Archive for June, 2009

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

I go well with your coffee – just order it light;
I’m a late-60’s rock band; a shade of off-white;
I am used before shaving; to beat in a fight;
And a filling in chocolates found after you bite.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher. See comments for answer.

Othello Prank’d

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

The 8th grade class I’ve been working with on Othello has finished their video project, and it is now available for public viewing. Enjoy!

The students watched last year’s Cymbeline video before we began the project, so they could think about what they’d like to do as they read Othello. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. Feel free to share this video with anyone you think would be interested.

Theatre: Twelfth Night in the Park

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Last week, I saw the Public Theatre Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night. It was, in more sense than one, Shakespeare the way it was meant to be performed. For in addition to the clichéd compliment, the production took very few liberties with the play and instead chose to communicate Twelfth Night to us as written. It was one of the best productions I have ever seen.

I almost didn’t get the chance. Rain drizzled throughout the early scenes. The rolling green hills of the set looked like they might get muddy under such circumstances, but theatrical illusion being what it is, they were in no real danger. The roving band members, on stage for most of the performance, were tucked under umbrella-covered seats. In the middle of the third scene, the rain became too much and a voice over the loud speaker announced a “Pause for precipitation.” Julie White (Maria) looked visibly frustrated which elicited a laugh from the audience. We sat in the rain another fifteen minutes before it let up, not to return for the rest of the performance. The actors started over at the beginning of the scene, and we looked on with a renewed appreciation for the opportunity.

The cast was lead by Anne Hathaway, who gave a masterful performance as Viola, the keystone of the ensemble. But what struck me the most was how consistently good each member of the cast was in playing his or her role, together bringing forth the vibrant panoply of memorable characters that makes this play so much fun. For me, the standouts (in addition to Hathaway herself) were Hamish Linklater as Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Michael Cumpsty as Malvolio. But really, there wasn’t a weak performance in the pack, and I hesitate even to name those two at the expense of the rest.

The real star of this production, however, was the music. Along with As You Like It, this is one of Shakespeare’s most musical plays. Music is introduced as a vital theme in the very first line: “If music be the food of love, play on.” Scene after scene, music has the power to disturb, provoke, and inspire the passions of the characters. In this production, music is absolutely the driving force, with David Pittu (Feste) brilliantly leading a troupe of musicians around the stage, taking over every scene they’re in. Viola doesn’t sing in the original text, but perhaps director Daniel Sullivan didn’t want Hathaway’s beautiful soprano voice to go to waste, because she is given a song in her first scene as Cesario. (The song, I believe, is borrowed from Measure for Measure.) And, on the night I saw it, when Feste ended the play with “The rain, it raineth every day,” the audience laughed again in a shared joke with the company.

The show will run through July 12. If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend you do so. This is one hell of a good time in the theatre.

Shakespeare Anagram: The Taming of the Shrew

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

From The Taming of the Shrew:

Where’s the cook? is supper ready, the house trimmed, rushes strewed, cobwebs swept; the serving-men in their new fustian, their white stockings, and every officer his wedding-garment on? Be the jacks fair within, the jills fair without, the carpets laid, and every thing in order?

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

The wry new Jib-Jab video sketch, featuring President Obama, is rife with insightful humor. We elected this shrewder president on his refreshing superhero identity charge. Now, his nerves of steel must contend with many divergent dire tasks.

Watch it here. Pirates! Ka-chow!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

I’m a cab with a meter to take you around;
I’m a sitcom where Marilu Henner was found;
When an airplane is moving but still on the ground;
Or a partner for dancers at ten cents per round.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Little Fish. See comments for answer.

Thursday Morning Riddle(s)

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I’m feeling indecisive and meter-challenged this morning, so here are three versions of this morning’s riddle. Enjoy!

I’m a gathering social, cocktail or costume;
I’m a group of politicos in the back room;
I’m a person in contracts, so not to presume;
And a member of weddings, with bride and her groom.

I’m a gathering social, with Chex Mix and booze;
I am voters who share their political views;
I’m a person in contracts, so not to confuse;
And a member of weddings, with dresses and shoes.

I’m a gathering social, with Chex Mix and punch;
When selecting a candidate, share the same hunch;
I’m a person in contracts, but sometimes a bunch;
And a member of weddings, rehearsal through brunch.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Asher Susswein. See comments for answer.

Conundrum: Pic Tac Toe in 3D, Part V

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Has it really been almost a year since we’ve had a 3D Pic Tac Toe?

In a normal “Pic Tac Toe” puzzle, there are nine pictures in a 3×3 grid, like Tic-Tac-Toe. In each of the three rows, three columns, and two diagonals, there is a common theme that unites the three pictures. The challenge is to find the eight themes.

In this “Pic Tac Toe” puzzle, however, there are twenty-seven pictures in a 3x3x3 grid, like a Rubik’s Cube. In each of the nine rows, nine columns, nine pillars, eighteen lateral diagonals, and four cross-cube diagonals, there is a common theme that unites the three pictures. The challenge is to find the forty-nine themes.

Imagine stacking the three levels below on top of one another. For reference, and notation guidelines, check out my last 3D Pic Tac Toe, including the comments. The rules here are identical to that puzzle.

You can click on each image to see a larger version:

Top Level – Level A

Middle Level – Level B

Bottom Level – Level C

Please post whatever you come up with in the comments section.


UPDATE: Correct themes provided by Neel Mehta (37), ArtVark (4), and Billie (8). Alternate themes suggested by Billie (2), Neel Mehta (3), and Annalisa (1). See comments for all answers.

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

I’m a game where you hope your oppenent swerves now;
I am often afraid when my friends can’t see how;
A domestic farm fowl that’s companion to Cow;
And a meat-lover’s staple, just ask General Tsao.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Annalisa. See comments for answer.