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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: MND Tops Survey
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2618  Monday, 19 November 2001

[1]     From:   Billy Houck <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Nov 2001 11:18:50 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2612 Re: MND Tops Survey

[2]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Nov 2001 17:03:53 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2612 Re: MND Tops Survey

[3]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Nov 2001 17:59:58 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2612 Re: MND Tops Survey

[4]     From:   Thelma English <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Nov 2001 22:26:17 -0800
        Subj:   MND tops survey


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Nov 2001 11:18:50 EST
Subject: 12.2612 Re: MND Tops Survey
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2612 Re: MND Tops Survey

Karen Peterson writes:

>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.

No, the survey is done on a postcard.

It used to be a top 20, though.

Billy Houck

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Nov 2001 17:03:53 -0000
Subject: 12.2612 Re: MND Tops Survey
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2612 Re: MND Tops Survey

It is fairly obvious why R&J is not read/performed much in schools in
the US.  Of all the plays it is one of the most complex and verbose -
and nothing whatever to do with young people - a common mistake with
teachers.  The characters of R&J are reminiscent phantasms of a
middle-aged memory and therefore idealised and therefore out of touch
with "real" young people.  The whole point of the play is the warring
between the families - R&J are poor victims invented for counterpoint.
In short it is a play about the evils of civil war meant to be seen by
the middle-aged.

SAM SMALL

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Nov 2001 17:59:58 -0000
Subject: 12.2612 Re: MND Tops Survey
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2612 Re: MND Tops Survey

Karen Peterson wonders, "If one is going to 'do Shakespeare' [in
school], 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".

That might be the reason, but I would suggest that it has more to do
with the fact that MND is itself largely concerned with the exercise of
putting on a play. There is much scope for metadramatic fun, and, more
to the point, for teaching the mechanics of putting on a play, which I
assume drama as an academic subject is supposed to facilitate.

Martin.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thelma English <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Nov 2001 22:26:17 -0800
Subject:        MND tops survey

For what it's worth - I teach literature to 32 home educated students in
a rural area of the northwest USA.  I run through a five-year cycle to
provide American, Shakespeare, Classical, English, and Bible literature
survey courses.  This year they are studying Shakespeare.  I have them
complete an in-depth study guide for Much Ado, MoV, Macbeth, and WT.  I
also schedule read-alouds for Tempest, MND, Twelfth Night, Comedy of
Errors, Shrew, and ASLI (each student takes a part and we read through
the play in 3-4 hours).  In this way, they have exposure to many plays -
with an excellent grip on at least four.  I cover the sonnets briefly
and they write at least one.  I skip R&J because everyone seems to be so
familiar with it already at some level, and teen lovers who commit
suicide just aren't on the top of my list (for teen readers anyway).
This seems to be working very well.  I add plays to include whatever we
will be viewing at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival, etc.

I realize the histories are sadly missing from my repertoire this year
but I do include as much historical background information as possible
for the plays we do study and the results have been wonderful.  Next
year, when I switch to classical, I will include JC, Cleopatra, Timon,
and maybe T&C along with the Greek tragedies.  The following year in
English Survey I will include Henry IV, Part Two and Henry V at least.
If the kids follow the program for the course of five years (and attend
play readings), they end up with a broad base of Shakespeare, which
(hopefully) will serve them for pleasure reading/viewing as adults.

Thelma English

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