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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
"Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0736  Monday, 22 March 2004

[1]     From:   Mari Bonomi <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Mar 2004 12:27:04 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0727 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Mar 2004 23:35:34 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0727 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mari Bonomi <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Mar 2004 12:27:04 -0500
Subject: 15.0727 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0727 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

For several decades I taught Romeo & Juliet to assorted ability groups
of 10th graders using the Folger Library mass-market paperback because
it has the notes (i.e., definitions and explanations in simple everyday
language) on the left page and the complete text on the right, with lots
of white space on both pages.

I encouraged the students to buy their own copies (even arranging
discounted bulk orders for them) even though the school would provide a
classroom copy; I did so in order to give them the opportunity to notate
the text with questions and explanations.

We read aloud in class almost all the play-- students switched parts so
all got to read; I usually did Nurse in I,iii Mercutio throughout and
Lord C in III,v -- simply b/c I love the scenes and characters and
wanted the students to experience someone who loves the text and the
people in that text.

We discussed how key scenes might be blocked, we worked through scenes
"acting them" -- when possible on the auditorium stage (not often
available however).

I still run into former students who remind me of moments during R&J
they remember keenly.

My personal highlight:  The man who now is a local cop and head football
coach when he was in 10th grade loved reading Shakespeare aloud so much
that, when a female got her hand up first and chose to read Romeo in
II,ii, he got his hand up next and picked Juliet.  Not one titter,
giggle, or snicker... Everyone was so engrossed in the text and the
characters that it just flowed onward.  (Note: this was well before
Lurhmann's film and no, I hadn't shown them the Zefferelli).

This class was composed of the sorts of students many think can't "get"
Shakespeare.  Taurine excrement!  Of course they can, if the teacher
cares, knows Shakespeare and pedagogy, and has the luxury of the *time*
to teach the whole play (I spent 6 weeks on it).

Mari Bonomi

PS: In my last several years of teaching the sophomore Honors group, I
used either the New Cambridge or the Arden 3rd ed. b/c those kids wanted
to be stretched.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Mar 2004 23:35:34 -0000
Subject: 15.0727 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0727 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

 >This reminds me of the controversy surrounding the introduction of the
 >Good News Bible...
 >e.g. Psalms 5:9
 >
 >For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is very
 >wickedness; Their throat is an open sepulchre; They flatter with their
 >tongue.
 >
 >Becomes
 >
 >What my enemies say can never be trusted;
 >they only want to destroy;
 >Their words are flattering and smooth,
 >but full of deadly deceit.

I agree that the Good News version is dull and flat, but that doesn't
mean a modern version cannot be both accurate and poetic.  Try the same
passage from the New Jerusalem Bible...

Not a word from their lips can be trusted,
through and through they are destruction,
their throats are wide-open graves,
their tongues seductive.

I think that even beats the KJV for poetry!

Peter Bridgman

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