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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: MND Tops Survey
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2612  Friday, 16 November 2001

[1]     From:   Karen Peterson <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Nov 2001 07:50:38 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey

[2]     From:   Billy Houck <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Nov 2001 11:13:06 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey

[3]     From:   M Yawney <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Nov 2001 09:05:19 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey

[4]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Nov 2001 10:41:53 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Nov 2001 07:50:38 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey

I second Stuart's amazement about the non-appearance of R&J, especially
since it is the play most commonly taught (I was about to say "read",
but that is probably assuming too much!) in US high schools and in
schools in countries where the US system provides the mode.

Did the survey offer respondents an opportunity to make comments about
*why* some plays were chosen for performance rather than others?
Perhaps Billy Houck could further enlighten us.

I'd be interested in hearing from the drama and English teachers on the
list on this.  If one is going to "do Shakespeare", why might MND be
thought more appropriate than another of the plays?  Is one reason that
it has a relative abundance of female roles?  There do often seem to be
more females interested in drama at the high school level than males.

Cheers,
Karen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Nov 2001 11:13:06 EST
Subject: 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey

Stuart Manger writes,

"I have to say that I am amazed that 'R and J' is nowhere in that list
of high school top ten dramas.

Is it because it is so tragic for the young that schools will not do it
or what? Is it lack of confidence in the play? Their own acting? It
simply seems so perfect for a 14-18 yr old age range!"

It is quite popular, but not in the top 10 this year.  I'm doing it with
my students this spring. It was in the top 10 for a couple of years
following the Baz Luhrman film. "Taming of the Shrew" made the top ten
the year "10 Things I Hate About You" was released.

<<And Charlie Brown??????? Level with The Crucible?>>

The Crucible is popular because it is well-written, is included in many
High School English classes, but mostly because it features roles for a
dozen hysterical teenage girls.

<<I don't know 'Rumors'. Some advice?>>

It's by Neil Simon.

Billy Houck
writing the libretto for "Schoolboys in Disgrace"

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           M Yawney <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Nov 2001 09:05:19 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey

> I have to say that I am amazed that 'R and J' is
> nowhere in that list of
> high school top ten dramas.
>
> Is it because it is so tragic for the young that
> schools will not do it
> or what? Is it lack of confidence in the play? Their
> own acting? It
> simply seems so perfect for a 14-18 yr old age
> range!

The problem is that R and J has more specific production demands that
can be difficult for school-productions to meet.

The difficulty with R and J is that it requires fight choreography, a
two-level set and a predominantly male cast. (I have seen the Prince and
Benvolio cast as women convincingly, but the others really have to be
male.)

MMD is more flexible in regard to the physical production. It also has
more and better female roles and is much more able to be cross-gender
cast if necessary (e.g. one could make Egeus a mother rather than a
father, Philostrate, Puck, the fairies etc all female). Also, the
situation of the lovers is even more relatable for teens than that in
R&J.

Frankly I am surprised to see the Crucible so high on the list.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Nov 2001 10:41:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2607 Re: MND Tops Survey

Rumors is a hilarious play by Neil Simon. Actually quite a recent one.

Perhaps Romeo and Juliet is Number 11.

Or maybe it is not produced as much because it is on everyone's
curriculum. After reading it, they wouldn't want to perform it would
they? :)

Brian Willis

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