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Shakespeare part 1

Shakespeare

Relieved a class of year 10s today that hate the fact they are learning Romeo and Juliet.

One of the most common reasons why kids don't like Shakespeare is that they simply don't understand it, yet they love watching love stories on Netflix and whatnot.

Well, after lots of conversations about the plot, characters and connecting it to their own life - suddenly they have an interest in it!

Shakespeare's plays have been around and loved for many, many years... and yet again his words fall in the hearts of a bunch of year 10s.

Discussions are so important when teaching. They are what keeps students interested, openminded and confident in their learning. Without them, they feel lost, uncertain and dead set in their beliefs.


Additional thoughts on the 31st of August:


This is why I reckon I enjoyed it so much at school - because I was one of these kinds of women - the underdog, so to speak. I went from shy and unable to voice my opinions to learning how to do it respectfully. It was something I longed for myself

Shakespeare is such a great theatre form to study. The historical contexts, audience interaction, innuendoes, Elizabethan influences (powerhouse women), over exaggeration and typical status components are such great features to discuss and perform. I've always been a fan of audience interaction and using energy well on stage. There's just something magical about making an audience feel involved, while also surprising them or shocking them. Shakespeare was a man that loved magic and mystery too. So not only were there components of magic in the themes, characters and plot lines - there was also magic in the performance features.


Shakespeare a view from a former NCEA student


When I was at high school we looked at Romeo and Juliet in year 9 and then by senior level I chose a Much Ado scene to perform. I still to this day remember the death scene "what's here, a cup closed in my true love's hand" and the "Romeo, Romeo" monologue (considered a monologue without Romeo's inserts). I tend to re-perform my rendition of "Romeo, Romeo" for students. I think it is valuable to show them the level of expectations for Shakespearean performance and also show them a version they can understand and relate to.


In high school, I loved the idea of how "fire breathing" and feisty the females were in his plays. They were either breaking societal expectations or having a rather large opinion about their situations. It was heavily influenced by the way Queen Elizabeth was. Who ever thought a woman could have an opinion and a good one at that too back then? Shakespeare certainly did and promoted it! And Queen Elizabeth was a royal leader as well! She was incredibly courageous in that sense as you must know what happened to royal women. More so, imagine being of the opinion that women should be silenced or perhaps being a women at that time, wishing for a voice and the freedom to do more than just bear children, to suddenly be in the audience of a play and you see all your dreams unravel on the stage. How naughty and exciting! Wouldn't you want to see as many plays as possible? I know I would have. This is why I reckon I enjoyed it so much at school - because I was one of these kinds of women - the underdog, so to speak. I went from shy and unable to voice my opinions to learning how to do it respectfully. It was something I longed for myself and yet it was quite easy to fall into roles such as Olivia from Twelfth Night and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, so maybe I had it in me all along... and they were so much fun to play too!






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