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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: January ::
Re: High School and College Productions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0301  Thursday, 31 January 2002

From:           Alan J. Sanders <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Jan 2002 15:21:41 -0500
Subject: 13.0265 Re: High School and College Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0265 Re: High School and College Productions

Jay:

My apologies if: 1) I misunderstood your original note which read to me
as a question of how do some people manage to put on an entire
production in the same time-frame in which you stage the condensed
versions (allowing the students the time they need to dedicate to their
other classes and academic interests); and 2) I inferring in the
slightest that you were trying to dumb-down your texts or your
productions.

I meant to convey my understanding of your situation and provide a
thoughtful discussion about how I see a similar problem occurring in the
American public schools (my frame of reference is the South simply
because I have lived in the Atlanta area for the last 15 years).  Many
educators have lamented about their students being pulled in so many
directions and the educators themselves are being encouraged to only
'teach the subjects over which the student body will be tested.'  What I
have seen from this trend is the sense that students are force-fed
information designed to allow them to excel on a standardized test
which, in turn, provides more funding to the school from the state and
federal government.  This leads many students to believe that they only
need to know certain things and that anything outside of that scope is
not worth pursuing.  I don't like that!  Not in the least!

My comment about the 4-6 month prep time was meant for you (or the
instructor).  Again, this was not intended to reflect a negative
criticism.  I believe anyone on this list is more knowledgeable about
Shakespeare than most people today, and certainly more than me.  Part of
the reason I subscribed to this list was to enjoy the thoughtful
discussion over so many different topics centered around the Bard.
However, as a director, I must inundate myself with whatever text I am
about to direct.  Even shows I think I know like the back of my hand
still requires months of preparation -- I simply never know what
question will pop out of the next actors mouth.  What I have seen,
however, is if I have done my prep work before the first day of
reads/rehearsals, I can convey the totality of the project to my
actors.  They are given the big picture and they understand that they
will play a fundamental part within that framework.  I don't want them
to rest on their laurels either.  I expect a lot from them.  And they
now know it.

I suppose a subconscious reason for responding as I did may have been
more to validate my own approach than to become an inadvertent criticism
of another's.  Please accept my apology as no offense was ever
intended.  I have gone to your site at the college am really interested
in keeping this dialogue alive.  As Shakespeare comments about peers
within the same profession, "Let us do as lawyers do, strive mightily,
but eat and drink as friends" . . . or something to that effect! :-)

Sincerely,
Alan J. Sanders

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