Introducing Shakespeare

Mental Multivitamin has an interesting post on Shakespeare: Yes, again! My older girls may be old enough for this now. A year ago, I took them to the Chattanooga Ballet’s Nutcracker with a group of school children. They were bored before the end of it.

What will bore them is a challenge for me to discern. They have fully enjoyed The Sound of Music and, I think, My Fair Lady, but have been bored with others which I can’t remember at the moment. They even watched Kiss Me, Kate and sang “Brush up your Shakespeare” several times afterward. I should teach that one, so they can impress their friend’s parents.

But I don’t know about Shakespearean plays. I suppose if I choose the right one, they will enjoy it. I wish I could take them to the cowboy version of Two Gentlemen of Verona that I saw in college. That was great fun.

8 thoughts on “Introducing Shakespeare”

  1. Phil, Do you have Gladys Hunt’s book, “Honey for a Child’s Heart?” It introduces children to good literature at appropriate ages. Not that it worked on my kids, but… I have one reader and one not so much. My reader, whom I thought would grow up loving the Nutcracker, (I got her to one performance as a child) to this day, groans everytime I mention it.

    Just wait until they have children of their own, then they will appreciate being exposed to culture as a child. In other words, Mom and Dad, keep it up.

  2. YES, Lars. Perfect. DD was Puck/Robin Goodfellow in sixth grade. She was cast because of her elfin, “pixie” haircut.

    “If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended: That you have but slumbered here, While these visions did appear.”

  3. Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have seven children, and they have all loved it. We last saw a play of it when the youngest two were around 7 months old and 2 1/2. The seven month old just nursed quietly. The 2 year old amazed the elderly couple behind us be turning around at intermission and telling her all about her varfotie part that was still to come, when Bottom’s head turns into a donkey’s head.

    I think it helps immensely if you do some prep work- we usually read a retelling of the story from Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare first, maybe act it out a bit at home with the stuffed animals, and sometimes have found a cartoon version to start with.

  4. The best version I ever saw (in my opinion) was a BBC television production from around 1968. I wonder if it’s available anymore. I was probably influenced by the fact that a still-young Diana Rigg played one of the leads.

  5. I saw a lively performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Shakespeare Tavern, which I think I blogged about. It was very funny, but I got tired by the end. Sometimes things get too silly for me.

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