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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1514  Wednesday, 14 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	Stuart Manger <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 18:16:23 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

[2] 	From: 	Virginia M. Byrne <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 13:37:54 EDT
	Subj: 	SHK 16.1500  Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

[3] 	From: 	Annalisa Castaldo <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 13:54:21 -0400 (EDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

[4] 	From: 	V. K. Inman <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 19:35:09 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

[5] 	From: 	Bill Arnold <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 20:01:52 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

[6] 	From: 	Amy Ulen <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 20:19:27 -0700
	Subj:  	RE: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stuart Manger <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 18:16:23 +0100
Subject: 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

Biggish cast, lots of decent leads, boys / girls can be fairly equally 
mixed, plenty of excellent knockabout, some tender love stuff, angry 
father, disguise, pomposity ridiculed, audience cleverer than actors and 
on the inside of many of the secrets, crazy fairies, chance for major 
music and high Act V farce. And some exquisite poetry.

I mean, what else do you want?!!!

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Virginia M. Byrne <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 13:37:54 EDT
Subject: 16.1500  Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1500  Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

The romance, the comic accessibility of the rude mechanicals..the 
magic..all make it very delightful to produce with hs students( as ell 
as adults).i directed an all-female production at my all female hs two 
years ago and put the rude mechanicals in Sgt Pepper's uniforms and 
underscored  the show with Beatles music which worked incredibly 
well..think about it....I am presently still trying to work on some 
ideas for music underscore of The Tempest..anybody?

Virginia M. Byrne

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Annalisa Castaldo <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 13:54:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

I believe that MND is attractive to high schools (and colleges) for two 
main reasons. First, it is a romantic comedy, which is much easier to do 
tolerably than tragedy and second, it has an ensemble cast. Unlike 
Taming of the Shrew, or Romeo and Juliet, it does not have two leads who 
get most of the juicy speeches. Not only does this make it easier to 
keep all the drama students happy, it also helps even out the burden on 
the amateur actors.

And one more point--there are a decent number of young/youngish female 
roles, which is not always true of Shakespeare.

Annalisa Castaldo
Assistant Professor of English
Widener University

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		V. K. Inman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 19:35:09 -0400
Subject: 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

Perhaps it is easy to cut and easy to perform.  The play within a play 
is kept in its entirety and kids love it.  The rest of it can be hammed 
up because it is after all a comedy and kids think this means you should 
be funny.

V. K. Inman

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bill Arnold <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 20:01:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

Jodi D. Clark writes, "I am currently working on a project regarding the 
pedagogy of _A Midsummer Night's Dream_ and have run across a fact that 
consistently, this play is one of the most performed plays in high 
schools, ever.  Why is that?  What elements about it lend it to being so 
agreeable to high school productions?"

For the same reason John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in Grease was a 
big hit with the teen set.  See what happens when you type in Grease and 
Midsummer Night's Dream in Google?

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Amy Ulen <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Sep 2005 20:19:27 -0700
Subject: 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools
Comment:  	RE: SHK 16.1500 Midsummer Night's Dream and High Schools

MND lends itself to high school productions because it is full of 
adolescent issues.  What teenager hasn't dealt with a parent "getting 
into his/her business" or being "dumped" for no apparent reason?  What 
teenager hasn't desired to run away from all the "ridiculous adult 
rules" or rebel against parents/authority by breaking rules?  Some teens 
also experiment with the "love juices" of alcohol and drugs.  Any teen 
that has experienced their first love will certainly understand the 
concepts of the course of true love never running smooth and the fools 
we mortals make of ourselves when we are in love.

In addition to the adolescent issues, MND is fun!  It lends itself to a 
wide variety of settings, so set, sound, and costume designers have a 
ball.  It is full of magic and fantasy, which appeals to kids of all 
ages.  And, honestly, the language is highly accessible to kids; it 
doesn't take them long to understand this play.  It also helps that it 
really is funny!

I have taught this play to kids from 8th-12th grades (including 
alternative school), from struggling readers to honors students, and it 
is always a success.  I have also directed the show with both high 
school and middle school students.  It is really easy to down play the 
sexuality with younger kids and focus more on the fairies and mechanicals.

The follow link is to the website my alternative school students started 
when they performed the play in 1995: 
http://www.shakespearehigh.com/library/surfbard/plays/mnd/mnd_guide.html.

Amy Ulen

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http://www.shakespearehigh.com/

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