Friday, March 13, 2015

T'was Brillig and the Slithy Dr. Heyman Did Gyre and Gimble at SDSU

Evidently, that the spirit of Lewis Carroll did not want to leave the SDSU campus after Dr. Heyman’s lecture on Wednesday. And why would he when there was still Alice-themed fun to be had for the rest of the week?

The first of which is the tale of how Cristina and I, intrigued by Dr. Heyman’s lecture, professor-napped him for a few hours on Thursday to discuss in more detail his interest and scholarship on nonsense.

We were curious about the history of nonsense and its origins as a written technique in literature. According to Dr. Heyman, nonsense literature—meaning literature that is purposefully ambiguous in order to create an analytical thinking process in the reader—dates back to the medieval era! It is not, in fact, literature that makes no sense. Nonsense makes a lot of sense! Got it? Good. =)

As Dr. Heyman pointed out in his lecture last Wednesday, nonsense thrives for its ability to mean so many things. Not only does it open up the mind to process different meanings, but it also creates discussion with its diverse interpretations.

But if you don’t feel like reading medieval literature to get a dose of nonsense, and for some curious reason you don’t want to read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, you can read some of Edward Lear’s limericks, whose “nonsense's irrationalityis the result of a painstaking, rational process”:

There was an old Derry down Derry,
Who loved to see little folks merry;
So he made them a book, and with laughter they shook
At the fun of that Derry down Derry.

For more modern examples of nonsense, one only needs to refer to The Beatles!

Aside from these wonderful examples, Dr. Heyman also gave us some tips on how to write nonsense literature.  We proudly present, our own nonsense poems:

Cristina’s limerick:
Hap Hazard is a playful mate
He’ll lock your hands upon the grate
In order to inspire
A person’s inner fire
The playful spirit’s always great.

My limerick:
There once was a little, black bat
Who loved to make things splat
Don’t wanna be entombed?
Then avoid being doomed
Like poor Rudy the rat.

Our limerick together:
Lucy Goosey was a big fatty
Never going to the gym, keeping it natty
Then one day on her donkey she did pass
John, who became distracted by her ass
And got a concussion that was phatty.

OK, so we’re not nonsense experts… or poets! But we tried.

After we thoroughly interrogated Dr. Heyman, we graciously let him return to his visit and rest before taking part in the discussion circle for ALICE: Curiouser and Curiouser!, where he was further questioned on the subject of nonsense. (It’s a good thing he seems to really enjoy talking about it!)

The discussion circle, which took place in the Experimental Theater at SDSU on Friday, March 6th, featured Dr. Michael Heyman, Dr. Joseph Thomas, Dr. Margaret Larlham, and Dr. Shelley Orr, with the humble inclusion of Cristina and myself.

Dr. Larlham and Dr. Orr discussed their adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and how they did their best to stick close to the spirit of Carroll’s original text.

We had the pleasure of seeing ALICE on its opening night, and we thoroughly enjoyed that they had made the caterpillar dress like John Lennon and sing "Imagine" (refer back to the above section regarding The Beatles and their use of nonsense). Among other clever interpretations of the text was the portrayal of the three sized Alices: doll-sized Alice, normal-sized Alice, and giant Alice. You have to see them for yourselves!

In case you missed our tweets and posts last week, don’t miss your last chance this weekend to see ALICE: Curiouser and Curiouser! It will be performed at the Don Powell Theater through March 15th 2015. 

Many thanks again to Dr. Heyman for visiting us! You're really awesome, and we like your style. 

1 comment:

  1. One March, a Nonsensical Egg
    Broke bread with Christina and Meg;
    They humored his roundness,
    His antiprofoundness,
    Making him a Nontensical Egg.