We want kids to love Shakespeare because the stories are timeless, the language is brilliant and the sword fights are to DIE for (cue moans).
Let’s not forget, however, that many of the plays are based on actual historical events. March is a perfect time to break out a copy of Julius Caesar and to run around the house yelling, “Beware the Ides of March!”
Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2
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I was chatting with another mom the other day about telling bedtime stories to kids. Her five-year-old son had asked her to tell him a story about knights with swords. Before she knew it, she found she was telling him the story of Hamlet. She went on to describe the panic she felt when she realized that there was a lot about Hamlet that maybe wasn’t so child-friendly. Infidelity? Check. Insanity? Check. Fighting, poison, murder? Check. Check. Check. So, that raises the question: how appropriate are Shakespeare’s plays for kids, anyway?
If you’ve ever taught our plays, you’ll notice … Continue reading
I recently read an article about two Shakespeare plays, currently on Broadway, being staged the way they would have been in Shakespeare’s day. Minimal sets, all male casts, engagement with the audience, and a heavy emphasis on the language. In fact, the article stressed that back when these plays were first performed, people would often say that they had gone to “hear” a play, not “see” a play, like we do today.
That got me thinking about how far society has come in our exploration and interpretation of these plays. Sets get flashier and costumes get more and more elaborate. Movie versions of the plays incorporate music … Continue reading
We’ve all heard the saying by Charles Caleb Colton: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case, then Shakespeare is the king of compliments. His plays have lived on for over 400 years, but most of the ideas, story lines and characters were not his own, they were imitations of others:
- Romeo and Juliet was an Italian folk tale, passed down through generations until it was put into a poem form by Arthur Brooks. Shakespeare played down the morality a bit, and upped the romance, and boom, created a winner.
- Hamlet was … Continue reading
Whether you’re a teacher trying to inspire a love of Shakespeare in your students, or a parent who wants to get your child excited about literature and history, it can be both enjoyable and educational to take Shakespeare from the stage to the home. It’s one thing to memorize lines, practice dying a valiant death, or fall in love after two seconds (gross!), but making the past relevant to your kids will get them to better understand what they’re reading and performing (and they’ll have fun doing it). Here are some ideas for bringing Shakespeare to life: