A selection of links, heavy on musicals and movies, in honor of the Awkward Blogger, who is recovering from major surgery. When you get a chance to get online again, here are some things to distract you:
The Adama Glare (also known as the Glare of Death) is a
formidable psychological weapon in the arsenal of William Adama. It is an alternative to Bill Adama's other
main weapon, the Shield of Disapproval, activated by sudden
eye-aversion. It is used to instill loyalty and to punish disloyalty...
It's Raining Men is one of my favorite aerobic songs. It's fun and high energy. I knew the song long before I had a chance to see the music video - which I found disappointing. I would love to see some good dancing along with this song, but the original video, as fantastic as the singing is, just has skimpily clad guys strutting around. Boring.
The Martha Wash/RuPaul version has (very) little bits of good dancing in the background. Geri Halliwell's version starts with a takeoff on the final dance scene from Flashdance before mixing in takeoffs on Fame - without the raw energy and edginess of either movie. Still, I'll give it an A for effort, and it does have lots more dance. Still, I hadn't found a video version that I wanted to post. Maybe I should just post a LaLa link.
Daughter was in a teen production of Hamlet a few months ago. The whole thing is run by teens - the board of directors, the production director, the casting, everything. The group isn't affiliated with any high school.
Hamlet has mostly male characters, and, this winter, this group didn't have enough guys for this production (and also wanted more opportunities for girls). Daughter played six different male parts. Many other parts, including Horatio, the gravediggers, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, were also played by young women.
The first thing that daughter was told was "to learn how to walk like you have balls."* This was as straightforward a production of Hamlet as they could do, given their cast.
Another local group, also run by teens, is** Athena's Train. They put on one Shakespearean play every summer, and the group is for girls under 18. They also do the plays in a fairly straightforward manner - the girls playing men have their hair up and are wearing relatively masculine clothes.
I've seen plenty of Shakespeare performed by young women so I'm actually fairly used to it. However, I was wondering today what would be changed if Hamlet were really Hamletta?
If you really did switch the genders in Hamlet, what would you have? Hamletta, wants to revenge the death of her mother, the queen, at the hands of her evil aunt, Claudia. Of course, you would keep the characters as intense as in the original. Think of Hamletta's mother maybe as a Queen Elizabeth-type character. I picture Claudia played by Sian Phillips (the capable, and quite deadly, Livia in I Claudius, pictured right).
Even if the characters are just as intense, good, evil, pompous - whatever their characteristics, the play would have a different feel when switching genders. The friendship between Hamletta and Horatia would be different than that of Hamlet and Horatio. The love between Hamletta and Oaf, who eventually drowns himself, would have a different character than the original.
This is not to say that there aren't women who can be more "masculine" than men, and I'm sure there are men who can be more feminine than I am. However, even though we've made great strides towards equality, overall, there's still a different quality to what men and women do.
The new play, Hamletta would not only be about the story of the princess, it would also be about the switching of the genders. That would become a major element and theme of the play itself. If Hamlet had originally been written as Hamletta, that would be another matter. It would have always had that quality or feeling. However, changing genders, after the story is so well known, brings the gender changing to the foreground.
This brings me to the priesthood. I'm speaking only of the priesthood in Catholic or Episcopalian terms since the method and meaning of leading a congregation varies from denomination to denomination.
The rationale behind the all-male Catholic priesthood, and behind Episcopalians/Anglicans who don't agree with a female priesthood, reflects some of the same elements as the gender changing in Hamletta. One of the biggest arguments for an all-male priesthood is that the priest symbolically stands for Christ. Since Jesus is a Man, then the priest must be a man.
[You know, you could probably write a blog post about the meaning of the capitalization and non-capitalization of "man" in that last sentence.]
Based on Hamlet/Hamletta, I could see that Man/man match - only if that really encompassed all of what being a priest means. If the only function of a priest was to symbolize Jesus, then a female priest would imply a woman being scourged and crucified at the hands of the Romans. It would give all the Biblical stories, at the very least, a subtle difference. What would be different about, for example, a woman at a well asking for water and discussing a (woman's? man's?) five spouses. Would the disciples have been men or women? Piera thrice denying a woman is different than Peter denying Jesus because relationships between women, in general, work differently than relationships between men.
A woman doing any of these things would have a vastly different quality than a Man doing them.
However, the symbolic nature of a priest, even in the most conservative Catholic or Episcopalian church, is only a very small part of being a priest. When you're at a service or a Mass, are you really thinking of the symbolic nature of the priest - even when they're reciting the Eucharistic prayer? Maybe you are, but I'm certainly not. I'm usually trying to focus on the prayer, and, if I'm focusing on the priest at all, I'm focusing on how the priest reads the words, or, in a more formal Mass/service, how they're singing the words.
I started there because I would think that the Eucharistic prayer would be the center of the priest's symbolic role. In the rest of the Mass or service the priest is preaching, leading worship, discussing the important parts of the bulletin, stressing out about whether things are going right, etc. Beyond that, the priest is an administrator, counselor, and leader. While some people may be more comfortable with men in all of these non-symbolic roles, women can do them just as well. It all depends on the gifts of the individual priest.
While I can, in a limited sense, understand the opposition to a female priesthood in the light of Hamletta, the reality is that a priest's symbolic function is only a small part of their role so I can't agree with that opposition. I'm glad the Episcopalian Church has women as priests.
[Bringing this back to the teen production of Hamlet - one of the male roles that daughter played was the priest.]
* Of course, we had lots of fun discussing this!
** Or maybe it's "was." I haven't been able to find out anything about them past about 2008.