Category Archives: Shakespeare

HOW TO MEMORIZE SHAKESPEARE ·

(Malia Wollan’s article appeared 11/22 in The New York Times; via Pam Green.)

 “Get up on your feet, and speak the words aloud,” says Jacqui O’Hanlon, the director of education at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Shakespeare wrote these lines some 400 years ago; the worst way to learn them is sitting down and reading them in your head. Start with a few image-rich lines from, say, “Henry V.” Young people should consider choosing something from star-crossed lovers, as when Juliet says, “Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-browed night, give me my Romeo.”

It helps to read through a synopsis of the play first to know the basic plot. Get a partner to whisper the lines while you repeat. With professional actors and students alike, the Royal Shakespeare Company begins with something they call “imaging the text”: Act out the images. It will feel silly, but making a window with your limbs or galloping like a horse embeds the lines in your mind. Listen for the playwright’s beat. Shakespeare mostly composed in iambic pentameter, a rhythm in which unstressed syllables are followed by stressed ones; O’Hanlon describes it as “the rhythm of your heart.”

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/22/magazine/how-to-memorize-shakespeare.html

SHAKESPEARE AND WAR: STEPHAN WOLFERT ·

(from the Folger Shakespeare Library; via Pam Green.)

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 81

In his one-man show Cry Havoc! actor Stephan Wolfert, a US Army veteran, draws together lines in Shakespeare’s plays spoken by soldiers and former soldiers—including MacbethOthello, and Richard III.

He puts those words to the task of explaining the toll that soldiering and war can take on the psyches of the men and women who volunteer for military duty. Wolfert also runs free weekly veterans-only acting classes aimed at helping them readjust to life as civilians.

He is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published September 5, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, To the Battle Came He, was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Beth Emelson, Associate Artistic Producer of Folger Theatre; Eric Tucker, Artistic Director of Bedlam; Melissa Kuypers at NPR-West in Culver City, California; and from Ray Cruz at Hawaii Public Radio.

For more information on Cry Havoc!, or to find one of the acting classes Wolfert offers for veterans, visit decruit.org.

(Read more)

https://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/war-stephan-wolfert

Photo: Berkshire On Stage

 

CAN YOU MATCH THE FAMOUS SHAKESPEARE LINE TO ITS PLAY? ·

(Annette’s quiz appeared in How Stuff Works; via Pam Green.)  

All the world is a quiz, and the wrong answers are merely failures. In this quiz, we’ll test your knowledge of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes. Can you match each of them to the right play?

  1. “To be, or not to be: that is the question.”

King Lear

Macbeth

Hamlet

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http://quizzes.howstuffworks.com/quiz/can-you-match-the-famous-shakespeare-line-its-play?acct=act_10153036824292945&utm_medium=paid&utm_source=facebook&asid=6094320928364&adid=6094320930564&mkcpgn=e3016e6add0a4261be838bf067e725f7&sg_uid=e3016e6add0a4261be838bf067e725f7

THE SECRET GRAVE OF SHAKESPEARE: SCHOLAR CLAIMS HE CRACKED A CODE THAT REVEALS THE BARD IS BURIED BENEATH POET’S CORNER IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY ·

(Liz Dunphy’s article appeared in Mail Online,  10/27.)

  • Alexander Waugh says the poet is buried at Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey
  • This contradicts the view that he lies at Holy Trinity church, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • He said he discovered the new theory after decoding encryptions in the title and dedication pages of Aspley’s edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets of 1609

A new theory has emerged about the final resting place to William Shakespeare

A scholar claims he has cracked a secret code which unearths the real resting place of Britain’s best known bard, William Shakespeare.

Alexander Waugh says that the literary luminary is actually buried beneath Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey – not the Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon as previously thought.

The writer, who is grandson of novelist Evelyn Waugh, said that he discovered the new theory after decoding encryptions in the title and dedication pages of Aspley’s edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets of 1609.

He is due to present his research at a conference tomorrow at the Globe Theatre in London, which is a reconstruction of an Elizabethan playhouse.

 
(Read more)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5025977/Scholar-claims-Shakepeare-buried-Westminster-Abbey.html

Photo: Javen Tanner

YALE ‘DECOLONIZES’ ENGLISH DEPT. AFTER COMPLAINTS STUDYING WHITE AUTHORS ‘ACTIVELY HARMS’ STUDENTS ·

(Aryssa Damron’s article appeared in the Yale University College Fix, 10/27; via the Drudge Report.)

English majors no longer required to take class focused on Chaucer, Shakespeare

A year and a half after a petition circulated calling for Yale to “decolonize the English department,” the first students are enrolled in a new course created by the department to increase the breadth of the curriculum and combat claims of departmental racism.

What’s more, new requirements are in place to ensure a more “diversified” slate of courses.

Previous requirements for the major included two courses in “Major English Poets,” including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton and Eliot, among others. But that two-course series petitioners had deemed actively harmful due to its focus on white male poets. The series is no longer a graduation requirement for Yale’s English majors.

The petition, a Google document which has since been made private, critiqued the perceived whiteness of the English department requirements: “A year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color, and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity.”

“It’s time for the English major to decolonize — not diversify — its course offerings,” the petition added. “A 21st century education is a diverse education: we write to you today inspired by student activism across the university, and to make sure that you know that the English department is not immune from the collective call to action.”

Nearly a year after the petition, around seven months ago, Yale’s English faculty voted to “diversity” the curriculum. At the time of the vote, the director of the department’s undergraduate studies, Jessica Brantley, told The Yale Daily News: “We’ve constructed a curriculum that has inclusion as its goal, embedded in the structures of its requirements, and I’m very excited to implement and develop that curriculum further.”

The reconfiguring of the English department’s required courses did not directly address the demands of the petition to do away with the Major English Poets sequences altogether; the courses still exist. The reconfiguration also did not refocus the program’s pre-1800 and pre-1900 literature requirement to address issues of race, gender, and sexuality as demanded by the petition.

Instead, the English department now allows students to fill three required prerequisites from a choice of four different courses: Readings in English Poetry 1, Readings in English Poetry 2, Readings in American Literature, and a newly created course, Readings in Comparative World English Literature.

(Read more)

https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/38303/

SHAKESPEARE IN SWAHILILAND ·

 

(from the Folger Shakespeare Library; via Pam Green.)

Two literary scholars discuss Shakespeare’s influence on the politics, history, and literary culture of East Africa. 

Edward Wilson-Lee, the son of white wildlife conservationists, spent his childhood in Kenya and now teaches Shakespeare at the University of Cambridge in England. Over the past few years he has spent extended periods back in Kenya, as well as in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, researching his book, Shakespeare in Swahililand

Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, the renowned Kenyan playwright, novelist, dissident, and social activist, grew up in Kenya when it was still a British colony and is now a Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. His most recent work is the memoir Birth of a Dream Weaver

Ngũgĩ and Edward were interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

(Read more)

https://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/shakespeare-in-swahililand?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ShakespearePlus4Oct2017&utm_content=version_B&promo=

Photos (top to bottomg)

Edward Wilson-Lee: YouTube 

Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o: Face2Face Africa

BARRY EDELSTEIN: THINKING SHAKESPEARE ·

(from the Folger Shakespeare Library; via Pam Green.)

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 82

How do actors breathe life into Shakespeare’s texts? How do they take language that’s centuries old and make it sound so real and immediate?

Barry Edelstein, the Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director at The Old Globe in San Diego, is one of the nation’s most experienced Shakespeare directors. Twice a year, The Old Globe holds an event called Thinking Shakespeare Live! – a master class where you get to watch actors act and Edelstein direct – in essence, pulling back the curtain on the rehearsal room.

In this podcast episode, Edelstein works with Barbara Bogaev to go through a very abbreviated version of Thinking Shakespeare Live!

(Read more)

https://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/thinking-shakespeare-barry-edelstein

Photo: La Times

ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY TO MONITOR HEART RATES AT ‘TITUS ANDRONICUS’ ·

(Andrew R. Chow’s article appeared in The New York Times, 7/5; via Pam Green.)

Is a screening of a play just as powerful as the play itself? The Royal Shakespeare Company plans to use heart monitors to try to find the answer.

Starting Wednesday night, the company is to monitor the heart rates of 10 selected audience members at its blood-soaked production of “Titus Andronicus” in Stratford-upon-Avon, and then do the same for a cinema screening of the production in August. The theater’s aim is to measure the emotional experience of each viewing method and explore whether Shakespeare still shocks modern audience members, who are perhaps desensitized to violence onscreen.

Becky Loftus, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s head of audience insight, said that “Titus Andronicus” lends itself particularly well to this experiment, given the intensity of scenes showing the title character Titus’s hand being chopped off and the aftermath of the rape and mutilation of Lavinia, another character.

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SHAKESPEARE’S CURE FOR XENOPHOBIA ·

William Shakespeare. Portrait of William Shakespeare 1564-1616. Chromolithography after Hombres y Mujeres celebres 1877, Barcelona Spain

(Stephen Greenblatt’s article appeared in The New Yorker, 7/10-7/17; via Pam Green.)

What “The Merchant of Venice” taught me about ethnic hatred and the literary imagination.

I attended university in a very different world from the one in which I now teach and live. For a start, Yale College, which I entered in 1961, was all male. Women were not matriculated until five years after I had received my B.A. degree. Among the undergraduates, there were only a handful of students from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and very few African-Americans, Asian-Americans, or Hispanics, unless one counted a couple of prep-school-educated heirs to grand South American fortunes.

The Yale that I attended was overwhelmingly North American and white, as well as largely Protestant. It was difficult for the admissions office to identify Catholics, but applicants with conspicuously Irish, Italian, or Polish names were at a disadvantage. For Jews, there was a numerus clausus, not even disguised by the convenient excuse of “geographical distribution.” And the whole system was upheld by a significant number of legacies, along with a pervasive air of privilege and clubbiness. To display too much interest in one’s studies or a concern for grades was distinctly uncool. This was still the era of what was called the “gentleman’s C.”

(Read more)

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/10/shakespeares-cure-for-xenophobia?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ShakespearePlus12Jul2017&utm_content=version_A&promo=