Wednesday, June 26, 2013

our lady joan

In a few short weeks I will be setting off for the magical land of Europe! I've gone every summer for the past seven years; I take UVU students there and we see plays and eat pasties. We stay a month. We also go to Paris and Edinburgh. I love doing it. Inevitably, people ignore my posts on facebook and won't look at my pictures, and I totally get that. I sometimes feel that way about other peoples' vacations. I hate having my nose rubbed into pictures of the Bahamas, and I don't want to do that to anybody else, although I inevitably do. Some people will kindly send me passive aggressive notes and emails saying "that must be nice. What does your wife get to do while you're gone?" You know - those kinds of comments. So full of love and understanding! For the record: yes, it's fun. Yes, it's also work. Yes, my wife gets to come over if she wants to (this year she's coming to Scotland) no, my children don't (super poor state school) and yes, I get paid to do it.

Every year there seems to be an emerging theme to the trip. This year it appears to be: (wait for it)


We will be seeing Shakespeare's Henry VI pt. 1 at the Globe Theatre, which features a character called Joan La Pucelle. In this play she's kind of a big whore and a liar, but she's still Joan of Arc. At the end of the play, right before they are about to burn her at the stake, she claims that God will punish the English for killing a virgin. But then nobody cares and they decide to burn her anyway, so next
she claims that she's pregnant. What a riddle!

While we're in France we will probably visit the Place de Pyramides, since the fanciest McDonald's in Paris is really close by, and no trip to Paris is complete without a trip to McDonald's! And I'm not kidding!! AND I WON'T APOLOGIZE!!! Anyway, here is a beautiful statue of Jeanne D'Arc in the middle of the Place de Pyramides:
Finally, while we're in Edinburgh my students will be performing Melissa Leilani Larson's play, Martyrs' Crossing, which is all about Joan of Arc and her guardian angels. Joan comes off much better in this play than she does in Shakespeare's play. She doesn't fake pregnancy or make dirty jokes or act like a crafty trollop. She's noble and good and she dies beautifully and tragically. Just as it should be.

So that's my summer: Joan of Arc! Joan of Arc! Joan of Arc! I'm trying to think of some other tie-ins I could do with my students so they really understand this warrior-maid. Maybe:

1. Milk a cow, and then see a vision (The vision would be me in a tree with a couple of flashlights)
2. Sword fight! I'm already planning to bring a few swords in  my carry-on bag.
3. Burn someone at the stake - but safely! It would be a real stake and real fire, but the person wouldn't be tied up (or just loosely tied) and then we pull them out before it gets too hot.
These are just some ideas I had.

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