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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: January ::
Shakespeare for children? (Second Attempt)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0028  Thursday, 14 January 2010

[1] From:   Robert Projansky <
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     Date:   Monday, 11 Jan 2010 21:33:02 -0800
     Subj:   Re: SHK 21.0016 Shakespeare for children?

[2] From:   Terence Hawkes <
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     Date:   Tuesday, January 12, 2010 7:08 AM
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0577 Shakespeare for children?

[3] From:   John C Zuill <
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     Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jan 2010 13:13:39 +1000
     Subj:   Re: SHK 21.0016 Shakespeare for children?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Robert Projansky <
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Date:       Monday, 11 Jan 2010 21:33:02 -0800
Subject: 21.0016 Shakespeare for children?
Comment:    Re: SHK 21.0016 Shakespeare for children?

I wrote this a month or two ago when the subject line was current, but 
didn't send it, deciding to edit out the jab at Prof. Hawkes. Something 
distracted me and when I finally got around to looking at it again a 
couple of days ago the topic was old stuff, but as I tried to click 
Delete I clumsily hit Send instead. I think the info about Albert Cullum 
is still worthwhile here, but my apologies to T Hawkes.

Bob Projansky

**********
Had he ever seen "A Touch of Greatness", a moving 2005 documentary about 
Albert Cullum, whose fifth grade pupils' curriculum included performing 
Shakespeare, Professor Hawkes would have had to grump  about something 
else.

Albert Cullum taught fifth grade for ten years in Rye, NY, before a 
thirty-year career as a professor of education at Boston University and 
Stonehill College. Some of his Shakespeare efforts included children as 
young as five. He didn't stop at Shakespeare; his kids performed other 
classics too, including Antigone and Saint Joan. Professor Cullum, who 
died in 2003 at 83, was also the author of a number of books on 
children's education, one of which sold more than half a million copies. 
The film includes testimonials from some of his former 10-year-olds.

More about the film and Albert Cullum at:

http://www.rawfoodinfo.com/articles/art_atouchofgreatness.html
and
http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/touchofgreatness/

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Terence Hawkes <
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 >
Date:       Tuesday, January 12, 2010 7:08 AM
Subject: 20.0577 Shakespeare for children?
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0577 Shakespeare for children?

I was delighted to have Robert Projansky's memoir of Professor Cullum. 
His appearance never fails to be arresting:

 > . . . Cullum, dressed as old King Oberon of A Midsummer Night's Dream
 >and draped in a long black cape topped with a crown, runs outdoors
 >through a sparkling wintry forest with a group of children scampering
 >riotously in delight behind him. In a magical rite, Cullum gingerly
 >places marshmallows in the open, eager mouths of his five-year-old
 >students in order to make them as light as fairies. In another segment,
 >Joan of Arc pulls out her sword, leads her army to Orleans and meets
 >her death burning at the stake. . . . As Cullum, who passed away soon 
 >after the film was completed in 2003, says, "Every child should have
 >the chance to play the part of St. Joan before the age of twelve,
 >because the older you get, the more difficult it is to hear the voices
 >of St. Margaret and St. Catherine calling you.

How true, how true. In Britain, of course, one might be asked to explain 
these activities to the authorities.

T. Hawkes

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John C Zuill <
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 >
Date:       Tuesday, 12 Jan 2010 13:13:39 +1000
Subject: 21.0016 Shakespeare for children?
Comment:    Re: SHK 21.0016 Shakespeare for children?

It is vile to promulgate any education that cannot be graded I know. It 
is best to dispense information without any sense of its context or 
instability. I regret I have spent some time distracting children with 
frivolous personal development. When I worked at Shakespeare & Co. I 
directed Shakespeare in a high school under the guidance of Kevin 
Coleman. The more I direct, the more I admire his strategies for getting 
children to do Shakespeare. He had developed great insight and a broadly 
effective and generous strategy. We didn't always agree. He had a group 
of about 12 of us directing in teams directing in a group of high 
schools. We often moved away from his rules, but even there he was 
flexible enough to let the projects blossom. And they did. Much of what 
he did probably can't be learned out of a book, but if he doesn't write 
a book about what can be learned, it will be a great loss.

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