shakespeare

IdleRich

IdleRich
What's a good place to start with this fella?
I thought that I had said this before but I can't find it in this thread so maybe not (if I've said it elsewhere then apologies). But, a few years ago, I saw this performance of Macbeth for a load of primary school students. They had kinda adapted it to be for kids, but really they hadn't changed it that much, just cut or shortened a few scenes (cos probably you can't expect them to sit there for three hours plus). Amazingly they kept the language pretty much as in the original and all those blockbuster soliloquys and lines were there just as Willy had intended and they seemed to land with real effectiveness on the children just as they ought with adults.
They did it with such enthusiasm and over-acting and, yeah, maybe a few little gimmicks (I think that they had a few of them as kinda extras and background stuff who had to shout out catchphrases or whatever in response to certain lines) but the whole group was absolutely caught up in it, watching it with concentration and real excitement right to the end.
Of course the way that they did it had been tweaked by people experienced in the field to make it more exiting and so on, and it was done by a really fucking good group of people. But the point is... well, I 'm not sure exactly what the point is. I think it's either a) Macbeth is one that can be readily grasped and enjoyed by primary kids if it's presented with the right amount of zest and enthusiasm so why not start with that one or b) any of the half-decent ones can be appreciated and enjoyed by primary school kids so just pick one of the ones you've heard of.
Honestly, as a guess, I would say it's most likely b) but if you pick Macbeth then it satisfies the conditions of both a) and b) so it's bound to work, plus for me, it's really one of my favourites - so what have you got to lose?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Also, i remember when I was a kid Mum would say stuff like "Double double toil and trouble" while she was mixing up a cake or whatever and "By the pricking of my thumbs, something evil this way comes" for some reason or other and these lines really fascinated me. Maybe she quoted other plays too but the lines from Macbeth .seemed to leap out at me somehow and stick with me.
 

jenks

thread death
I thought that I had said this before but I can't find it in this thread so maybe not (if I've said it elsewhere then apologies). But, a few years ago, I saw this performance of Macbeth for a load of primary school students. They had kinda adapted it to be for kids, but really they hadn't changed it that much, just cut or shortened a few scenes (cos probably you can't expect them to sit there for three hours plus). Amazingly they kept the language pretty much as in the original and all those blockbuster soliloquys and lines were there just as Willy had intended and they seemed to land with real effectiveness on the children just as they ought with adults.
They did it with such enthusiasm and over-acting and, yeah, maybe a few little gimmicks (I think that they had a few of them as kinda extras and background stuff who had to shout out catchphrases or whatever in response to certain lines) but the whole group was absolutely caught up in it, watching it with concentration and real excitement right to the end.
Of course the way that they did it had been tweaked by people experienced in the field to make it more exiting and so on, and it was done by a really fucking good group of people. But the point is... well, I 'm not sure exactly what the point is. I think it's either a) Macbeth is one that can be readily grasped and enjoyed by primary kids if it's presented with the right amount of zest and enthusiasm so why not start with that one or b) any of the half-decent ones can be appreciated and enjoyed by primary school kids so just pick one of the ones you've heard of.
Honestly, as a guess, I would say it's most likely b) but if you pick Macbeth then it satisfies the conditions of both a) and b) so it's bound to work, plus for me, it's really one of my favourites - so what have you got to lose?
My experience with kids is that they get more than they are given credit for - Shakespeare's audience didn't all read Montaigne, most couldn't read at all. I firmly believe it is the power of the visual metaphor in Shakespeare - he gets us to literally see what they are saying and once this is connected to action (hence my banging on about seeing it rather than just reading it) then it flies. Macbeth is pretty much bomb proof - hence it is regularly a GCSE text.
 

catalog

Well-known member
i quite wanna read hamlet after reading ulysses, i've never read a shakespeare play. another one that was unfortunately ruined for me a bit at school
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I find reading along to Shakespeare plays a good way to approach them. Obviously quality of performance differs (and interpretation too) but it's a quick way to make things more comprehensible from the POV of which character is which etc.

I think beyond the density and obscurity of some of the language what makes Shakespeare a little challenging to read is the extremely minimal stage directions. He never tells you, for example, if a character is saying something "angrily". Sometimes characters will speak in response to some sort of action that hasn't been flagged up.

It's not hard to figure these things out, but you sometimes do have to figure them out. Listening to/watching a performance does some of that work for you.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
My experience with kids is that they get more than they are given credit for - Shakespeare's audience didn't all read Montaigne, most couldn't read at all. I firmly believe it is the power of the visual metaphor in Shakespeare - he gets us to literally see what they are saying and once this is connected to action (hence my banging on about seeing it rather than just reading it) then it flies. Macbeth is pretty much bomb proof - hence it is regularly a GCSE text.
Yeah that's exactly my experience.... right down to doing Macbeth at school in fact.
 
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