Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Finally, Shakespeare

Oh dear. I can't even remember the last time I read the bard's work. It must've been years ago back in high school. All the plays we discussed in high school are a blur to me. I recall reading "Medea" and "The Glass Menagerie." I'm sure there were others, and I'm very much positive that we read "Hamlet."

Next week, I've been casually invited to join a book group that would hold its last Shakespeare discussion, and the members have picked "The Taming of the Shrew." Aieeeee! All I know about it is that the movie "Ten Things I Hate about You" is based on this play.

One enjoyable thing about these events is that they give you an excuse to head to the bookstore and do some retail therapy. I have none of Shakespeare's works in my shelves (the horror of it!), so I was determined to get an edition with, shall we say, more pedigree than the norm. Luckily, I found one published by Modern Library in collaboration with The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) no less.

But, dear reader, at another bookstore, I saw the edition that could probably save my big fat ass during the discussion. Ta-dah!

I would still try to read the RSC edition though, and perhaps consult the No Fear edition every now and then. If I still can't make heads nor tails of what's going on, I'd just watch again the movie, which features the fabulous Heath Ledger.

Wish me luck on my first Shakespeare discussion, dear readers!


C.B. James said...

I used the No Fear edition of Midsummer Night's Dream with my 7th graders this year. We read the original together and they could read the "translation" when they wanted to.

The original is better. Last year I had an edition with the original on the right hand side and lots of annotations/definitions/etc. on the left. I thought that was much better.

The thing is, you really shouldn't worry about understanding everything in the play. Just read it, get what you can from it, check a few notes here and there maybe read it a second time (It won't take that long) and don't worry about it. I tell my 7th graders that no one ever gets everything in Shakespeare, even I find things I missed when I read Midsummer each year and I've read it nine or ten times by now.

Just have fun. The Bard is lots of fun.;-)

Peter S. said...

Hello, C. B. James!

You're absolutely right! For the first few pages, I tried reading the original and the modern version more or less at the same time. However, I found it totally inefficient. So I decided to just read the original straight from then on. It works! There's a certain fluidity to the prose that somehow adds to your comprehension of it!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Ahh, Shakespeare! I rocked out on this Hamlet test my senior year of High School. My "Shrew" knowledge is also pretty much limited to 10 Things I Hate About You.

Maybe if you survive this, you can try some Moliere or Tom Stoppard?

Peter S. said...

Hello, Amber Tidd Murphy! Yes, definitely open to those.

Kaz said...

Chortle, chortle!!!!

You sound like my Year 11 English students, Peter! The Shrew is great fun - I saw a brilliant production of it years ago in Canberra with an all male cast - as it would have been done in the Bard's day. It was hysterical - so much fun. Have a look online for actual film versions and see if you can track down a DVD - always good to watch Shakespeare as well as reading him.

We did Macbeth and Hamlet at school. My kids did King Lear and Richard the Third, so I did those with them. My current students are working on Othello.

Giuseppe Verdi was a lover of Shakespeare and wrote a bunch of Operas based on his plays - Macbeth, Otello, and Falstaff (from The Merry Wives of Windsor). I sang First Witch in Macbeth and was one of Desdemona's handmaidens in Otello.

My personal favourites are Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night.

And now I've just had one of my lateral thoughts back to my library - watch my blog for a sideways look at the Bard through the medium of a YA historical novel...



Peter S. said...

Hello, Kaz!

I feel like an 11th grader reading Shakespeare actually. And what's more surprising, I'm enjoying it!

Kaz said...

As are my students. My informal student - AKA the stepson - is getting into writing assignments in Shakesperean style - it's hilarious. He wrote a series of diary entires as Iago. Cracked me up.

Monique said...

I attempted to read Shakespeare once, for pleasure, and never dared again. Haha! :D

Peter S. said...

Hi, Kaz! Writing in rhyme is so difficult! Give your 'informal student' an A+ for effort! Hehehe.

Hello, Monique! Surprisingly, I'm having fun with "The Taming of the Shrew"!

ןıuǝ oɟ ɟןıƃɥʇ said...

at least its taming of the shrew! hahaha.

Peter S. said...

Yes, line of flight! Thank goodness it's a comedy!

Orly said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it. Can't wait to have you in our Friday Discussion, Peter!

Peter S. said...

See you, Orly!

Stepford Mum said...

I love Shakespeare! One day, I hope to read all of his plays.

I'm sure you'll rock the discussion, Peter, whichever version you read ;-)

Peter S. said...

Thanks, Stepford Mum!