Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0089. Friday, 4 February 1994.
From: Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Date: Thursday, 03 Feb 94 20:30:20 EST
Subject: Teaching Shakespeare
I'd like to recommend Peter Reynolds, PRACTICAL APPROACHES TO TEACHING
SHAKESPEARE (Oxford University Press, 1991). Though I stripped down many of
the introductory exercises to shorter and simpler forms that I could feel
comfortable with, the physically active ways of engaging students with
language through movement simply lit up my class yesterday. We were all
bouncing and breathing through a sonnet, twenty different ways, till one final
low voiced recitation came alive with a roomful of voices, together. Then I
jumped to an introduction to Taming of the Shrew, working from another volume
that comes from the same gang of educational hot-wirers. This was Michael
Fynes-Clinton and Perry Mills CAMBRIDGE SCHOOLS SHAKESPEARE edition of SHREW
(Cambridge UP 1992). They suggest having students work in groups to invent
staging for the opening action. How about a leap through the classroom
doorway, shoulder roll, "I'll pheeze you," and an angry hostess standing erect
over the supine Sly? Drama being an art of significant juxtaposition.
Even though I've done this kind of stuff before, going through the workshops
with Peggy OBrien and the RSC folks, every time it is a leap of faith.
Reynolds "Practical Approaches . . . " got me launched this time.
Have other people noticed that Meredith Anne Skura's SHAKESPEARE THE ACTOR AND
THE PURPOSES OF PLAYING outlines some of the anxieties and glories of teaching
as a performing art?
Another question: is there a convenient mail-order source for the British TV
standard BBC-TV/TIME LIFE Shakespeare plays? I still balk at buying them at
$100 a pop when they were on sale a few years back in England for about L-7.