Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shappere, Shaxberd, or Sheik Speare? Day 4 of TSI

Whew!  Today was very tiring.  I can feel my body rebelling against the late hours and the take out meals. 

One of the best parts of TSI:  every morning as we arrive on our yellow bus, the TSI faculty stands on the steps of the Folger and greets us.  They stand there and wave bye to us in the afternoon too!!

Morning Lecture:  Stephen Dickey, Resourceful Shakespeare

Stephen's lecture was very informative plus quite humorous.  He likes to throw in little bon mots every once in a while which I really appreciate.

Stephen discussed Shakespeare's source for Err. which was the Menaechmus by Plautus.

Some interesting facts:
  • The play was first performed at one of the Inns (basically a lawyer-type crowd/males only) in 1594 during the commemoration of Herod's slaughter of the Innocents (Christmas season)
They were gonna party like it was 1599!
  • Egeon speech at the beginning is the longest speech in Shakespeare's plays.  It is usually performed with an accompanying dumb show or mime.  It is one LONG speech.
  • Err. has many new ideas that Menaechmus did not such as:  Dromio being beaten and Egeon's dramatic death sentence in the first scene.
  • Shakespeare's audience would have recognized Err's similarity and been OK with it.  Plautus was a common read for school boys at the time. 
Err has that great moment of Anagnorisis, in which Antipholus realized his true identity.  I love those Greek lit terms!!  Oedipus anyone?

Seminar with Margaret Maurer

Today we discussed some more about Antipholus and his character as a tyrant.  Margaret also told us about the Inns of Court which were where men went to read law.  They were communities of young men who were highly educated.

During our lunch (we are doing things even at lunchtime!, Stephen, Jay, and Margaret gave us an intro to our research projects.  We will be researching primary sources for any topic. Very different than what I did in Grad school where I used my beloved JSTOR.  Everyone is choosing some cool topics and we are excited but frankly, scared to death, about researching in the Reading Room.  We still have that "we're not worthy" mindset.

The librarian gave us an exhaustive intro to Hamnet and Early Books Online.  I really felt as though my brain might explode.  Where is all this new info going to go?  Will I still be able to remember every episode of Gilmore Girls?  Seriously, my brain be a hurtin'.

Curriculum Workshop with Michael LoMonico

"LoMo" went over some of the common misconceptions and some basic info on Shakespeare.  We learned that there is no standardized spelling in Shakespeare's time, so all of the spellings in my title were used (except the sheik).

Some other epiphanies for my teaching:
  • Teaching Shakespeare does NOT mean :  sitting at a desk reading, students standing at the front of the room reading, or the teacher performing the play
  • Acting a scene is a form of close reading on your feet!
  • It is more important for kids to LIKE Shakespeare than to understand every word.
  • Sometimes it is better to teach a part rather than the whole play.
  • the best way to use video may NOT be to show the DVD
  • Teaching Shakespeare does not mean designing Globe Theaters out of sugar cubes or popsicle sticks.  In fact, kids don't need to study the time period at all.
We then played a great game called Harlots vs. Strumpets where we divided into two groups and just said cool Shakespeare insults at each other.  Great class builder activity!

"thou art a needy, hollow-eyed, sharp-looking wretch"

Performance Workshop:  Notes later, but fun, fun, fun!

Tomorrow, we are off to Staunton, Virginia at 6:30 am to see a performance of Merchant of Venice!

It has been an exhausting and exciting week! I am so blessed to be here!

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