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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: April ::
Re: The Future; RSC MND; Shakespeare in Latin America
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0255.  Wednesday, 3 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Porter Jamison <
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        Date:   Monday, 1 Apr 1996 13:39:28 -0800
        Subj:   Re: The Future (SHK 7.0226)

(2)     From:   Michael Sharpston <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Apr 1996 12:30:03 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   RSC MND

(3)     From:   Bernice W. Kliman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Apr 1996 07:25:27 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Shakespeare in Latin America


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Porter Jamison <
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Date:           Monday, 1 Apr 1996 13:39:28 -0800
Subject: Future (SHK 7.0226)
Comment:        Re: The Future (SHK 7.0226)

>Paul Hawkins . . . was astonished to find that . . . his Shakspeare
>students at Marianopolis College did not know what "mourning" was,
>then doubly surprised when some more admitted they had never seen or
>used the word "dew".
>
> . . .
>
> . . .  I think this most recent innocence is a signal to us to
>teach less thematically and politically and more semantically and
>linguistically. These plays are almost nothing at all, without their
>words and the rich ambiguities and resonances wihin them.

Bravo, sir, bravo!

I am currently teaching senior-level English at a private high school, one that
prides itself on both its "rigorous" training and on letting in only the "most
advanced" students.

Even after three "rigorous" years, these "advanced" students' vocabulary is
inadequate to handle Dickens, much less Shakespeare. Once they understand the
words, most are able to discuss basic thematic/interpretive concepts-- I know
because I taught _Hamlet_ word-for-word with them over the space of eleven (!!)
weeks-- but almost to a person they have stunted their linguistic sense in
favor of advanced visual interpretive skills.  Other high school instructors
I've spoken with have noted the same trend.

My question is what should we do to reach them, other than sharing our own love
of language and encouraging its growth in them?  These kids are amazed by these
characters and delight in the stories, but without basic vocabulary (or the
desire to attain it) are we teachers limited to video interpretations, Cliff's
Notes, and three-month discussion series?

Clearly, what high school English programs are doing now is, for the most part,
inadequate.  I've found some solutions/approaches which seem to work, but would
love to hear more.  Without throwing this back onto the junior highs and the
parents-- not because I don't believe both to be vital, but because there is
next to nothing that high school teachers can *do* about them-- what do you
recommend be done in order to prepare students for college instruction?

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Sharpston <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Apr 1996 12:30:03 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        RSC MND

Richard Kincaid makes a strong case for sexual licence among the fairies.

For better or for worse, the episode that bothered me was indeed the suggested
relationship between Oberon and Puck (and accordingly I shall not comment on
the other things he mentions). Not particularly graphicness or otherwise of
gesture, but why we were having a sexual bond between them at all.  But someone
better steeped in the folklore behind Oberon and Puck may correct me.

In any case, I would happily have given the RSC half a dozen such incidents
that bothered me, if I had felt the emotional magic that seemed to me missing.
The missing emotional magic was the focus of my posting.

                                Michael Sharpston
                                
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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bernice W. Kliman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Apr 1996 07:25:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Shakespeare in Latin America

I hope that any responses are posted on the list as well as privately. As
project coordinator for the new variorum *Hamlet,* I am particularly interested
in *Hamlet* in Latin America.

I also suggest that you consult Kenneth S. Rothwell's book *Shakespeare on
Screen,* which lists several films from South America. Some of these will be
shown at the World Shakespeare Conference next week.

Good luck,
Bernice W. Kliman
 

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