or Romeo and Juliet. If you believe that you’re never too young to learn about the whole breadth of Shakespeare’s work, these authors are on your side.

(*) “The gift is small, the will is all: Alexander Aspinall.”  I may have heard that once upon a time? But it was definitely a surprise to see it referenced in this book. Gives you just a little idea of how much information is hiding under those flaps.

POP-UP SHAKESPEARE. Text copyright © 2017 by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Jennie Maizels. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.
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Weird Flexeth, But Ok (A Geeklet Story)

Cleopatra was definitely not baked into a pie.

Be me, on a typical school day, bustling around getting the kids breakfast as they get ready for school.  My middle announces, “Did I tell you my Shakespeare story?”

Everything stops, of course.  Well, more to the point everything I’m doing stops, while my wife kind of gives me the, “Seriously?” look since stuff’s still got to get done.

“Do tell,” I reply. “The very fact that you brought it up means this is going to be a blog post.”

“Ok,” she says, putting down her spoon. “Well, my friends and I the other day are talking, and somehow Shakespeare comes up, you know.”

“Sure, sure. I know the feeling.”

“And then my friend is all,” cue dripping fawning voice, “Oh, I *love* Shakespeare, I just *love* Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer’s Night’s Dream!” At this point she switches to brainy smirk, rolls up her sleeves, and begins.  “Well, I said to her, do you know Othello? Hmm?  How about Winter’s Tale? Or Titus Androkinus?”

My oldest and I exchange a glance and a laugh at that one.  Middle continues, “Have *you* ever read the one where the husband bakes his wife into a pie? Hmmm???”

“Wait, what?” I ask.

“That’s Cleopatra,” says my oldest.

“Wait, WHAT?”  I ask.

“Isn’t there one about Cleopatra and her husband?”

Antony and Cleopatra, yes?”

“Isn’t that the one she’s talking about?”


It’s funny how sometimes the facts get garbled.  I explain that Titus baked the sons of his enemy into a pie.  I still have no idea where they got baking his wife – nor the connection with Antony and Cleopatra.

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Wrong Play (But I Can Understand The Confusion)

Fun bit of Shakespeare Geekery on Reddit today when I spotted too late this “Tip of My Tongue” post:

In it there’s a specific scene in which all the characters repeat how they feel about each other a bunch of times with all of them stating how they feel affection for one of the people in the group who does not feel for them.

One of the characters may have an injured arm and I think one of them kept on ending the repeating cycle of lines with something like “and I for no man”

I think I remember one of the characters MIGHT have been a girl dressing up as a guy but I’m not completely sure

By the time I spotted this post somebody had replied, “Twelfth Night?” to which the original poster said, “Solved! That’s the one.”  He even shot down suggestions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing as not being the correct answer.

Astute geeks will no doubt see the problem. He is describing, to a T, that other cross-dressing romantic comedy, As You Like It.  Orlando has entered with a broken arm, Rosalind is dressed as a boy, everybody declares their love for the wrong person, and Rosalind is the one who keeps “ending the repeating cycle of lines” with, “and I for no woman”:

It is to be all made of sighs and tears;
And so am I for Phebe.

And I for Ganymede.

And I for Rosalind.

And I for no woman.

It is to be all made of faith and service;
And so am I for Phebe.

And I for Ganymede.

And I for Rosalind.

And I for no woman.

It’s getting so you can’t tell one girl dressed as boy comedy from the next! 🙂


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