Jolly Old England

Thursday, September 29, 2005

"The History Boys"

Today we went to the National Theater to see a performance entitled, "The History Boys". Apparently the IFSA guy that scheduled it didn't know what it was about, so it was a funny and ironic coincidence that it was about a group of boys in school that passed their A levels and were trying to get into Oxford/Cambridge.

It was a comedy. I won't elaborate on the plot, as that would take a long time to type, but here are a few highlights:

(paraphrased, but pretty close) "Some people get the idea that you have to love God because God loves you. [something about people not loving God] God is a giant case of unrequited love." I found that pretty funny.

There was an insightful comment about all literature being "consolation". One of the other characters disagreed and said what about literature that expresses "joy". The response was that the work is written after the "joy" is gone, so it is in fact still consolation for the joy which has ended. Granted, I don't think that's exactly true, but it makes you think a little bit.

There was a scene where this teacher was teaching French (so I missed most of the meaning of it until intermission when someone explained it to me). The students were acting out a scene (in French) and one guy removed his "trousers" (pants) just as the headmaster walked into the room to introduce the new teacher. The headmaster was obviously confused, but the teacher made him ask what was going on in French. It was pretty funny.

During scene changes, they projected black and white video footage (of the actors in the play) that was made to look grainy. It continued the action a bit or helped set up for the next scene. I found that to be interesting.

A major plot theme was this new teacher trying to teach the students to use anything they knew to connect subjects in their essays. He also urged them to avoid writing the dull, boring, *expected* response (where by "expected", I mean the response that everybody writes and everybody expects).

Overall, I enjoyed it.


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