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Much Ado About Nothing

Discussion in 'English' started by peterbarry46, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. peterbarry46

    peterbarry46 New commenter

    Hi everyone
    I'm teaching this unit to my year 9s and wondered what angle I should try to approach it from. It has been suggested to look at Beatrice as an unconventional Elizabethan woman, but I was wondering whether anyone had any better 'takes' on it? Would be very grateful for your ideas. Thank you
  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    Rap battles.

    Get them to see the main scenes when B&B are hurling insults at each other as rap battles. Then get students to write their own Shakespearian insults and call backs, and end with them acting them out.

    Great fun.
    peterbarry46 and blueskydreaming like this.
  3. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    The usual angle is a feminist one - looking at Beatrice, as you say, but also the treatment of Hero - her silence throughout the play, the way she is considered a 'rotten orange' and better off dead by both her lover and her father when she is accused of adultery - how Claudio is quite happy to replace her with her 'cousin' after he thinks she's died, etc, etc. I look at gender and power, gender norms and expectations and how Shakespeare subverts these, the genre of comedy - a mish mash really, but a good 'in' is looking at gender and you can go from there. We always do our own masked ball, creating masks for each of the characters to represent their personalities, put Claudio and Leonato and Don John on trial for Hero's 'murder', do a twitter feed of Beatrice and Benedick, etc, and have plenty of debates and drama based activities. Have a look at Mumford and Sons' song 'Sigh no More' - it's based on Much Ado, with many of the lyrics being lines from the play, and it can be a fun starting point, getting the kids to draw out the main themes of the play from the lyrics, while also showing that Shakespeare is still very much culturally relevant! It's a great play to have fun with, especially in the summer term. The Kenneth Branagh film is great but there's also a more modern one by Joss Whedon which is worth watching too, though kids seem to prefer the Branagh in my experience, despite the cheese of it!
  4. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    rachelsays - brilliant ideas that dig deep into the important concepts of the play, and including engaging experiences without dumbing it down.

    Also, don't forget the Flocabulary rap - my favourite Shakespeare one!
    rachelsays likes this.
  5. peterbarry46

    peterbarry46 New commenter

    Many thanks - your ideas are great. I've shown the Joss Whedon which in my view is infinitely better than the cleavage romp of Branagh's, but you're right - the kids prefer the colour!
    rachelsays likes this.
  6. peterbarry46

    peterbarry46 New commenter

    Thank you. Lovely idea.

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