Seriously!?

In the news… from Mirror.co.uk: History and Shakespeare ‘out of date’ says education union boss

Read it. Discuss.

Today’s Histories

Not long ago in a galaxy not so far away I posted about showing some love to the histories. These days Shakespeare’s Histories seem to be getting a lot of love. The Royal Shakespeare Company is putting up a complete cycle of the Histories.

An article from the UK reminds us that the histories are still relevant today. Perhaps more now than ever. Why?

“…they offer a genuine state-of-the-nation epic, one that examines all aspects of a divided kingdom and shows how dynastic wrangling spreads like a disease.”

Check out the full story here. Also included are short commentaries on each of their histories and their significance today. It’s pretty neat stuff. The Histories really interest me. When first learning about Shakespeare I was under the impression that no one cared about the Histories. They were Shakespeare’s bad and boring plays. Then I saw Richard III. “Oooo… this is cool,” I thought. After that I was hooked. “Wait a minute… these are good!” Oh boy, I was pleasantly surprised.

Romeo And Juliet Go To Hell!

Alan over at his blog, Shakespeare Experience, has recently written a post that would motivate me to give him a virtual hug if I could.

*hug*

That was nice. Anyway, I mentioned in a previous post my opinions about what makes Romeo and Juliet a tragedy. It’s not a happy ending. It’s not about a romantic ideal. These kids die a horrible death. It sucks.

Alan’s post Burn, Baby, BURN! says it a little better so I think you should give it a read and share your thoughts. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Beware The Ides Of March

Oh my goodness… that’s today. AHHHHH!!!!!

The Ides of March (March 15th) is famous as the day that Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. In the Roman calendar every month had an Ides! It was a basically day named to mark the middle of the month. It was the 15th day of the months March, May, July, and October. All the other months had theirs on the 13th.

Today most people only know of the Ides of March, made famous by the story of Julius Caesar as told by William Shakespeare. In the play, Caesar is parading down the street after a victory on the feast of Lupercal. A Soothsayer yells out from the crowd…

SOOTHSAYER. Caesar!
CAESAR. Ha? who calls?
CASCA. Bid every noise be still; peace yet again!
CAESAR. Who is it in the press that calls on me?
                I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
                Cry “Caesar!” Speak, Caesar is turn’d to hear.
SOOTHSAYER. Beware the ides of March.
CAESAR. What man is that?
BRUTUS. A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
CAESAR. Set him before me, let me see his face.
CASSIUS. Fellow, come from the throng, look upon Caesar.
CAESAR. What say’st thou to me now? Speak once again.
SOOTHSAYER. Beware the ides of March.
CAESAR. He is a dreamer, let us leave him. Pass.

- Julius Caesar (I.ii)

Shakespeare Edumacation. Whoops!

I’ve been scouring the news online for anything with Shakespeare in it, lots of fun things show up. I often see articles about schools or groups that are making an effort to make learning Shakespeare a fun experience for students of all ages. Reading these warms my heart!

One that I found made me chuckle. A 13 year old students talks about the experience of acting in one of Shakespeare’s plays:

It is such an interesting thing to do. You get to portray something that you usually aren’t. Plus Shakespeare is an amazing writer. He’s one of the first people who wrote plays and I think everyone, including kids, should know about him.

In the words of our current president, “Is our children learning?” I hope that the teacher corrected the student after seeing the article… Shakespeare was far from the beginning of play-writing.

As long as the kids get the right answers at some point. The important part is that they’re learning Shakespeare and really enjoying themselves!

The kids are putting on Hamlet. I’m sure it’s a heavily cut down show, but do you think that’s a good show for students to act? At first I was a little surprised. Hamlet? Wow… But then I realized that it’s a required text in most schools and being in a production is one of the best ways to really understand the text and enjoy it.

Shakespeare Gets A Second Life

No, Shakespeare’s not alive again. Here’s a riddle: What would Shakespeare say if he rose from the dead?

Brains…

If you’re not familiar with the term, Second Life is basically an online virtual world in which you can have an alternate life. If you’re still confused head over to Wikipedia to learn more about Second Life.

As it turns out, some people have put together a performance of Hamlet in second life. You can see a YouTube video of Act 1, Scene 1 of Hamlet. I read that this video isn’t really how the performance actually looked, but it’ll give you a vague idea of a new way that Shakespeare is being performed.

So what does this mean for Shakespeare in performance? I don’t know… I’m asking you. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts.

I think it’s a cool new way to perform the plays. It kind of goes to show that society needs live performance. Even in a virtual life, people are still motivated to put on and attend theatrical performances of Shakespeare’s work. I think I might sign up for a second life just so I can see what one of these shows is really like.

Stand Up For Shakespeare

Shakespeare is required in many schools all over the world. In the UK it’s compulsory for almost all students. But trouble and Shakespeare in school seem to go hand in hand these days. Not all teachers know that much or even enjoy Shakespeare. How are the students going to get anything out of this kind of education? The Royal Shakespeare Company has an answer.

They’ve created a new program called Stand Up For Shakespeare whose purpose is to improve students experiences when learning about Shakespeare! An article in the Official London Theatre Guide can give you more of the story.

The RSC asks schools to have students get up and speak Shakespeare on their feet, see live performances of the plays, and introduce the subject to kids gently at a younger age before they’ve reached the point of hearing Shakespeare horror stories.

What a great idea! It makes me happy to see this happening and I really hope there is some success with this program. I can only wish the the US would follow suit, but I think it’ll take several more years. Maybe by then I’ll be in a place of power to make it happen! A guy can dream, can’t he?

Coming To A Blog Near You

New to the Bard Blog….

The Shakespeare Blog Carnival

A blog carnival is a central place where blog posts from different blogs are shared. For example, The Carnival of Education.

There are a lot of great Shakespeare blogs out there and I thought that it would be a good idea to create a carnival for Shakespeare. There’s at least one made for everything else already.

Submissions can be made my anybody just by filling out this form. The carnival is hosted here, meaning that I’ll write a post including all the submitted posts that I deem worthy of being shared… which will probably be most, if not all submissions. I’d like to eventually have other blogs take turns hosting it in order to reach the largest audience.

So if you have some favorite posts, please submit them. Feel free to ask any questions you have and I’ll answer. This is a win-win for everyone and a great way to share information between readers and writers of different blogs.