El's Reviews > The History Boys

The History Boys by Alan Bennett
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May 20, 12

bookshelves: 21st-centurylit, sunday-reading-plan, thespian-stuff
Read on May 20, 2012

Some plays just are better when seen performed on the stage. Sometimes just reading a play loses something in the... well, translation. I have a feeling The History Boys is one of those. I'll bet on stage it's pretty interesting. I hear there's a movie from a few years ago that probably is worth watching. (This is all not to be confused with The Emperor's Club, the 2002 movie with Kevin Kline. I can't explain why but I seriously thought it might be based on this play. It was not. Silly rabbit! Whatever, these boarding school/prep school titles all run together after a while.)

This play is about a handful of smart British boys in a boarding school who do what boys do - talk about sex and stuff. Then there are three teachers, all of whom have completely different teaching styles, but it really comes down to who has the "better" teaching style, Hector or Irwin. I don't even know what the purpose was of Lintott at all, other than she was the token female in the entire play.

Don't get me wrong, I think education is pretty spanking important, I encourage everyone to give it a try. That being said, I'm a mediocre student myself because, whatever, man, I want to learn what I want to learn, and tests and exams don't make me a smarter person, and I am a horrible test-taker anyway. What do grades really show you anyway? Not much, not in the long run, yet so much depends on those grades. The things I've learned on my own through my own reading outside of school has surpassed most of what I've learned while I was in school. And, well, that's pretty much the debate here in this play.

There's certainly more to it than just that (other stuff that we've all experienced by reading/watching other stories about boarding schools/prep schools), but it felt like there wasn't much to it. Again, I think that has more to do with the sitting-and-reading aspect, and I'd likely feel differently if I watched an actual performance. But then, I'm a visual person anyway.

I gave this an extra star just for including a part from this.
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