Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why We Do Summer Shakespeare

My homeschool is centered around literature. It started with reading to my kids when babies. My oldest believes it is the foundation of what made his home education a success. I do too, just like hearing him say it.

Shakespeare has been with us in and out through the years, especially in the summers, because we have more time to soak it in and enjoy and savour our studies. I don't think of it as school over the summer, instead an opportunity to soak in and treasure culture.

This year besides visitng the local Shakespeare festivals, we are putting on our play, a shortened version of Mid Summer's Night Dream. We are so fortunate to have a friend with a theater background to guide, coach and "pick on" the budding actors. They love the attention and redirection. I am learning so much about Shakespeare himself, the exercise and use of diction and children's potential. She also comes with a treasure box of Middle Ages costumes.

I see benefits where my struggling readers are motivated to get their lines down, correctly and clearly. They practice patience while others are getting instruction and other scenes are practiced. They are challenged to think about the words spoken, why said and how best to convey thoughts and feelings to the audience. And not to throw any lines away.

As my friend put it, acting is a good precursor for speech class because they are using Shakespeare's words, under a character with a name that isn't their own. It isn't as personal, they can get up and assume the character's identity and perform with less vulnerability. Since all kids are involved, from 16 down to 5, some of the initial shyness melts away.

Mid Summer is a favorite (all Shakespeare's Comedies are my favorite), there isn't a dull moment, the play moves quickly with humor and liveliness and visual treats with a mysterious woodland with fairies and magic. The play is based on disorder because of a disruption and fight in the marriage of Queen Titania and King Oberon, setting off an unbalance in the nature around them. Our happy ending is when the fight is over and all is right with the world because the married couple is happy again.

Here are scenes from the recent practice:

1 comment:

  1. Oh what a wonderful opportunity!!
    Last night our hs group put on their annual concert and for the first time ever a play!! We had hired a drama teacher and worked hard for 6 weeks, it was magnificent!! What a night.