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Know the game forwards and backwards? 精通

中国日报网 2022-06-10 14:08


Reader question:

Please explain this sentence: “You don’t have to know the game forwards and backwards to teach your kids.”

My comments:

Are we talking about the game of chess, or Chinese chess?


Whatever. Never mind. Doesn’t matter either way. Here, the speaker means to say that a parent doesn’t need to be an expert in order to teach his or her kids a new game, either a board game or, for that matter, any sports.

Here, the speaker is trying to be encouraging but it is true. Parents don’t have to be experts. All they need to do is teach the very first things about a game. Teach them the A, B, Cs of it, so to speak. As they grow, they’ll be able to learn the D, E, Fs of it, all the way to the X, Y, Zs of it.

So, have no qualms if you’re not very good at the game yourself. Or, as the speaker says, you don’t have to know the game forwards and backwards to teach your kids.

Know the game forwards and backwards?

As you can guess, to know something forwards and backwards is to know it very, very well. If you know a subject forwards and backwards, you know it thoroughly and completely, knowing all the ins and outs of it and then some. You have a lot of wiggle room, in other words, that allows you to deal with it with much ease and dexterity.

Good actors know their lines forwards and backwards, for example. A dedicated teacher knows his or her class forwards and backwards, for another example, knowing each student’s strong points as well as shortcomings. A competent lawyer, for another instance, knows his or her case forwards and backwards. A tireless policeman, on the other hand, may very well know his or her patrol area, known as his or her beat, forwards and backwards – literally, too, as they may very well have walked every street, big and small, innumerable times.

This expression may have evolved from the quaint practice of someone who, say, loves a poem so much that they actually try to memorize all the lines forwards and backwards.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Doesn’t matter actually one way or another, so long as we know what it means and how and where to put it in use.

Put it in use, that is, in situations where people know their subject inside out, i.e. extremely well. Don’t use it on someone who barely knows what they’re doing.

And here are a few media examples of “forwards and backwards” – and, as a matter of fact, the other way around (backwards and forwards):

1. Brad Duffy loves a good story. He loves to watch a good story and he loves to create a good story for others to watch.

After 26 years teaching classes and directing plays as the communications and theater arts instructor for Grays Harbor College, Duffy retired in 2018. He was now free to enjoy a life of leisure, spend more time with his two daughters and granddaughter, and play more racquetball, bridge and pinochle.

“It’s worked out well. I get to do all the things I want to do and none of the things I don’t want to do,” says Duffy, 71.

Turns out – no surprise – what he likes to do is theater, to tell a good story.

Not only is Duffy still the executive producer of the 7th Street Kids Theatre, a role he’s had since 2000, but he’s also the new president of Driftwood Players, Aberdeen’s all-volunteer community theater. He’s recently done some acting himself and he’s currently preparing to direct two more plays this 2021-2022 season for Driftwood!

“Brad’s love for theater is immense,” says Debbie Scoones, who has acted in 20 productions directed by Duffy, as well as served in other roles, including musical director for 17 of his productions. “Brad has broadened my love for theater and I will always be grateful for that. I have acted for many directors, but no one can hold a candle to Brad,” she says.

Professional, prepared, kind and talented are the words often used by those who have worked with Duffy as he transforms words from a paper script to a live performance where actors embody their characters and audiences are drawn into the story.

Surprisingly, Duffy says, about half of his preparation time to stage a play occurs before the auditions to cast the production. During this time, he divides the play into what are termed “French scenes,” which are created every time an actor enters or exits the stage. For instance, in the play, “The Humans,” which will run in February at Driftwood, there are 83 French scenes.

“My job is to determine why the playwright included each one,” he explains. “So, for instance, it’s clear, that this one is all about introducing this character and his personality, and this one is about revealing the drama or problem, and maybe this one is about unveiling that there is a lie going on among some of the characters. I want to make sure that what the playwright wanted gets translated onto the stage.”

After the cast is selected, he encourages them to interpret what they think is going on in the scene, and makes a point to encourage his actors not to just parrot the words from the script but to listen each time to the other characters and react as their character would from what is actually said.

This mindset is crucial when something doesn’t go as expected, such as someone forgetting a line, accidentally saying a line too soon or even if a key prop is not where it should be. It’s in those situations where it’s especially important that the actors stay in character and move the story forward.

All that preparation pays off, says Scoones. “What makes Brad a good director is he knows the show forwards and backwards. He gets a tremendous response from his actors,” she says. “He asks actors what is going on in the scene, what are they feeling or experiencing.”

He also requires his actors to have the lines memorized early on. “It’s only after they have their lines down that they can begin to act,” he says.

- The show must go on for Brad Duffy, Coastal-Currents.com, December 8, 2021.

2. A therapeutic way to dispel the COVID era is to laugh it off. That’s what the audience did in response to a delightful performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor by Portland State University Opera on Friday, April 22, at Lincoln Performance Hall. Artistic director Harry Baechtel noted in his opening remarks that PSU Opera had intended to perform Otto Nicolai’s opera two years ago but was thwarted by the pandemic. So, there was a lot of pent-up energy in the house, ready to let loose, and fortunately the cast triggered it all with a jolly esprit de corps.

Some of that nervous excitement must have been coursing through Chuck Dillard, because he was a last-minute replacement for an ailing Ken Selden, who would normally have conducted the PSU orchestra. Dillard, who is the music director of the show, undoubtedly knew this piece forwards and backwards because he did a marvelous job of pacing the singers and the orchestra in what could have been a disastrous train wreck on opening night.

Classified as a Singspiel because of its use of some spoken dialogue, The Merry Wives of Windsor essentially follows Shakespeare’s comedy of the same name – but with a slight modification at the end. Direction by William Mouat played broadly to the funny bone and kept the story moving forward, so that Mr. Ford finally understands that his rampant jealousy is wrong, Falstaff is mocked for his ridiculous pursuit of two married women, and true love triumphs.

It was an evening of exceptional singing led by soprano Taylor Hulett in the role of Alice Ford. Hulett commanded a stunning array of arias and recitatives and whatever came her way with elan. She also showed impeccable comic timing with a wink and a nod, making her character sparkle each time she stepped on the stage.

Bass John Gladen had a field day as the rotund and amorous Sir John Falstaff, and his voice boomed magnificently.

Mezzo Ava Price created a wonderfully animated Meg Page, eliciting lots of laughter; the only thing she needed was more vocal heft in the lower register.

Tenor Reid Duhrkoop’s Fenton pleaded eloquently for the love of Anne Page, who was sung with terrific ardor by soprano Abigail Marine.

Johnny Derby scowled convincingly as the jealous Mr. Ford. Wyatt Jackson fashioned a no-nonsense Mr. Page who knew exactly which suitor was the right one for his daughter. Brandon Hilsabeck aptly conveyed the timidity of Slender, and Oliver Schulenberg hammed it up with gusto as Dr. Cajus.

- True love triumphs: A comedic singspiel at PSU, OrArtsWatch.org, April 27, 2022.

3. Eddie Hearn, promoter for two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, is pleased with his boxer’s decision to add Robert Garcia to the training team.

Last September, Oleksandr Usyk outboxed Joshua over twelve rounds to capture the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight titles.

To add some more experience to his team, Joshua brought in Garcia, who trained a variety of world champions and prospects over the years.

Hearn believes the addition of Garcia will further boost Joshua's confidence as the rematch nears.

“He’s visited a lot of coaches, he’s spoke to a lot of people. He’s very happy with Angel in the corner as well, but wanted that bit of experience, wanted that bit of difference. He went through that process alone and came out with Robert Garcia who is one of the best trainers in the world,” Hearn told IFL TV.

“People talk about him just arriving into camp – Robert Garcia has been here a while, you know, backwards and forwards and for a long period of time. But AJ obviously felt now is the time that he should let the world know as we look to finalize the date and I think he’s going to be a fantastic addition to the corner and I truly believe AJ will win the fight against Usyk. With the momentum and confidence of someone like Robert Garcia, I think it’s going to put him in a great place.”

Hearn would like to see Joshua use similar tactics to Derek Chisora, who gave Usyk a pretty tough fight in October of 2020.

- Hearn: Robert Garcia is Fantastic Addition, I Truly Believe Joshua Will Beat Usyk, BoxingScene.com, June 2, 2022.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣   编辑:丹妮)


Head wind? 逆风


Made it her own? 收为己用


Expert opinion? 专家意见


What is a stan? 铁杆粉丝

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