Mon. 6/4 – Shakespeare Performance, Day 1

TODAY’S GOAL IS TO play with the language of Shakespeare’s writing. 

Part 1: Line Tossing.  You will need:

  • The confidence to pronounce words you do not know as if you know their meaning
  • The ability to change inflection (your intonation or voice pitch) — no robots, please!
  • A voice that can be heard across the room (but not across the hallway)
  • A reasonably useful throwing arm (slow-pitch only)

Line Tossing Directions:

  1. When you receive a card, look at the words.
  2. If there is a word you don’t know, ask what it means.
  3. Practice your line to yourself. Think about the emotion that might be a part of the line. Prepare to say the line the way you think it should be spoken.
  4. Read your line aloud, then toss the ball to someone else.
  5. Based on these lines, what do you think is going on in the scene?

Part 2:   Yoda’s ghost, and the order of words and phrases.

Yoda is a Jedi Master in the Star Wars universe. If you know who he is, wise you are. If you don’t know who he is…well…fortunate you are not. Yoda turned everyday statements into profound expressions of wisdom simply by re-arranging the words. Shakespeare liked to do that as well. Here are some statements:

  • Seventh grade is almost at an end.
  • It’s elementary, my dear Watson.
  • Stay gold, Ponyboy!
  • Do it for Johnny!
  • I will honor Christmas in my heart.
  • People are really good at heart.
  • There are so many doors to open.  I am impatient to begin.

Directions: Practice one or more of the statements.  Decide the order of the words that sounds most interesting to you or emphasizes the words in the way you desire. Be prepared to read your line aloud.

As we read Shakespeare, you will notice that he plays with words, just as Yoda does. If you find a phrase confusing, think about re-arranging the words to understand the meaning. You may also notice words missing. All of this tinkering with the language was part of Shakespeare’s attempts to make the words sound more interesting to the audience and to add puns and bawdy jokes to his dialogue.

Part 3: Packet Handout and a taste of Macbeth

When you receive your “Shakespeare Selected Scenes” handout, write your full name and period number on the top of the front page.

Read the scene on page 2.  Recognize the lines?  What’s the scene about?  Be prepared to read the lines aloud, but this time in the proper order.  If there are two people reading the same line, try to read in unison.  Read the line expressively, trying to convey the feelings you think are appropriate.

Words to know: 

  • hurlyburly – chaos and confusion
  • ere – before
  • heath – open grassland
  • Macbeth – the protagonist of “The Scottish Play” a General who receives a prophecy that he will become king, and then acts to make the prophecy come true
  • Graymalkin – name for a gray cat…the witch is calling to her “familiar” or evil helper who is in the form of a cat (so we should be hearing a cat mewing before this line)
  • Paddock – name for a toad…the second witch’s familiar is a toad (and we should hear a toad croaking before this line)
  • Anon – see you soon