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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
Re: Classroom Strategies
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0986.  Wednesday, 1 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Peter T. Hadorn <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 10:09:46 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries

[2]     From:   Derek Wood <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 16:33:21 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0980  High School Curriculums

[3]     From:   Louis C Swilley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 16:44:11 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries

[4]     From:   Virginia Byrne <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 18:31:40 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries

[5]     From:   Amy Ulen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 17:45:34 -0700
        Subj:   Re: High School Curriculums

[6]     From:   Belinda Johnston <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Oct 1997 13:57:33 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries

[7]     From:   Richard Regan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Oct 1997 01:01:43 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter T. Hadorn <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 10:09:46 -0500
Subject: 8.0980  Many Queries
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries

In response to Jodi Clark's query about performing a scene.  Here's
something that worked for me:

The last time I taught Shax, on the first day of class I pulled a
sufficient number of students in the front of the class, assigned parts
and "did" *Hamlet* Act 3, scene 1, the "To be or not to be scene."  I
explained a little bit about what had happened up to that point, but
most of them already know a bit about it.  Whole thing took about three
days.   Afterwards showing different film versions of that scene was
useful (Olivier, Mel Gibson, Nicole Williamson, and soon Branagh's will
be available if not already).  We emphasized motivation.  For instance,
we don't know for sure yet that Claudius is guilty, but we suspect it.
He's awfully quiet in this scene except at some important points.  He
wants to know what Hamlet is up to.  Notice the harshness of his
language.  What's he doing as the others speak?  Notice how quick he is
to make important decisions (in contrast to Hamlet).  R & G of course
want to sound important before the king.  Is there a difference in the
way the two are played?  Ophelia is quiet through the whole thing.  How
does she feel about being there?  Notice how the scene shrinks as people
leave the stage.  What effect does this have.  Notice at the end of this
part, Claudius for the first time reveals guilt.  What prompted it?
Except for Branagh's new version, no other film version I know of has
the King and Polonius on stage as Hamlet delivers his speech.  What
effect does this have.  Is there any evidence that Hamlet knows they are
there.  If so, when?  How is this played?  Note the shift later from
verse to prose.   Note how the previously quiet Ophelia really gets
worked up in this scene.  I could go on, but mostly we discuss
motivation and blocking.  It worked well for me.  Good luck.

Also, in response to Jimmy Jung's question about the same material being
done in comedy vs. tragedy/history:  where does one begin?  But one bit
that was successful for me most recently was to explore the basic
situation of love between a young man of high birth and young woman of
low birth.  We looked at three plays written at about the same time:
Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida, and All's Well That Ends Well.  Side, but
related, issues include conflict between love and war, older generation
vs. younger generation, strong women vs. passive women.  Certainly many
other plays deal with the same issues, but I like the way these three
were written at about the same time and are so different in treatment of
these ideas.  Hope this helps.

Cheers!
Peter T. Hadorn
Department of Humanities
University of Wisconsin-Platteville

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Derek Wood <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 16:33:21 -0300
Subject: 8.0980  High School Curriculums
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0980  High School Curriculums

At an end of term party, where we were all expected to "do" something, a
group of students put on a reading of the final scene of _Midsummmer
Night's Dream_ It was a great success, extremely funny although they
were all amateurs, were not in costume and so on. There's the funny
punctuation of the prologue which you could ask a high school class to
correct and there's the stylised verse of the rude mechanicals' play
which might be interesting teaching points. Also, it should come in well
under fifty minutes

        Good luck!
        Derek Wood.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis C Swilley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 16:44:11 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 8.0980  Many Queries
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries

> I would really like
> the students to work on a scene and present it in performance in class
> at the end of the unit.  Each class period is about 50 minutes.  Also,
> which plays would you recommend using?

Do the Pyramus and Thisbe scene from MDN.  They'll enjoy it.

> Has anybody seen any productions where Malvolio's imprisonment was *in
> no way* tragic, and if so, how was it pulled off?


If it is otherwise allowable in the character, Malvolio could be shown
to be aware that he is expected to suffer and present that "face" to his
tormentors, while to us he shows his awareness of what they are trying
to do.  This may have the potential for the comic, but I do not know
what that would do to the larger argument of the play. However, directly
to answer your question, I have seen no production of TN that presents
Malvolio's imprisonment as comical.  The punishment seems overkill.

> In the Folio version of AYL, Rosalind says on arriving at the Forest of
> Arden,
>
>    O Jupiter, how merry are my spirits!

As well they should be, for "this way have you well expounded it."
Advance bravely; you have an excellent case.

        [L.Swilley]

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Virginia Byrne <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 18:31:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0980  Many Queries
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries

My job is turning kids on to Shakespeare...start with having them insult
each other. there are two books published of just the bard's insults. It
really gets them going. I have unending ideas for you but this is(swear
to god) the best way to have them 'act' with Shakespeare's dialogue and
then they feel comfortable about it. If you want more contact me
personally.

I am in Worcester MA so you can call me if you want.(I am Drama1564)

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Amy Ulen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 17:45:34 -0700
Subject:        Re: High School Curriculums

> ." speech.  But they even had a hard time with that.  Does anyone have
> some curriculum materials they would be willing to share, or lesson plan
> ideas that they have used to great success?

Jodi, I am an 8th grade language arts teacher, but spent four years
teaching English (including Shakespeare) at an alternative high school.
I have MANY ideas for your two week session, so our conversation is
probably best conducted off list.  I did want to share a couple of
resources to help get you started:

1)  Web sites (not a complete list, but a good place to start)
        http://www.ivgh.com/amy/shakespeare/ (my Midsummer site)
        http://www.ivgh.com/amy/shakespeare/whole.html (Midsummer lesson plans)
        http://www.tamut.edu/english/folgerhp/folgerhp.htm (various lesson
plans)

2)  Folger Library Shakespeare Set Free series
        R&J, Mac, MND (0-671-76046-7)
        Ham & H4.1 (0-671-76048-3)
        12N & Oth (0-671-76047-5)

I look forward to hearing from you!

Amy Ulen
http://www.ivgh.com/amy/

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Belinda Johnston <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Oct 1997 13:57:33 +1000
Subject: 8.0980  Many Queries
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries

SHAKESPEARE IN THE CHANGING CURRICULUM edited by Lesley Aers & Nigel
Wheale (London: Routledge, 1991) has some useful discussions of teaching
strategies.

Regards
Belinda

[7]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Regan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Oct 1997 01:01:43 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0980  Many Queries
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0980  Many Queries

In response to Jodi Clark, one way to focus students on language
involves technology that may not be available to you, but which I am
finding effective:

I run a tape of a scene (usually the BBC production, faithful to a full
text) on a monitor next to a large screen projection from a computer
running a CD ROM of the play text, which I can scroll. The text can be
highlighted with the mouse while the scene is playing, and the tape can
be stopped while the text is given special attention.

Students say they like the focus on language.

Richard Regan
Fairfield University
 

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