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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
RE: Classroom Strategies
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1048.  Friday, 17 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Oct 97 11:26:00 CDT
        Subj:   RE: Classroom Strategies

[2]     From:   Matthew Bibb <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Oct 97 12:00:00 PST
        Subj:   Re: Classroom Strategies

[3]     From:   Virginia M. Byrne <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Oct 1997 21:16:31 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1044  Re: Classroom Strategies


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Oct 97 11:26:00 CDT
Subject:        RE: Classroom Strategies

Since we're discussing classroom strategies, I though I would share with
you an experiment I will be attempting in the spring with a colleague of
mine from the theater department (I teach in the English Department).  I
will teach my Shakespeare course (part 1, on the comedies and
histories), during the same time slot that he teaches his Advanced
Acting class.  One day a week, our classes will be combined-one week I
will talk to the students about the historical context or the texts, and
the next week his students will perform scenes after which he can
discuss performance issues.  Technically, the courses will not be team
taught, but there will be as much overlap as we can possibly manage.
I'm hoping that in this way, I can strike a balance between the
text/performance debate.

Depending on how successful the experiment is, we would like to write up
a conference presentation or a publishable essay on the results.  I
would also be more than happy to share what happens with the list in
late spring, if folks would be interested.

Lysbeth Em Benkert
Northern State University

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Bibb <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Oct 97 12:00:00 PST
Subject:        Re: Classroom Strategies

>>There is no way to understand
>>Shakespeare,(except for the sonnets), without watching them on the
>>stage.
>
>This is rot, and I take offense at it.

Actually, I think it is dead-on accurate, if not perhaps in the way
either of you meant. Going to see a performance, valuable as that may
be, and reading a play silently (ditto), are, separate from one another,
well-nigh useless for the process of LEARNING Shakespeare. The twin arts
of performance and analysis are inextricably intertwined. Actors do not
simply appear from the wings, knowing exactly what they are supposed to
say and what it means. They study the text, deeply, agonizing over the
meaning and possible interpretations of every word. This is the exact
process students should be put through. Getting them up on their feet,
making them think about what the lines mean when they are spoken, is an
astonishingly effective technique, and not without reason.

>>In short, if you are not watching Shakespeare's plays, you are not
>>really doing the work justice.  And I cling to this.
>Barnacle-like, no doubt.

Perhaps if we changed the word "watching" to "performing", the offense
would be lessened?

Sorry if I'm covering old ground, but I've been ill and haven't checked
my mail lately.

Matt Bibb
Lost Dog Productions
UCLA Shakespeare Reading and Performance Group

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Virginia M. Byrne <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 16 Oct 1997 21:16:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.1044  Re: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1044  Re: Classroom Strategies

Physicalizing in any possible way brings the text alive to students.
Though I would never ever direct the scene in this manner I was side
coaching two hs actors in an ACTING SHAKESPEARE class this afternoon in
a scene between Tubal and Shylock and it was dead, dead, dead. When one
of them made a karate- like gesture I latched onto that and proceeded to
develop the scene as a karate piece and the entire piece came totally
alive because their energy increased...the scene made sense when they
forgot that they were "READING SHAKESPEARE"...anything to get them into
it....try anything let Portia squirm sensually on the stage aka
Cleopatra when she talks to Bassanio . . . it takes on life and then
they actually feel it as well as say it
 

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