Saturday, May 3, 2014

Look, Look Well, O Wolves! Akela and the Free People

 “The Song of Mowgli... I, Mowgli, am singing. Let the jungle listen to the things I have done.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

Thank you for asking about the student paintings.  They are amazing, huh?  I find myself looking more and more at them as weeks pass.
 “Shere Khan said he would kill--would kill! At the gates in the twilight he would kill Mowgli, the Frog!”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

Still dreaming of windmills...too!
 “With the knife, with the knife that men use, with the knife of the  hunter, I will stoop down for my gift.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

Flying train through the past... just walking the galleries of the university here feels like I've found a teaching home.
 “Shere Khan gives me his coat for the love that he bears me. Heavy is the hide of Shere Khan.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

That said... Asia will always be a place where bad ideas and western mistakes live on forever... (It's not too bad....  The above picture is of Jake who I made Puck in Midsummer).
 “The Man Pack are angry. They throw stones and talk child's talk.   My mouth is bleeding. Let me run away.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

But truly, taking a bunch of kids that have never been on stage before, never acted or read a book before, kids that act like animals... that hit and scratch each other, that cut themselves in class, that grope and molest and often still have food on their face hours after lunch...to try to mold these students into Shakespeare actors... it's such a challenge.
 “Through the hot night, run swiftly with me, my brothers. We will leave the lights of the village and go to the low moon.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

Most of the time these challenges make me laugh... like  J-Swizz...who used to eat Cheetos out of the dirt during soccer games I coached.  A year later he's still wearing five shirts in 90 degree heat.
 “The Man-Pack have cast me out. I did  them no harm, but they were afraid of me.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

But everyone faces adversity.  Everyone has a rough week here or there, and this job means getting your teeth kicked in on a daily basis.
 “Wolf Pack, ye have cast me out too. The jungle is shut to me and the village gates are shut.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

But we do it for love.  Always for love.
 “As Man flies between the beasts and birds, so fly I between the village and the jungle.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

So getting revved up in class and spending all my lunch periods on play rehearsal and staying up late at night writing curriculum and out-maneuvering manipulative co-workers ... has me thinking a great deal about adversity lately.  You know, in Midsummer Night, there's not a whole lot of difficulty to overcome.  I mean, a silly love triangle here and there sprinkled with fairy dust... does not a ripe conflict make.
 “I dance on the hide of Shere Khan, but my heart is very heavy.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

Which is funny because I have also been reading Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book to my daughters...and in the book, Mowgli the frog is not a puny man-cub in a loin cloth... he's a wolf-pack raised, tiger killing bad ass.
 “My mouth is cut and wounded with the stones from the village, but my heart is very light, because I have come back to the jungle.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

Mowgli standing on the Great Rock beside wise Akela, the old pack leader of the Free People, dancing on the hide of Shere Khan, rejected by the village... surrounded by wolves... is a much better fit.
 “These two things fight together in me as the snakes fight in the spring. The water comes out of my eyes; yet I laugh while it falls.”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

In all the weirdness around us... all these little dogs yipping and snapping at my toes...
“I am two Mowglis, but the hide of Shere Khan is under my feet.  All the jungle knows that I have killed Shere Khan. Look--look well, O Wolves!”  -Kipling, The Jungle Book

There's a profound sense of accomplishment, and so much work yet to be done.

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