Archives For Corn Exchange

Nutmeg and Spice

October 4, 2013 — 2 Comments

I decided to stay home today, to get some rest and try and get over this thing. Chest was pretty congested when I woke up, and I thought about going to the doctor, but so far I haven’t made it past my reading chair.

Of course I have a reading chair. Which is different than the one where I watch films and the televised programs of broadcast and cable. It’s one of thoseĀ POƄNGĀ chairs from IKEA. Cheap, but comfortable, and perfect for reading books. A chair that almost helps you not nod off to sleep.

Since I’ve been ill so much of the past two months, I’ve spent a lot of time in that chair working through a stack of books I’ve been meaning to read. So much of the past year was spent reading plays and theatre theory and the stack of “other” books to read has gotten rather high. So this is what I’ve been reading lately:

I started James Joyce’s Dubliners unofficially as part of my theatre reading last fall. The Corn Exchange in Dublin was premiering a new production based on the famed short stories and it was a highlight of the 2012 Dublin theatre fest. I never found the time to get them read, unfortunately, and I wish I had, as it would have deepened my appreciation for the Corn Exchange’s play. Anyway, I finished them a couple of weeks ago, and enjoyed them quite a bit. I don’t think I’m quite ready to tackle Ulysses, though. Someday.

Another volume I’ve been slowly working through is a collection of Tolkien’s short stories, mostly centered around the theme of wandering into the realm of Faerie. Tales from the Perilous Realm includes all those stories with lovely titles I never got around to reading when I first fell in love with his works: Smith of Wooton Major, Farmer Giles of Ham, and Leaf by Niggle.Ā There’s also the haunting poem “The Sea-Bell”, and his essay “On Fairy Stories”, which I’m about halfway through. Once I complete this book, there won’t be much left of him for me to read.


2013-10-04 13.24.33

After meeting Bill Kelso I read his book on the Jamestown archeological dig, and I wish I could do more with it in class, but 4th grade handles early American history now. I tried dipping into it
in class, but no one was biting.

I’ve tried to work through Ken Robinson’s The Element, thinking that it might have something interesting to say about education and the arts, but it’s mostly self-help nonsense. Best to stick to his TED talks I guess.

A bit of comfort reading has been necessary as well (if Tolkien doesn’t already count), and so I picked up some X-Men comics for old times’ sake. It’s one of those multi-issue crossover things that I usually don’t care for, but so far this one has been decent.

Books that stare out at me waiting to be read include Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes, and Savage Continent, a new book about the aftermath of World War II in Europe. Not really anything that relates to fifth grade, but I haven’t had much interest in reading kid lit these days. I think about all the books and stories I haven’t read, and wonder how I’ll ever find the time to fit them all in, so my reading time has been devoted to books just for me. I can’t keep up with the latest “hot” books for elementary students, nor have I much interest in books on whatever trendy educational models people are reading. No Daily Five for me. Though, Summerhill School, by A.S. Neill recently wound up in my Amazon cart. Certainly not a trendy or recent book, but one that keeps niggling away at the corners of my brain.

Saturday

September 30, 2012 — Leave a comment

A bus.

Let’s head into town today, yeah? We’ve spent the last two days cooped up in the apartment and we need to get some air and be amongst people.

I live inside that.

I live about five miles out of Dublin city centre, and if I want to get anywhere, I usually take the bus. Luckily I live near a major highway, so buses run about every ten minutes and I can get into town within a half hour.

Typical suburban street.

When the weather’s nice the walk can be quite pleasant. I live in a fairly “posh” suburb, from what they tell me, so it’s safe and tree-lined and quiet.

If I want to take a shortcut to the bus stop I DO have to walk through this, though:

Creepy viaduct.

It’s not as bad as it looks. You’re through it in like, ten seconds.

Anyway, on Saturday I went into town to see another play (surprise!) There is a famous Dublin writer named James Joyce*, and recently his novels came out of copyright, so that means anyone can adapt them for plays or films and no one has to pay any royalties. Dublin is about to be hit by a huge wave of Joyce-based works, and the Corn Exchange’s adaptation of Dubliners is one of the first.

I met up with some friends at the Gaity Theatre, but I had to sit by myself because we had all bought our tickets separately. I was up “in the Gods”, as they say, which is a nice way of saying I was up in the cheap seats. (I’m going to a LOT of shows and have to budget accordingly.)

Top of the Gaity, Ma!

The show was very good, although being so far up meant that I wasn’t as engaged with the stories as I would have liked. (Dubliners is a series of short stories.) It didn’t help that I hadn’t read the book beforehand; I bought a copy last month, but I just couldn’t find the time to get to it, what with all the homework and all. So instead I tried to focus on the staging, the technical side of things, and Corn Exchange’s use of Commedia dell’Arte.

Afterwards we all gathered in Neary’s to dissect the show and have a bit of fun. (Oh, and we also saw this guy outside the theatre. McNulty!) After a few rounds we grabbed some pizza to fill our very-empty bellies. The rest of the party said their good-nights, but my friend Donal and I stayed out for more discussion and general catching-up. Donal and his wife are new parents, and so a night out for some fun is a rare occurrence in their lives. I, of course, was happy to stay out as long as possible, although I did go past the pumpkin hour.

What’s that, you ask? Well, those buses that get me here and there stop running around 11:00 or so, and you’re stuck with taxis after that. (There is some sort of Night Bus that runs, but I don’t know the routes or where to pick it up. And it’s not as cool as this, anyways.) By the time Donal and I wrapped up our night, the streets were filled with them; apparently there is a glut of taxis in Dublin at the moment.

A taxi home costs around 20 Euro, but since I’m spending so little money on transportation, the occasional cab isn’t going to kill me. (Except when I consider that I can buy a train ticket to the other side of Ireland for the same price. Student rates rule!)

And that was Saturday. A great day overall, and one of those I’m Really Loving Living Here kind of days. Gotta enjoy those while they last…

 

*I thought I should remind my readers that I’m writing this primarily for my students to read, lest people think I’m talking down to my audience. Most fifth graders haven’t heard of James Joyce, but if they watched closely during Hugo, they would have spotted him hanging around the train station.