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Anybody ever taught a play by Mr Shakeapear that wasn't dismissed by 75% of the class as 'really borring'?

Discussion in 'English' started by Vivmillion, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Vivmillion

    Vivmillion New commenter

    I have a problem looming next year; my year 11s will be doing shakespear for the AQA lit and I'm struggling with which Shakespear play to go for. They are being schooled at an FE college, we inherited them from a school that has been closed and they have already done Romeo & Juliet, The Tempest, Macbeth and Midsummer Night's dream.
    It needs to be accessible as they don't all come from backgrounds that are very education orientated. Also, I would like something that has lots of resources already out there so i don't have to start completely from scratch.
    If anyone has any ideas I'd be most grateful.
    Thanks
     
  2. Vivmillion

    Vivmillion New commenter

    I have a problem looming next year; my year 11s will be doing shakespear for the AQA lit and I'm struggling with which Shakespear play to go for. They are being schooled at an FE college, we inherited them from a school that has been closed and they have already done Romeo & Juliet, The Tempest, Macbeth and Midsummer Night's dream.
    It needs to be accessible as they don't all come from backgrounds that are very education orientated. Also, I would like something that has lots of resources already out there so i don't have to start completely from scratch.
    If anyone has any ideas I'd be most grateful.
    Thanks
     
  3. Do you have the luxury of letting them choose from a selection? We did that at GCSE. As You Like It could be a good one, or Twelfth Night- good, accessible comedies which could be pitched at a range of levels
     
  4. I did Twelfth Night with my rather annoying year 11 group and they loved it. What's more, it showed in their controlled assessments, which were way better than I expected. Decent video adaptation too.
     
  5. Vivmillion

    Vivmillion New commenter

    As far as it stands at the moment; yes ,I havethe luxury of being able to choose. Although it is a double edged sword! We could get it very wrong! A comedy sounds like a good idea. There are a few students who would love the chance to do a bit of comic acting. We have are a some non-readers who would still be able to get involved with support. I'll have a look at those two
    Thanks Alliandra
     
  6. Vivmillion

    Vivmillion New commenter

    Video adaptation- sounds good. Where did you get it from?
    Another question while I'm here- I need to compare 2 plays is it easier to compare Shakespeare with Shakespeare or can anyone recommend another idea using something more contemporary?
     
  7. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    Lenny Henry on Shakespeare on ITV the other night was very good. It should be on ITV player and would be a good intro for the less keen. I'm certainly going to use it at the start of term.
     
  8. fishtail

    fishtail New commenter

    Much Ado is great, teenagers often really like the premise of someone being attracted to someone else because they are told that the someone else admires them, and it's a fairly straightforward plot. Also the Branagh adaption is cunningly cut and bears re-watching--my students have always enjoyed it when we've done that. You could pair it with the Taming of the Shrew, which is basically a very similar plot, or with As You Like It which also has paired heroines ((and the cross-dressing in AYLI is fun and allows you to get in the context of boy actors playing girls playing boys playing girls...)

    If you're having to do two plays, though, why not make one of them one that they've already done,. so the focus is on comparison? I've found that doing two Shakespeares is easier than you might think, as all the background stuff is the same..and top tip--put the subtitles on; it really helps them track key quotations. If you pair Much Ado with R&J, you could point out that Much Ado is one step off a tragedy, and R&J one step away from a happy ending...

    The BBC Shakespeare retold version is also v easy to get hold of (two squabbling TV anchors) and on DVD
     
  9. anteater

    anteater New commenter

    Have also had very good responses to this play for all the reasons fishtail gives, plus the fact that most of the kids really respond to the ding-dong between Beatrice and Benedick and can see how "modern" Beatrice seems to be compared with other female characters in, say, R and J.
    And this is almost exactly what I have done. I'm not liking the titles for the 2013 entry, though (which is the cohort the OP is talking about, I'm assuming). It was easy to do Much Ado and R and J for the current cohort, as there was a title that lent itself to the difficulties of love, but the titles we've got now don't make it so easy to shoehorn these plays into - probably have to be the one about "strong feelings".
     
  10. Vivmillion

    Vivmillion New commenter

    Thanks for all the ideas. I will go away and plot with my fellow teachers! I think that Iwill use R&J as the comparison. Some of them enjoyed it and I think most will retain the basics until September (She says hopefully!) Ta very much everyone
     
  11. Don't groan, but my year 11s loved "Richard III" .
     
  12. This video adaptation.
     
  13. 'Hamlet' is very popular and the David Tennant version is great.
     
  14. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    I loathed it.
     
  15. fishtail

    fishtail New commenter

    Hamlet is great, indeed it is--but far too tricky for year 11s who don't have much existing affection for the bard, I would think! especially if you need to do a comparison...
     
  16. I know it's a little off the wall but could you compare Pyramus and Thisbe (from midsummer nights dream) with Romeo and Juliet - they are essentially the same but one is a comedy and one a tragedy - its not a whole play though so don't know if the exam board would like it. P & T has gone down well when I have taught it before as it allows for the kids to be silly and the language is easier than in some of the other Shakespeare's.
    I would avoid hamlet like the plague - it is the only thing my top setters haven't enjoyed / most hated it!
    I like much ado but someone a lot more senior than me has said that kids tend to struggle with it. Same with twelfth night - she said you spent most of the time telling the kids which bits were funny and why (although I don't recall struggling too much when I did it in yr8 myself!)
    Witches in Macbeth versus fairies in Midsummer Nights Dream might also be quite an interesting one - how they manipulate the other characters using magic
     
  17. Tru' dat. Shakespeare got inspiration for R&J from various sources, including Pyramus and Thisbe from Ovid's Metamorphoses.

    I like doing R&J with a good GCSE class (such as my current year 10s), and getting them to compare bits to The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke (1562). The moment when they realise that Brooke's poem is a bit sh*t, and that Shakespeare really did have quite a way with words is pretty cool.
     

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