Friday, April 25, 2008

But What Would a 444 Year Old Man Have Thought?

Last night I gave my presentation in class.
We each have to give a presentation - it's part of our grade - and essentially we teach the class for 30 minutes or so.
As the semester is winding down, I've had the chance to see my fellow students exercise their brilliance in their presentations and of course because my self-confidence is so sky high (not), I tried to think of what I could discuss without sounding like a complete idiot.
It wasn't until Monday morning that the Muse struck.
Okay, first let's talk about Titus Andronicus.
Very briefly so I don't bore all five of my readers. And you can read more about it at the link.
It is a bloody, gory story about a Roman general who comes back from the war only to have his entire family destroyed, his daughter raped and mutilated, his sons beheaded, he chops off his hand - and then he seeks revenge by feeding the sons of his captive Goth queen to her in a meat pie.
But you know, it grows on you, it really does.
A few weeks earlier DH and I had watched the film version of Titus starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange.
The film left me with wonderful (but violent) visuals and got me to thinking -- how could the general action of the play have changed if a single action had been changed in the storyline.
So then I got to thinking about the Choose Your Own Adventure books.
Not much time to write a book with alternate endings -- remember this is Monday and my presentation is on Thursday.
So I thought, why not create a board game.
And I did.
I called it "Who's the Villain?" and I had plenty of questions that (I hoped) would make the player consider how things would have turned out different.
Sample question -- "What would have happened if...Titus had taken the throne for himself?" or "What would have happened if...Titus had married Tamora himself?"
And some other cards thrown in - "Saturninus avenges his brother's death. Move back four spaces."
It was a very crude gameboard - I'll have to take a picture and put it on here -- I had to provide a disclaimer and tell people - this is why I'm not building bridges somewhere. An engineer I am not.
But, my professor looked at me and said, "These are some hard questions."
That made me feel pretty proud, because I wanted the questions to be difficult to make people think, but also to have some fun.
We ended up playing the game for 45 minutes - class ran until 9:15 and I think (I hope) everyone had a good time.
And I think it is apropos that we are studying Shakespeare during the week he would have turned 444.
I believe he was with us in spirit in that stuffy, basement classroom last night.
As my professor was leaving he said to me, "That was great!"


Purl said...

What a great idea!

Caroline said...

That does sound like a great idea. I know what you mean about some of those old gruesome stories growing on you. We had to read Njal's Saga in college. It was filled with beheadings, mutilations, etc., and I liked it so much I had to reread it a few years ago.