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Tutor profile: Robin M.

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Robin M.
Retired Theatre and Film Educator and Director
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Questions

Subject: Shakespeare

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Question:

Katarina's famous speech in The Taming of the Shrew is often reviled by women as a seemingly misogynistic treatise on women's inferiority to men and her subjugation to her husband. However, the historical context of the play itself and a further investigation into Kate's circumstances suggest a possible alternative conclusion. How is this speech actually a statement of female empowerment in medieval England (Italy)?

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Robin M.
Answer:

Katarina is the eldest daughter in an affluent family. The societal structure gives her no power in her father's household. She is an object to be bought and sold. However, in her husband's home, Kate becomes the mistress of the house with power to create a household as she sees fit. This gives her an autonomy she could not accomplish otherwise. Within the text, there are clues that she indeed sees the game that Petruchio is playing and begins to play it in return. This has illicited a positive response from her husband and as a result she has gained what she desires. This speech is the final piece in the game. Her victory is won when he announces "Kiss me, Kate" and she does. She now has access to a household, a loving husband and potential family, far more than she would have received elsewhere. In this historical context, it is the most power a woman can attain. It is far more interesting to interpret that she knew EXACTLY what she was doing. She also learned the benefits of "killing with kindness".

Subject: Film and Theater

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Question:

During the pandemic, arts organization personnel were not considered essential workers. However, anecdotal evidence shows that most people throughout the world spent their time watching television and reading books; this comfort provided by performing and literary artists. Are the arts essential to our society? is there a disconnect between our consumption of arts and our support of them?

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Robin M.
Answer:

In an immediate crisis situation, it is clear to see that arts are not essential to keeping humans physically alive. In an extended crisis situation, the arts are vital to keeping humans alive. The need for comfort, distraction, and fortitude are met by varying arts practices. The vehicle of theatre and music, for example, can provide the hope and vision of a loving humanity that can assist in sustaining mental health. Our society does not overtly value the arts and the people who provide it, while depending upon them to provide these results. Much like the food on our table, we do not credit emotionally or financially the people who provide the food for our souls. In a healthy society, the arts would be honored and the artists compensated equitably.

Subject: Communication

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Question:

Employers list communication skills as the number one quality desired in future employees. Stress management and emotion control are two of the top five communication skills considered necessary for successful interpersonal interaction. Mental health is currently at the forefront of our cultural zeitgeist. How are you prioritsing these skills in your life practices?

Inactive
Robin M.
Answer:

One of the best techniques I have learned about emotion control is the theory that "emotions don't have me, I have emotions". The separation of emotion from sense of self givea me a feeling of autonomy and control. My realization that an emotion is a temporary thing can allow me to stay centered as the emotion passes. The truth that the emotion is a thing I feel and not who I am allows me to react and respond from a grounded place rather than from that emotional need or trigger. In interpersonal communication, whether in relationships or the workplace, this skill helps me navigate emotional terrain with a greater sense of personal power.

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