Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great Questions

We performed "Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World" today at an elementary/middle school. It's a 45 minute piece that Kevin wrote which mixes facts about Shakespeare's plays along scenes, monologues, historical information, and goofiness. Think of it as a lecture/demonstration, but irreverent.

Anyway, before the show, I was talking to some 4th graders in the front row. A little redheaded boy asked me "What? is this Brittney Speares?" I could not understand his question. He repeated it "What is this? Brittney Speares?" "What are you talking about?" I answered/ (I should never be allowed to teach 10 year olds.) The kid next to him elbowed him sharply. "Dude, it's SHAKESPEARE."

So easy to get those two confused.

After the performance, we had our usual round of question-and-answer, which yielded some of the best questions we've ever had, namely:

1. "Is that stick real?"
We use a tall, twisted walking stick for Prospero's staff. Later we wondered whether the kid wanted to know if a) it were a real magic staff, or b) was it really made of wood. --and in the case of "b" what is wrong with kids today?

2. "Are you really actors?"
Well, let's look at the evidence, kid: we came to your school, performed a play, and drank a lot of bottled water. What more proof do you need?

3. "Did you two really kiss?"
This is actually one of the questions that we get asked every time, but today when I said "yes" the girl asking the question looked at me in horror and said "that is disgusting of you!!!" Perhaps, but I think it's a bold move for someone who carries a Jonas Brothers Trapper Keeper to be sitting in judgment of what is or is not disgusting.

And so it goes.

Hoping you are all well and encountering life's many joys with good humor and fortitude!



At 11:41 AM, Blogger kv said...

this made me laugh out loud (as my kids are taking a state exam). thanks as always for sharing :)

please tell me "shakespeare and the language that shaped a world" is on video, youtube, etc?

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Meg said...

Fortunately for me, it's not on You Tube, so my students can't mock me for it. Wish you were close enough to catch it in person!

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Emily said...

oh goodness... one must love the little ones.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Eric said...

I read this post and just imagined gearing Shakespeare toward 4th graders--it must have been awesome. It sounds like it would have been a G version of Reduced Shakespeare Company.

On my blog (So it Glows and Beeps: A Teacher Takes a Look) I wrote about Hamlet's tablet device in the ghost scene based on what I heard in an NPR interview called "Hamlet's Blackberry." Writing about it gave me an idea:

What if students used something like the RAFT model of writing where they pretend to be certain characters, and each item of writing students make will be 144 characters or less--a la Twitter? Have you heard of something like this or tried it yourself? I'm really excited about it.

At 3:16 AM, Blogger The Shakespeare Forum said...

Not a lot of difference when fielding questions from University students or even adults!

Tyler Moss
Artistic Director,
The Shakespeare Forum


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