2002

Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0363  Thursday, 7 February 2002

[1]     From:   Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 19:00:21 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0341 Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up

[2]     From:   Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 07 Feb 2002 11:06:19 +1100
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 19:00:21 -0000
Subject: 13.0341 Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0341 Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up

On the "reading from the end backwards" topic, Don Bloom remarks that,
"I have found the technique also useful in dealing with novels (pace
Forster), even those that prove the rule like 'Great Expectations.'".

For goodness' sake, don't try this with Agatha Christie!

One can't imagine B & F's "A King and No King" WITHOUT reading it
last-scene-first, though, come to think of it...

m [adam I'm adam]

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 07 Feb 2002 11:06:19 +1100
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up

Don Bloom writes,

To add my two cents to the "bottom up" thread: I discovered (or imagined
I had, after reading of it someplace), that one could clarify many of
Shakespeare's plays wonderfully by starting at the end and working
backwards (or upwards).

I would be VERY cautious about applying this method to the full play,
rather than just a speech.  Remember that characters are often not the
same people at the beginning of the play that they are at the end.

As Carol Rutter has ably demonstrated in "The Politics of Cressida's
Glove", the tendency for interpreters to read the ending of a play back
into earlier appearances of a character has frequently corrupted the
staging of that character's journey.  In practical terms this means
that, because Cressida betrays Troilus with Diomedes in Act IV, she has
most often been played as some kind of lascivious nymphomaniac in Act I,
when the events that might motivate her betrayal have not yet occurred.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0362  Thursday, 7 February 2002

[1]     From:   David Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 18:51:43 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0356 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest

[2]     From:   Matt Henerson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 23:59:20 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0356 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 18:51:43 GMT0BST
Subject: 13.0356 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0356 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest

> > Well I never!  It's as if most of the academic criticism of the play,
> > and virtually all the major productions of the last 45 years had never
> > happened. Can anybody really quite believe this any more?
>
> I'm intrigued. "40" as a shorthand for "40ish" I'd have given you,
> David, but the precision of "45 years" demands explanation. Just what
> happened in 1957?

Gabriel,

I think I chose the number simply because '40' would suggest the 60s
invented the dissonant Tempest (which they didn't) - but, fortuitously
perhaps, it was also the year of Gielgud's performance in Brook's
Stratford production. This performance, Dymkowski suggests, is the one
which 'decisively broke the mould' of benign, quasi-divine Prosperos.
(Though one should note that, in the end, Brook reintroduced the 'ship'
at the end, with, therefore, a strong suggestion of some redemptive
force in the ending - it was in 1963, when Brook and Clifford Williams
insisted in the programme note - written by the latter - that the play
as a whole doesn't come to tidy conclusions.)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matt Henerson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 23:59:20 EST
Subject: 13.0356 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0356 Re: Shakespeare's The Tempest

>Just what
>
>happened in 1957?

One of the things that happened in 1957 was Peter Brook's first
production of "The Tempest" at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre with
John Gielgud as Prospero.  This was the third of Gilegud's four stage
Prosperos, and, by all accounts, his most embittered.  Production
photographs show him in clothes supplied from what was available on the
island (skins and furs etc.), and I think I recall one shot of him
threatening Caliban (Alec Clunes) with a club.

This is entirely subjective, of course, but I tend to date the
theatrical re-imagination of "The Tempest" from Brook's second time
through the play.

This was a production he co-directed with Clifford Williams in 1962 for
the newly-formed Royal Shakespeare Company.  Tom Fleming (Kent in
Brook's "Lear" on stage and in the film) was Prospero and Roy Dotrice
was--for the first time so far as my understanding of the play's
production history goes--a recognizably human Caliban.  Here are a few
quotations from the program notes:

"...The play is full of movement and change, a flux of character in
which only Ariel and perhaps Antonio are stable: if there is any
reconciliation at the end, there is infinitely more irresolution.

It is this irresolution, which we believe is deliberate, that we've
tried to present.  A man spends his life trying to perfect his responses
to the world, to control himself and nature: he still ends up senile.
In this play, Shakespeare includes all the themes from his earlier
work...he draws them all together as if to find the key to it all, but
there is no such key.  ...Prospero returns to Milan not bathed in
tranquility, but  a wreck...

At one time we thought of...putting all the characters of the finale in
clown's costumes, to underline the derisory nature of the play's
'resolution.'

Perhaps this (Caliban's "seek(ing) for grace hereafter") needs a
stronger dose of de-sentimentalizing if we, and the audience, are to cut
through the preconceptions which surround the play.  As it is, one of
the front-of-house staff has resigned because of Caliban's phallic
gesture with his bone, although I talked to two Irish nuns about it, and
they were perfectly happy.  'It's part of man,' they said."

As I recall, this production wasn't very well received, although
something in the darkness and ambiguity of the approach must have struck
a chord, as major productions, both in Britain and the US, began
thereafter to explore some of the play's uglier possibilities.

Matt Henerson

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

"Direct to Your Door Shakespeare"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0360  Thursday, 7 February 2002

From:           Douglas Chapman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 13:07:12 EST
Subject:        "Direct to Your Door Shakespeare"

Just a quick note to make sure everyone else heard about the new "Direct
to Your Door Shakespeare" as I heard on NPR last week.

For a fee of $50 for a soliloquy to 2-300 dollars for a full courtroom
scene, underemployed Shakespearean actors will come to your board
meeting, lawyers convention (Portia's courtroom scene; Queen Mab
sequence) or a private romantic dinner (sonnets and Romeo & Juliet) to
perform.

As they say (with perhaps a bit of envy?), "Only in New York; only in
New York."

Sounds fun.

Douglas Chapman

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Re: Dialogic Stage Directions

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0361  Thursday, 7 February 2002

[1]     From:   Anthony Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 13:09:30 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

[2]     From:   Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 13:12:17 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

[3]     From:   Steve Roth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 11:33:01 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

[4]     From:   William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 16:57:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

[5]     From:   Mark Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 7 Feb 2002 12:52:26 +1100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

[6]     From:   J Kenneth Campbell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 13:19:24 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

[7]     From:   John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 7 Feb 2002 13:26:55 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

[8]     From:   Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 7 Feb 2002 14:47:16 -0000
        Subj:   Dialogic Stage Directions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anthony Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 13:09:30 -0500
Subject: 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

In the interest of advancing The Higher Obfuscation as a way of life
(the Tao of THO), let me propose "dialogic dramaturgical semion (or,
"signifier")", or "dialogic non-dramatical semion/signifier."

Of course, we could go back to close reading and talk about what the
author must have meant, or even ask ourselves how to arrange it for an
actor to say all the words without looking bloody foolish.

Tony B

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 13:12:17 EST
Subject: 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

Textual Guides to Blocking: TGB's..

Harry Hill

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Roth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 11:33:01 -0800
Subject: 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

Stephen Dobbin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote,

>replacing stage-direction with a more
>rigorous term. I am sure listmembers will be able to come up with
>suggestions.

Actorial intention?

This also almost qualifies for the New York Magazine contest: "take a
[foreign-language] phrase, replace (or in the above case remove) one
letter, and give a definition." i.e., one of mine:

QUOD EST REMONSTRATUM

That which gets you in trouble with your spouse/parent/teenage child.

Steve
http://princehamlet.com

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 16:57:13 -0500
Subject: 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

I am pleased that Stephen Dobbin likes the term and is even willing to
continue with the perfecting of it. I think his "hallmarks" are about
right, and # 1 is certainly why many of us are not working in the jeans
department at Sears or similar.  I will see if I can find something to
meet his rigorous requirements if Hardy is willing to come up with the
prize.

William Proctor Williams

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 7 Feb 2002 12:52:26 +1100
Subject: 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

My own favourite which has been borrowed from the classicists is
"didascalia" - often treated as "performance records" but by a process
of semantic shift is often now used to refer to all overt and implicit
"stage directions" or performative indicators, particularly among the
French theatre semiologists of the 1980s.  You will find it thus in Anne
Ubersfeld's Lire le Theatre Vol 1 (Editions Sociales: Paris) 1979 (sorry
about the lack of accents) and further developed in work by Patrice
Pavis.

Didascalia have not yet, to my knowledge, come into widespread use in
English, but the term fulfils Stephen's criteria - surely.  It's an even
vaguer portmanteau term which covers monologues, dialogues, crowd cries
and music cues, scene divisions (if authorial or playhouse origin) and
even the cast list at the front, playbills and "parts".  This then
allows us to embark on a study of kineaesthetics, of course.  Forget the
coinage of one word, whole degree courses and schools open up here.

For a study of Shakespeare's stage directions implicit and explicit may
I recommend Anne Pasternak Slater's Oxford 1974 D.Phil. "Shakespeare's
Stage Directions" - better and more systematic in my view than the book
which came from it "Shakespeare the Director" (Harvester Press:
Brighton)(in US Barnes & Noble) 1982.

Even in the absence of another claimant, I feel that the bottle will
have to remain in the northern hemisphere to support the sterling work
of the list coordinator.

Mark Williams.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           J Kenneth Campbell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 13:19:24 -0800
Subject: 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

I suggest "Verse spurs"

Ken

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 7 Feb 2002 13:26:55 -0000
Subject: 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.0346 Dialogic Stage Directions/Authorial Intention

Why not think of them as 'implied stage directions' since that's what
they are.  'Dialogic' confuses the matter since it suggests that they
engage actively in some way (not easy to use this term in a descriptive
way after Bakhtin)

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 7 Feb 2002 14:47:16 -0000
Subject:        Dialogic Stage Directions

[Act. I Sc. i]

ENTER DOBBIN, HARDY, STEWARD, AND OTHER LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

DOBBIN.
Th' adjectival "dialogic" suits us well
In its abstruse and trumping Greekery;
But "Stage Direction" is too commonplace:
It vaulteth not beyond the 'nighted ken
Of the base multitude. Wilt thou, great Hardy,
Consent to offer up a single malt
Unto the coiner of some more braver term?

HARDY NODS, SILENTLY

STEWARD.
Then stand off all contenders! Hear no more,
Judicious Hardy, beyond my prompt bestowal -
There is no need: the term which I propose
Is "Dialogic Catechodramatropism".
The single malt is, without question, mine!

[STEWARD GRABS THE BOTTLE]

OMNIA.
Oh! Prodigious fabrication!

EXIT STEWARD, RUNNING, PURSUED BY HARDY

m
_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Re: Place of Performance

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0359  Thursday, 7 February 2002

[1]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 09:19:07 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: Place of Performance in English Lit Classes

[2]     From:   Susan C Oldrieve <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 18:32:23 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance

[3]     From:   Nicole Imbracsio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 20:05:01 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance

[4]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 20:03:30 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance

[5]     From:   Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 7 Feb 2002 06:02:30 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 09:19:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0327 Place of Performance in English Lit Classes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0327 Place of Performance in English Lit Classes

To Jay Johnson:

I, for one, incorporate performance into my (mostly upper-division, I'm
afraid) English courses in Shakespeare/Tragedies, Shakespeare/Comedies
and Histories, Gender and Renaissance Lit, and Intro to Theories and
Practices in the following ways:

(a) each student participates in a group performance or does a solo
performance of a part a dramatic text selected by him/her once during a
15-week semester (5% of grade, pass/fail)

(b) occasionally the class will participate in an impromptu acting out
of a scene on the first (*King Lear* 1.1) or last (*The Winter's Tale*
5.) day of study of a particular dramatic text

(c) students view a cinematic text outside of class in tandem with every
dramatic text studied, enabling us to devote the final class period of
four to analysis of performance (quizzes, 20% of grade, pass/fall)

(d) nearly every semester I am able to incorporate a live theatrical
production (Nevada Shakespeare in the Park; campus) of a dramatic text
into a syllabus in lieu of "(c)" above

I have never tried to perform an entire play in a class, though.

Ian McKellen's one-man show, *Acting Shakespeare*, which I participated
in as an audience member three times in SF, is what inspired me to
incorporate performance into my English courses -- first, at UC Santa
Cruz and now, here.

Evelyn Gajowski
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan C Oldrieve <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 18:32:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance

A theater colleague and I teach an upper level 4 credit Acting
Shakespeare class for undergraduates.  We give each student a major and
minor role, changing actors from act to act but otherwise trying to
stage as finished a production as we have time to do in 16 weeks.  The
exam period is used for the final production.

We've had problems in the past with Theater students who didn't think
they should have to write an interpretive essay on the play or do
anything but act, and with occasional non-theater people who have
dropped because of acute stage fright.  And the class has been really
intense and more work than our students typically do even for other
upper level classes. From our perspective the biggest problem (besides
whining students) is that the blocking takes weeks and we run out of
time for character development.

This fall we'll do our 7th class (we teach it every other year) and we
are redesigning the course to try to alleviate the burden for students
and to focus more on character development than on learning blocking.
The first two weeks will be introduction and auditions.  We'll then cast
the students and spend the next 6 weeks discussing the play (Much Ado
this year) scene by scene. Each student will have to do an oral
presentation suggesting interpretation and blocking for one of the
scenes, read 5 scholarly articles on his or her character, and write a
paper explaining how his or her characters contribute to the play's
super objective.  During this time, my theater colleague will pre-block
the play, incorporating the students' ideas as he sees fit.

Then we'll spend the last 8 weeks of class time in rehearsal (MWF
2:40-3:55 with 2 Saturdays for dress and tech rehearsals. Each student
will be responsible to help with some aspect of production.  Finally,
we'll call together all our family and friends and perform the play for
them.

How well the class works depends a great deal on the particular students
involved, but past students have been significantly influenced by the
course and remember it as one of the most challenging and exciting of
their college experiences. I personally find it extremely exciting to be
inside one of Shakespeare's plays and always discover new insights about
the particular play and Shakespeare's craft in general.  I hope the
students do, as well, and what I am sure of is that after the course
Shakespeare has been demystified for them and they feel much more
confident reading and seeing his works.

Susan Oldrieve
Baldwin-Wallace College

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nicole Imbracsio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 20:05:01 -0500
Subject: 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance

I have strong background in theatre and as a teacher of college-level
English Literature classes (esp. Shakespeare), I find performance in the
classroom invaluable.

I understand David Wallace's problem of incorporating performance
difficult with class size and time... however, there are countless ways
that you can get your students to "think towards performance" without
actually getting on their feet and saying lines (which can also receive
a lot of resistance by high school students) or providing props, etc.
The most successful that I have used, and this goes for classes that can
incorporate performance as well, is to have students break into small
groups (of say, 5 students) and pass out a handout that tells that that
they are a production company for a stage version of whatever play
you're reading.  Their group consists of a costume designer, a lighting
designer, a director, a music director, etc.  etc. Their job is to map
out what the audience of the play sees BEFORE the first line is spoken.
They also must answer "what inspires the first line?" Meaning, is their
any action, event, sound, etc. that motivates the first character to
speak. They should also think "what happens in the rest of the play to
justify this vision of the stage?" Aka... is anything foreshadowed.

This can get pretty fun because students are also asked to cast actors
in the roles and think of what they would be wearing, the music, etc.
So the exercise plays on various levels of interest.

Then the groups share their "vision" with the class as a whole.  I ask
students what the mood of their production is, why they decided on such
a vision, etc.

We have a few laughs and some pretty creative stuff gets thrown around.
The exercise helps student to understand that reading a play is not just
about words on a page... but about imagination, of thinking for
yourself.  This exercise also puts the material into the hands of the
students, rather than having me up there saying "This is what is
happening... this is what Juliet is doing... this is what this
means....blah blah" Gives them some authority of the text.

What I find most difficult in teaching students Shakespeare (and
everything for that matter) is their resistance to creativity. I find
that my students (and this is getting worse as time goes on) have such a
difficult time of envisioning things FOR THEMSELVES. They seem so used
to having images and ideas GIVEN to them and provided for them, that
they don't know how to do it themselves.

For me, I have discovered that this mental block comes from the fact
that a LOT of high school English classes have students watch a movie of
whatever play they are reading alongside their reading.  This is
severely damaging in that students no longer can imagine that play
beyond what they have already seen. Their creative authority is usurped,
so to speak.

(A suggested alternative: rather than looking at a single adaptation of
Shakespeare, look a the same scene (aka, Romeo and Juliet death scene)
from three different movies (Zeffirelli, West Side Story, and Luhrmann)
and ANALYZE the differences. )

Have people encountered the same challenge of breaking the brain
blockade?  How do you deal with it?  Do you think it's just a generation
thing... or is there something else going on here?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 20:03:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Place of Performance
Comment:        SHK 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance

In addition to teaching English, I run the theatre program at our small
high school. I, too, have a mixed variety of skills and behaviors among
my students, although none of my theatre students are English L2 (we
have a very small non-native English population in my district). In my
advanced acting class, I teach a unit on performing Shakespeare -- we
read and work on one play for a number of weeks; my play of choice is
usually _12th Night_ (for a variety of reasons, not the least of which
is that I love the play to distraction). The students do a cold reading
of the play on their feet, on stage (I often read with them, both as a
model and as a way to fill in missing parts); after each scene we
discuss the plot, characters, language, et al, but we also talk about
the experience of reading "on our feet." Then the students pick roles
and scenes to work up to performance standard and we rehearse, give
feed-back, etc. The final performance is graded as an exam (I created a
rubric, which I explain in advance).

By the end of the process, I invariably have a handful of students who
have not only learned a lot, but have developed a high level of
confidence and had a grand time rising to a tough challenge. If my
English classes afforded the luxury of so much time and space for this
sort of thing, I wouldn't limit the practice my acting students.

Paul E. Doniger

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 7 Feb 2002 06:02:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Place of Performance
Comment:        SHK 13.0339 Re: Place of Performance

Laura Blankenship urges her students to read 'A Thousand Acres' in the
belief that 'Perhaps there's some way to encourage them to use the novel
to help "fill in" the details of King Lear.'  But to reduce the play to
the level of a novel, with its commitment to leaden-footed 'character
development', closes off exactly those performative dimensions of the
play which her classes are committed to explore. As for a project which
aims to ' ''fill in'' the details of King Lear', only the revelation
that such probings 'sometimes inspire stunned silence' from her students
gives cause for optimism. I'm with them.

T. Hawkes

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.