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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
The Hobart Shakespeareans
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1542  Saturday, 17 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	Dale Lyles <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 10:04:57 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

[2] 	From: 	Richard Burt <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 10:35:03 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

[3] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 12:30:28 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

[4] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 15:54:36 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

[5] 	From: 	Bob Linn <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 20:50:11 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

[6] 	From: 	Patty Winter <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 22:12:43 -0700
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Dale Lyles <
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Date: 		Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 10:04:57 -0400
Subject: 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

I agree with Professor Hawkes that the purpose of the education is to 
give students the tools they need to challenge the status quo. With all 
due respect, however, Terence, the status quo for the children in that 
elementary school is one of dead end poverty. As an elementary educator 
myself, I was envious of Esquith's ability to show these children that 
they were indeed empowered to attend a university where they might 
encounter a mind such as yours, because otherwise they would never dream 
of it. We have to be very careful when we make sociopolitical 
pronouncements on the behalf of others who may not have the 
sociopolitical blessings we cherish.

Having said that, I too was made very uncomfortable by the incredible 
amount of money it must take to run that class. I have no doubt that the 
other teachers despise him! I wondered too how children are chosen to be 
in the class, and what kind of intrigue that arouses at Hobart Elementary.

Still, what he does for them is phenomenal (if a little gooey at times); 
his affection and dedication are unquestionable; and all in all his 
classroom puts the lie to the importance of standardized curriculum and 
testing. And what a powerful experience for the kids! I'm the assistant 
director of Georgia's summer program for gifted high schoolers, and I 
recognized precisely what was happening to the kids as they moved 
through Esquith's class: it was life-altering and empowering.

Dale Lyles
Newnan Crossing Elementary School

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Richard Burt <
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Date: 		Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 10:35:03 -0400
Subject: 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

To buy the DVD (or vhs tape), call 1800 336-1917. The cost is 26.95. The 
order info appeared at the end of the program. odd that it is not on the 
website.

While Terence Hawkes is of course free to attack a documentary he hasn't 
seen, I think his conclusions about the teaching program are debatable. 
In any case, I read the Hobart Shakespeareans documentary in relation to 
a number of other public Shakespeare initiatives in the U.S. that 
include the NEA's Shakespeare in American Communities, Will to Power to 
Youth (also in L.A.), and Colors Straight Up. Laura Bush has been 
pushing Will Power to Youth, partly as a transnational initiative with 
Mexico. Also relevant are the various Shakespeare in prison programs, 
documented in Hank Rogerson's film documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars 
and also the subject of a book of the same title by Jean Troustine. A 
related documentary about Othello in a Brixton prison aired recently in 
the U.K. (This prison performance and related Shakespeare performances 
in 70 other U.K. prisons were directed by Dr Bruce Wall, creator and 
director of London Shakespeare Workout Prison. See 
http://www.insidetime.org/Articles/Nov_Dreamfactory.htm) And a somewhat 
related reality tv kind of documentary entitled "My Shakespeare" aired 
recently in the UK. it involves a black actor returning to Harlesdon, a 
poor, high-crime neighborhood in northwest London, and auditioning and 
rehearsing, with the videoconferenced aid of Baz Luhrmann, local 
immigrants, mostly black, in a production of Romeo and Juliet. What I 
find interesting about these kinds of public Shakespeares (and their 
televisualization on PBS and off) is that they don't fall into 
simplistic oppositions between institutional Shakespeare (read 
conservative) and alternative Shakespeares (read progressive), between 
incarcerated Shakespeare and liberated Shakespeare. If anyone is 
interested in my take on recent public Shakespeares in the U.S. and 
U.K., please see my article "Bands of Brothers" in Ayanna Thompson's 
forthcoming edited collection on Shakespeare and raceblind casting 
(Routledge 2006).

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 12:30:28 -0400
Subject: 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

 >The arrangement whereby each child receives a
 >monthly "paycheck" in a classroom currency, and
 >then pays 'rent' to sit at a desk makes the blood run
 >cold.  This is merely a self-deluding and ultimately
 >corrupting endorsement of the status quo. Isn't the
 >purpose of education to challenge it?

To question its assumptions in a rational and dispassionate discourse, 
surely; but in a mature fashion that cannot be expected in the lower 
forms.  To my mind, the purpose of elementary education is not to 
undermine the foundations of established society but to equip our 
children to live within it, and perhaps someday to re-edify it.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John W. Kennedy <
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Date: 		Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 15:54:36 -0400
Subject: 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

Terence Hawkes <
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 >This is merely a self-deluding and ultimately corrupting
 >endorsement of the status quo. Isn't the purpose of
 >education to challenge it?

No, the purpose of education is to instill the knowledge and reasoning 
ability necessary to consider it, and then to challenge it if need be.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Linn <
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Date: 		Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 20:50:11 -0400
Subject: 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

"The Hobart Shakespeareans" make Terence Hawkes' "flesh creep," and the 
teacher's methods of class control make his "blood run cold."   I wonder 
how seeing a typical American school group studying Shakespeare would 
affect him.  Emergency vehicles would have to stand by.  Actually, I'm 
not sure of what Hawkes' point is.  What would be his approach to 
introducing students, elementary or older, to Shakespeare so as not to 
be self-deluding and corrupting?

Bob Linn

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Patty Winter <
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Date: 		Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 22:12:43 -0700
Subject: 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1528 The Hobart Shakespeareans

    >From: 		Virginia Byrne <
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    >
    >http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2005/hobart/
    >
    >I looked at the website. Where did you see that the DVD was available?

You can click on the Buy Film link at the left-hand side of that page, 
or go directly to the site mentioned:

    http://www.shopthirteen.org

Here's the direct link to the page for the HS DVD:

http://www.shopthirteen.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=36254&storeId=10552&catalogId=10101

What an inspiring program! It's hard to believe that none of these kids 
speak English as their first language. The visits by Michael York and 
Ian McKellen were delightful surprises, too. I'm going to go send notes 
to a bunch of friends recommending that they watch the show if it 
repeats in their area.

Patty

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