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Children and Shakespeare

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0005  Friday, 4 January 2013

 

[1] From:        Sue Marrone < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 2, 2013 11:35:13 AM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Children and Shakespeare 

 

[2] From:        Reg Grouse < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 3, 2013 5:35:23 AM EST

     Subject:     Children and Shakespeare 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Sue Marrone < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 2, 2013 11:35:13 AM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Children and Shakespeare

 

As many of you have had the experience of introducing Shakespeare to young students, I would like to share with you two quick anecdotes. I had the pleasure of producing an education Shakespeare touring group, where we performed a truncated version of DREAM. The 4th grade classes were given a written questionnaire afterwards. 

 

Here are two of questions: “What would you have changed in the play?”  Several answered: “They should have asked their mother.”

 

“What did you like about the play?”  Now many liked the “fight” and other visuals, but to my happy surprise, many wrote down they liked having multiple story lines.

 

If properly presented, Shakespeare is for the masses, including children.

 

Sue Marrone

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Reg Grouse < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 3, 2013 5:35:23 AM EST

Subject:     Children and Shakespeare

 

Paul Barry’s claim that ‘Kids love music, and poetry is music’ is undeniably incorrect. I presumed that Paul Barry was referring to the fact that certain qualities in poetry are similar to qualities in music. He might have mentioned that there are similar qualities in all Fine Art.* I presume it was the aesthetic qualities that he meant and perhaps it is so that children react more readily to aesthetic or emotional impulses than to the intellectual. As we gain experience in language we tend to overlook our emotional responses because we have no language to describe them. Seldom does an art historian try to describe why he likes a painting or a sculpture. He describes the history of the work, something about the artist, what has come before and after, something about the subject; all of which could apply to a work of no value aesthetically. The same applies to poetry and music criticism.

 

When critics do mention emotional reactions it is usually in metaphoric terms. 

 

Even Shakespeare, with his unique command of language, resorts to metaphor to describe his fascination for the young man: ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’, Jaques talking about the lover ‘with a woeful ballad/ Made to his mistress’ eyebrow;’ and King Henry V to the French Katharine: ‘I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say, “I love you” then if you urge me farther to say, “Do you in faith?” I wear out my suit. Give me your answer; i’ faith, do: and so clap hands on a bargain. How say you, lady?’ This inability to express our emotions in words leads us to think that our emotions are unimportant, but instinct tells us that our emotions are the very life force of existence. It is not surprising then that young children feel things emotionally before they reason intellectually. That is, before they have been conditioned by learning to understand intellectual concepts. 

 

Cheers,

Reg Grouse

 

* The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines Fine Arts: creative art, especially visual art whose products are to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic or intellectual content.

 

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