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shakespeare

wendyNY 23 Nov 05 - 10:28 AM
Wesley S 23 Nov 05 - 10:40 AM
Wilfried Schaum 23 Nov 05 - 10:41 AM
Amos 23 Nov 05 - 11:21 AM
Lonesome EJ 23 Nov 05 - 12:30 PM
Paul Burke 23 Nov 05 - 12:37 PM
alanabit 23 Nov 05 - 12:49 PM
treewind 23 Nov 05 - 12:54 PM
sian, west wales 23 Nov 05 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Val 23 Nov 05 - 03:38 PM
alanabit 23 Nov 05 - 03:55 PM
Georgiansilver 23 Nov 05 - 03:58 PM
TheBigPinkLad 23 Nov 05 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 23 Nov 05 - 04:46 PM
JennyDeckner 23 Nov 05 - 04:56 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Nov 05 - 05:03 PM
OtherDave 23 Nov 05 - 05:35 PM
Lighter 23 Nov 05 - 05:45 PM
jacqui.c 23 Nov 05 - 11:03 PM
Peace 23 Nov 05 - 11:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 23 Nov 05 - 11:36 PM
Paul Burke 24 Nov 05 - 04:07 AM
sian, west wales 24 Nov 05 - 04:22 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 24 Nov 05 - 07:19 AM
Hopfolk 24 Nov 05 - 07:27 AM
Mooh 24 Nov 05 - 08:47 AM
Peace 24 Nov 05 - 10:59 AM
Ron Davies 24 Nov 05 - 11:01 AM
Peace 24 Nov 05 - 11:03 AM
Ron Davies 24 Nov 05 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Lighter 24 Nov 05 - 11:23 AM
Peace 24 Nov 05 - 02:44 PM
Amos 24 Nov 05 - 03:30 PM
Grab 24 Nov 05 - 06:19 PM
Peace 24 Nov 05 - 06:19 PM
Peace 24 Nov 05 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,Sleepless Dad 24 Nov 05 - 06:52 PM
alanabit 25 Nov 05 - 04:56 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 25 Nov 05 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,robert 25 Nov 05 - 12:07 PM
GUEST 25 Nov 05 - 04:12 PM
kendall 25 Nov 05 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Sleepless Dad 25 Nov 05 - 05:20 PM
BuckMulligan 25 Nov 05 - 06:00 PM
The Fooles Troupe 25 Nov 05 - 08:04 PM
Ron Davies 25 Nov 05 - 10:42 PM
EBarnacle 25 Nov 05 - 10:56 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 25 Nov 05 - 11:23 PM
kendall 26 Nov 05 - 01:10 PM
cryptoanubis 26 Nov 05 - 06:22 PM
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Subject: shakespeare
From: wendyNY
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 10:28 AM

My daughter is learning shakespeare in school right now and its the romeo and Juliet one... I can't believe they are still learning this useless junk in school. when i was back in school in 1977 we learned the same stuff i think its time to forget about the shakespeare stories whos up for it!


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Wesley S
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 10:40 AM

If you have to ask the question you'll never understand the answer.

But yes - I do believe the schools should be teaching the "Romeo and Juliet one"


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 10:41 AM

junk is beautiful


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Amos
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:21 AM

Oh, let's get rid of all our cultural icons and go with comic books and soap operas and "Survivor" and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Otherwise we might have to think too hard about why people are the way they are; we might have to confront issues like good and evil in the world, love and authoritarian control, and why young poeple should think twice before killing themselves.

Let's be contrarian
And turn barbarian
We'll throw the books out in the trash!
We'll be ethereal
Until venereal
Infections start a nasty rash.
Let's live like vultures,
Disown our cultures
And kick those bookworms out on their ears
Mob rule's appealing-o
Let's go with feeling-o
And turn the clock back several hundred years!

....

A


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:30 PM

And nothing can we call our own but death

And that small model of the barren earth

Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.

For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground

And tell sad stories of the death of kings.

          King Richard II. Act iii. Sc. 2.

What truths do such words hold for a world where dignity is valued less than attitude, where beauty is held trivial to sensuality? I agree. It's high time these archaic works were banished from school. Shakespeare has much he would teach us, but it is just possible we have lost the capacity to learn.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Paul Burke
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:37 PM

Shakespeare's good, but the way it's often done in schools, you'd think he was the ONLY playwright. When the Boy was doing mcB, when he got bored I introduced him to Aristophanes' Lysistrata which he found a bit more amusing. Shakespeare should be done as drama, not as hagiography.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: alanabit
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:49 PM

You are right Paul. It can be bloody funny too. Parts of Richard III can be hilarious if they are done well.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: treewind
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 12:54 PM

Please don't feed the trolls.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: sian, west wales
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 01:00 PM

Dear me. I never thought good ol' Port Colborne High School was up to much but I could well be wrong.

We did a Shakespeare in English every year but we also did Eugene O'Neil, Tennessee Williams, Bernard Shaw and a host of others and there was a school trip to Stratford (Ontario) annually as well. We also read them aloud, and a few of us even staged them (many of us ended up in drama school and creative industry careers). And then there were all the great fiction we did: Catcher in the Rye, Who Has Seen the Wind, Oliver Twist, Sunshine Sketches, ... God bless PCHS and all who sailed/sail in her!

Here's an idea: keep the great texts, ditch the bad teachers.

siân


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 03:38 PM

Fear not! The Bard and other fine literature are being adapted to a form far more suitable to the upcoming generation - the abbreviated communication used in Text Messaging. See this report from CNN

as an aside, this happens to touch on one of my favorite soapbox-issues: communication shapes cognition, so we are training a culture whose thoughts are all rapid response, abbreviated verbiage, and emotions that can be expressed by punctuation marks rather than people who can think in complete SENTANCES, much less in-depth paragraphs.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: alanabit
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 03:55 PM

SENTANCES?


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 03:58 PM

Learning is learning however you view it. I believe Shaskespeare has a quantity of learning in the pages of its volumes....I learnt from it...didn't you?
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 04:21 PM

To thine own self be true.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 04:46 PM

There's a remedy. Stop regarding Shakespeare as an icon. Take under advisement the thought that Will the S may not be the Greatest Playwright in the History of the World. Maybe not even in the ten best.

It's refreshing to think of him that way. Just a guy that writes plays. Just another working stiff, putting words on a page. A colleague of, say, Harold Pinter and Sam Beckett who just happens to talk a weird four-centuries-old dialect.

But who, if listened to carefully, can surprise you with a lance of light into your brain.

Does wonders for me. I tackle Shakespeare from a cockeyed angle, and, given his terms of looking at the world, find him (or her -- who knows, maybe Anne Hathaway wrote the plays :) -- fresh as this morning's daisy...freed from all that Literary Worship that only gets in the way.

But then on the other hand, I'm nuts.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: JennyDeckner
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 04:56 PM

"Here's an idea: keep the great texts, ditch the bad teachers."

Amen, Sian!

I think it's vital that young people are encouraged to learn Shakespeare not only because his plays are beautiful, classic literature but because his stories are still such a huge part of cultural venacular. Shakespeare's tales are like bible stories; knowledge of these text is vital to appreciation of so many other works. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Shakespeare is rarely taught well on the high school level. In fact, little is taught well on the high school level in my community. When Shakespeare is being taught by passionless teachers who are barely familiar with the text themselves and teach it only out of obligation, can the students be expected to find any enjoyment or beauty in them? When certain nuances are beaten like a dead horse and others completely ignored? I was taught Macbeth when I was a junior in high school. Toward the end of the unit, after I failed the exam, I discovered that my teacher hadn't actually read the damn thing in thirty years and had based her curriculum solely around Roman Polanski's film adaptation.

Wendy, please ask your daughter what other authors she's been taught in school. Hopefully, she'll provide you with a nutritious balance of authors from all eras and corners of the world.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 05:03 PM

nah! ditch the crap kids, keep the teachers, throw out the kentucky fried shakespeare, keep the arguments of insidious intent, if you go down the pizza hut, I'll have extra cheese......


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: OtherDave
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 05:35 PM

A lot of people argue that the plays were not written by William Shakespeare, but by another person with the same name...


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 05:45 PM

Shakespeare seems like "junk" to people because our schools don't impart the reading skills needed to understand what's on the page.

They sure didn't when I was in junior high.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: jacqui.c
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:03 PM

I've generally found that I leave a performance of a Shakespeare play thinking about the attitudes and behaviours of the characters.

IMHO the guy was an amazing student of human nature and his plays can be as relevant today as they were when first performed.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Peace
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:24 PM

"My daughter is learning shakespeare in school right now and its the romeo and Juliet one... I can't believe they are still learning this useless junk in school. when i was back in school in 1977 we learned the same stuff i think its time to forget about the shakespeare stories whos up for it!"

Truthfully, I think the daughter wrote this.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:36 PM

Bored with MacBeth? Not enough blood and guts, perhaps? Have him try Titus Andronicus.

Sure the mother could have written the remark. It takes a dense parent to raise a dense child.

SRS


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Paul Burke
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 04:07 AM

Ah well, to justify this being above the line:

When the Girl was 14 she decided to teach herself to play the piano. She'd tried violin when she was 10, and it was disastrous, she was worse after a year's teaching than when she started. Not a positive experience. Anyway, after that we didn't push it until she decided for herself.

One finger picking out tunes developed gradually into more adventurous stuff, eventually after a few months both hands playing. Then one evening, I was just outside the door of the room with the piano, when I heard this most remarkable noise. The Girl SINGING!

I'd left a booklet of 17th century ballads, with simple accompaniments included, by the piano. She'd picked this up, looking for something new to try, found "Fortune My Foe" easy and satisfying enough, and was carolling away at the ballad set to it: "The Tragickall History of Titus Andronicus", all 34 verses of human depravity.

She took up rock and bass guitar not long after.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: sian, west wales
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 04:22 AM

It's interesting that this has come up when it has, as we currently have the BBC's Shakespeare series on air ... and it's superb! The Twelfth Night was choc-a-bloc with singing. Can't wait for Midsummer's Night Dream.

At least part of this package is bound to show up on North American PBS or similar. Keep an eye out for it.

As an aside, I know someone who is on a local board in upstate NY which has just voted to close the library because they see it as an unnecessary expense. One despairs.

siân


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 07:19 AM

"Shakespeare should be done as drama, not as hagiography." Amen to that! My daughter is benefiting from just such a high school course right now. They block the scenes, discuss motivation, research the history, get inside the characters- exactly as if they were going to produce the plays. And in fact, they are required to perform one scene or snippet of choice at the annual "One Acts" performance in January. My kid is going to be Viola: "Make me a willow cabin at your door..."

Shakespeare may not be the only playwrite, but he was a master of the language and of an understanding of human nature.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Hopfolk
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 07:27 AM

I had to read that bloody awful "Catcher In The Rye" nonsense so I see no reason why American kids shouldn't have to read the Bard.

CamoJohn


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Mooh
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 08:47 AM

What, and "shake all cares and business from our age...while we unburdened crawl toward death."? Or "that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains, that we should with joy, pleasance, revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!"?

And replace it with what, rap?

Why get an education at all?

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Peace
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 10:59 AM

King Lear. It was one of the scenes that were cut.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 11:01 AM

Yup, no doubt about it--- instead of Shakespeare they should teach something kids can actually use--like the Complete Works of 50 Cent.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Peace
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 11:03 AM

Yeah. Let's stop Shakespeare, Chaucer, Spenser--hell, let's just stop teaching anything that's difficult. Dumb it all down. Let's teach the kids that everything in life is easy to understand, and if at first ya don't 'get it', screw it, because it couldn't have meant anything important anyway. Sounds like a plan. I bet the person who started this thread votes for 'guess who', and I don't mean the old rock group.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 11:15 AM

You can also, I believe, get a general idea of the education the originator of this thread had, by reading her (?) post. Another towering intellect--or possibly a troll.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 11:23 AM

Troll or not, her view is not uncommon.

There's now a paperback series called "No Fear Shakespeare" that prints the original text opposite a bland but surprisingly accurate modern paraphrase.

This is the place for open-minded Bardophobics to start.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Peace
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 02:44 PM

The student statement that bugs me more than any other: "I don't get it".

My usual response are words to the effect that the author is writing in English and s/he is not intentionally hiding anything. Somewhere along the line we have taught kids (and judging by the posts, one or two adults) that lyrics will jump off the page of their own volition and say, THIS IS WHAT I MEAN. Shakespeare wrote in Modern English. Heck, even the Middle English of Chaucer is fairly simple. I could understand if the text was in Old English. However, on occasion when I have read The Lord's Prayer to students, they have basically understood.

"Fder ure u e eart on heofonum; Si in nama gehalgod to becume in rice gewure in willa on eoran swa swa on heofonum. urne gedghwamlican hlaf syle us todg and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfa urum gyltendum and ne geld u us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele solice."

or

The Lord's Prayer in Old English
Matthew 6:9-13.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fder ure u e eart on heofonum; [59k] Father our thou that art in heavens
Si in nama gehalgod [44k] be thy name hallowed
to becume in rice [37k] come thy kingdom
gewure in willa [43k] be-done thy will
on eoran swa swa on heofonum. [53k] on earth as in heavens
urne gedghwamlican hlaf syle us todg [68k] our daily bread give us today
and forgyf us ure gyltas [55k] and forgive us our sins
swa swa we forgyfa urum gyltendum [65k] as we forgive those-who-have-sinned-against-us
and ne geld u us on costnunge [57k] and not lead thou us into temptation
ac alys us of yfele solice [69k] but deliver us from evil. truly.

Let's stop making EVERYTHING easy.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Amos
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 03:30 PM

The intellect fails and erodes when not put to use. Why would anyone want to teach that way? I'm witchoo, Peace. Make them work for an understanding. Otherwise, they won't have a leg to stand on, and will be footless. And hence, without understanding.

A


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Grab
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 06:19 PM

Just read a book by a guy called Gervase Phinn, who's a schools inspector in Yorkshire (N England). Kind of James Herriot in schools. Anyway, one story is that he goes into a classroom to find two kids out the front of class slagging each other off and drawing knives. He jumps in to stop them, and then finds it's practise for staging R & J. :-)

R&J generally ain't one of his best, I have to say. It's wonderful until about 3/4 through, then he pulls that crappy "let's-make-it-a-tragedy" bit out of his arse which lets down everything that went before it. For a better one, try King Lear or Macbeth. The BBC did "Macbeth on the Estate" about 10 years back, set in a criminal-run English tower block estate and using many people who'd never acted before, and it was phenomenal.

But most of the comedies don't work today. They're too based on wordplay, and we simply don't speak the same language today. For all that Peace says he was writing in English, he wasn't writing in any form of English that's familiar to us today. Imagine trying to perform The Importance of Being Earnest to an audience that doesn't know what trains, stations, handbags or prams are... Plus too many of Shakespeare's plot devices (mistaken identity for one) look stale and boring today (they weren't even original in Shakespeare's time), and frankly modern audiences have come to expect better plotlines than most of the comedies have to offer. If we see Shakespeare as just another playwright, then these are the equivalent of him doing hack work for a sitcom to make a few quid. The only comedies that really work are the ones with a somewhat stronger plot - so Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night, for examples.

Oh, and if people really want to attract kids to Shakespeare, then leave the rude bits in!

Graham.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Peace
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 06:19 PM

Right now, I have two Grade 8 students who have memorized Act 2, Scene 2 from Romeo and Juliet (more commonly called the balcony scene. They do it well, Another has memorized "To be or not to be" from Hamlet. Another the "Is this a dagger I see before me" from Macbeth. Another--Mark Antony speaking to the body of Caesar. Another the "Friends, Romans, Countrymen . . .". Another has committed "Give me liberty or give me death" by Patrick Henry to memory (all 1200 words of it, and after she presents it one feels like fighting the British). Another will be doing "The Gettysburg Address", another--well, you get the idea.

I will not under any circumstance sell kids or their abilities to the lowest bidder (which is usually the old cop out: Gee, I can't do THAT! or Gee, that's too hard for a thirteen-year-old). I got a hot flash. NO, it ain't!

Some students will have to do things that are somewhat easier, but they WILL do it and be proud of themselves for doing so.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Peace
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 06:25 PM

PS

I did not learn to spell using spellcheck. Neither will my students.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: GUEST,Sleepless Dad
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 06:52 PM

Yeah - Romeo and Juliet is just too darn tough. Try watching "West Side Story" instead.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: alanabit
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 04:56 AM

Telling kids that everything they should do has to be easy, is only really a euphemism for telling them that they are second rate. I will remove my children from that sort of teaching if they are ever exposed to it.
Good on you Peace.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 08:31 AM

Hmm Romeo and Juliet: Underage sex, Inter-group rivalry, Anti-social behaviour with brawling and murder in the streets, Connivance and duplicity by a person in authority, Tragic consequences of imperfect communication, love joining two people across a cultural divide...

nope nothing much to do with the modern day :-(

Shakespeare is for performing and the best way to learn and understand is to perform it.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: GUEST,robert
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 12:07 PM

I am definitly with the make kids work to understand Shakespeare camp. I had a rather good Shakespeare experiance in highschool, and did not find it too difficult to understand (even the comedies), though I do have to read them, and can't just watch them and pick up on everything. However I was observing a highschool english class once for teaching class I was taking in college, and saw something that made me sick. The class was "studying" MacBeth, by listening to a tape of people "reading" the text without any real emotion. Then I think they were told to read a coulpe of scenes themselves, and the watched some of a televised version of it. I saw one or two kids fall asleep, and several more complain of how boring it was. The scariest thing was that I sympathized with them. I was angry and saddend after leaving that class. But the bard will live on. With or without the schools help.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 04:12 PM

I'm currently studying Twelfth Night at school and absolutely love it. My english teacher is fantastic but I don't understand how anyone who can read cannot appreciate Shakespeares work.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: kendall
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 05:02 PM

It's useless to play the violin in front of an ox.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: GUEST,Sleepless Dad
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 05:20 PM

Kendall - I disagree - at least the violinist gets in some practice.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 06:00 PM

They may not get it. It may be hard. It may be confusing. They may have to actually work, mentally. But if they do, then it won't be too hard for them, they will get it, and they won't be confused by it. Self esteem is earned by achievement.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 08:04 PM

Without knowledge by the audience of Shakespeare, Wayne & Shuster's 'Rinse The Blood Off My Toga' would be hard at it to raise a laugh.


What are you doing here?

I'm Mark Antony. I just gave a spech over the dead body of Cease. I said "Friends, Romans Countrymen, lend me your ears..."

What you got in the bag?

Ears!!!!




There was a TV kids program called 'Biker Mice' which a certain young teenager was very keen on. She wasn't at all interested in "Literature", so when we laughed and told here that the show was a ripoff of 'Hamlet', she was astonished. So we got here to watch several tapes of various versions of Hamlet. She started writing creative fiction.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 10:42 PM

The authorship question (Otherdave 23 Nov 5:35 PM)--(Stratford, Oxford or ?) is a separate topic--and there's already a thread on it.    The plays were written by a genius (or more than one) who has enriched the language beyond belief.

50 Cent is not quite there yet.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: EBarnacle
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 10:56 PM

Saw the Central Park (NY) production of "Two Gentlemen of Verona" with Lady Hillary 2x this Summer. Totally applicable to the current political situation. Enjoyed it both times.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 11:23 PM

Shakespeare was about 46 years old when the "King James" Bible was presented...

If you look at Psalm 46, the 46th word is shake, and the 46th word from the end...

...is spear.

Will wonders never cease?
ttr


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: kendall
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 01:10 PM

I can't speak for the rest of the world, but from what I've seen, the dumbing down of America has gone far enough.


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Subject: RE: shakespeare
From: cryptoanubis
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 06:22 PM

The hardest knife ill-used doth lose his edge
                                             sonnet 95


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