Wrapup on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Since we’re approaching the end of June, I thought I’d give a quick recap of all my best “Midsummer Night’s Dream” content, in case you’d like to take a look. After this post, I’ll be doing a series of posts comparing Shakespeare with Star Trek!

  1. Play of the Month: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  2. Activities for Students and Teachers: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  3. Happy Pride Month from The Shakespearean Student
  4. How to Throw a Midsummer Night’s Dream Party
  5. Review: The 2021 Globe Tehater Midsummer Night’s Dream
  6. Graphic Novel Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  7. Review: King Of Shadows by Susan Cooper

If you’re interested in one of my online courses on “A Midsummer Nights’ Dream,” Click on the link below:

Recap of all my content related to "A Midsummer Night's Dream.

And finally, to bridge between Midsummer and Star Trek, here’s a short clip of an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” where the crew pretends to be a group of actors, performing, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The crew of the starship Enterprise go back in time, and pretend to be members of a Shakespeare troupe.

Shakespeare Week Is Coming at Outschool.com

Outschool.com will be honoring the contributions of Shakespeare during the very first Shakespeare Week on March 21-27th.

I’m honored to take part in this celebration, and I’m offering several aclasses which relate to Shakespeare in an engaging way. Here’s the schedule below:

If you want to sign up for one of my classes, please visit my Outschool page:

https://outschool.com/teachers/The-Shakespearean-Student

https://outschool.com/teachers/The-Shakespearean-Student

Hope to see you during Shakespeare Week!

New Outschool Course: “An Immersive Guide To Romeo and Juliet.”

course image: Immersive Guide To Romeo and Juliet

I’m very proud to announce that just in time for Valentines’ Day, I’m offering a course of classes about Shakespeare’s most popular play about love. The play will include fight choreography, dramatic readings, games, escape rooms, and an activity where the students create their own Shakespearean insults!

Course Description:

We’ll engage with the play with thoughtful discussion.

You’ll go on a virtual tour to the Globe Theater!

You’ll play detective and solve a Shakespearean murder!

Instead of just reading the play "Romeo and Juliet," this class will actively delve into the world of the play through a combination of lectures, dramatic readings, virtual field trips, online quizzes and activities, and finally, a digital escape room to test the student's knowledge of the play and its ideas. Each class is ala carte, meaning that once you take one class, you choose whether to stop at one class or continue onwards. Each class will delve into a different theme, literary device, and historical concept in the play:

Class Structure:

Class 1: Why Read Romeo and Juliet?
- The teacher will decode the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet and tell the basic story of the play
- We will explain dramatic irony through looking at the prologue,
- The teacher will explain why Shakespeare used poetry in the play, instead of just writing in common prose
- We will discuss why we still read Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet in particular.

Class 2: Foils and Fights 
- The learner will learn about the culture of dueling and sword fighting that was rampant in the 17th century.
- The teacher will explain and the learner will learn to recognize character foils in the play like Romeo and Friar Laurence
- We will cover the topic of antithesis- how opposite imagery permeates the play.
- We will discuss figurative language through insults and the students will have a contest to see who can craft the best Elizabethan insults!

Class 3: Acts 1& 2- The Language of Love and Hate
- We will recap how insults work- hyperbole and metaphor used to make someone seem the worst, the smallest, the ugliest, the dumbest, etc.
- We'll examine passages from Act II that show how these techniques apply to wooing and expressing love through metaphor, hyperbole, and allusions.
- The teacher will explain what a sonnet is and how Shakespeare uses them repeatedly in "Romeo and Juliet"
- We will discuss staging the famous Balcony Scene of Romeo and Juliet and ask if it's possible to do so in a virtual environment.

Class 3:  Act 3 fighting 💪 swordplay and plague imagery 
The teacher will explain the plot structure of Elizabethan tragedies and explain that Act III is the climax of the play. 
We will recap  the events that led to the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt
The teacher will unpack Mercutio’s famous curse "A plague on both your houses," which is a foreshadowing, and the climax of the action.
The class will end with a short, safe demonstration of stage fighting where the students may choose to enact Mercutio's fight with Tybalt and/ or Romeo's fight with Tybalt.

Class 4: Act 4 antithesis and dramatic irony 
We will talk about the imagery in Act IV, scene 1, which foreshadows the end of the play. I will also do a dramatic re-enactment of Juliet's soliloquy in Act IV, 
We'll go on a virtual field trip to an Elizabethan wedding.
The teacher will historical context of the black death and its relevance to the play and Shakespeare's life.

Class 5: The final curtain
We will discuss Act V of the play and how so many forces seemed to be out of Romeo and Juliet's control, pushing them apart. We will also discuss whether or not Friar Laurence should be punished for encouraging Romeo and Juliet to disobey their parents.

Class 6: Performance then and Now
The teacher will perform in character as William Shakespeare, and teach the students how to act like real Elizabethan actors. This will include a virtual tour of the Globe Theater, a virtual costume fitting, stage fighting lessons, and DIY Elizabethan crafts. The teacher will then engage the class by discussing different adaptations, sequels, and spin-offs of Romeo and Juliet, in order to illustrate how popular and long-lasting this story is. The students will watch and discuss clips from various movies, plays, and ballets based on Romeo and Juliet. The instructor will conclude by sharing his own experience acting in Romeo and Juliet three times as The Prince, Friar Laurence, and Peter.

Class 7: 
Final project- CSI ROMEO AND JULIET STYLE
The class will play the role of a detective trying to solve the mystery of Juliet's death in Act IV, (when she actually takes the sleeping potion). (S)he doesn't know what happened but must piece together clues hidden in a digital escape room, such as handwritten notes, blog posts, receipts from "The Apothecary," etc. The clues will not only test the student's knowledge of the play, but their understanding of metaphor, verse, Elizabethan history, and more! In the end, the Detective will be the one who tells Lord and Lady Capulet the true story of what happened to Juliet. To unlock the digital escape room, the students will decode messages hidden in the clues and enter them into a Google Form. 

First course runs from February 2nd to March 19th, 7PM EST. If you can’t make it to this section, I can schedule one for you.

Register here: https://outschool.com/classes/an-immersive-guide-to-romeo-and-juliet-M4EdgCM5#usMaRDyJ13

Denzel Washington talks Shakespeare. Mourns the loss of Sidney Poitier

If you’re like me, you are probably saddened by the loss of the great American actor, Sidney Poitier. He was part of the original cast of the great American play A Raisin In the Sun, and earned countless accolades for his roles on stage and screen like In the Heat Of the Night, Porgey and Bess, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? and The Greatest Story Ever Told.

In this interview, Poitier’s friend Denzel Washington talks about how Poitier was a beacon, not just for black actors but a gold standard for all actors.

Washington also discusses his role in the film Macbeth, in which he plays the title role. As I mentioned in my Much Ado About Nothing review, Denzel is a consummate performer of Shakespeare and I for one can’t wait to see him as Macbeth. This is nor just because he was an absolute joy in Much Ado, but because Denzel is famous for playing characters that start out as good men become violent and evil in films like Training Day, American Gangster, and Flight. I have high hopes that Denzel’s Macbeth will rank among his greatest performances.

Macbeth is now playing at selected theaters and streaming online on Apple+. I plan to see it and hope that you will too.

New OUtschool Class: Love Poetry, Shakespeare Style

Your child will learn how to write poetry like Shakespeare himself, through a mix of presentations, a printable guideline, and some fun quizzes to test your knowledge of Shakespeare’s sonnets! Designed for ages 13-18.

Class Description:

We will cover what a sonnet is, namely a type of poetry Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter with a particular rhyme scheme. Using a combination of Prezi video presentation and Google Slides, I will go in-depth to explain how he organized his poetic ideas into a very compact form. 
Using primarily Google slides, we will then analyze Shakespeare's sonnets for their themes, literary devices, and the way he uses the poetry to enhance and heighten emotion and ideas. I will focus mainly on Sonnet 18, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" I will cover Shakespeare's use of such literary devices as:
- Metaphor
- Simile
- Personification
- Rhetorical Question
- Irony
- Paranomasia
Analyzing this sonnet will allow the class to grasp the basics of how a sonnet is constructed, and begin to prepare to write their own. While the presentation is in play, students will be given an access code to an optional Nearpod presentation, that will allow them to construct an iambic pentameter line, quiz themselves on the vocabulary I cover, and provide visual aides to better understand Shakespeare's sonnets.

In the next part of the course, We will engage in a group brainstorming session. I will provide the students with potential topics (assuming they don't have one of their own), and then we will construct a short story using madlibs around that topic that will later be condensed into a sonnet. I will demonstrate to the students how to use imagery and poetic language to enhance the ideas and feelings in the poem. After this, I will use the nearpod and Google slide presentations to guide the students how to tell their own story using such devices as metaphor, personification, allusion, and sensory details. They can jot their ideas down on the provided handout to help organize their thoughts. In addition, the optional handout will have useful brainstorming activities such as a web link to websites like Rhymezone.com, (which helps poets find rhymes to words), and imagery boards that will allow the students to think of sensory details to include in the sonnet . The class will draw attention to the handout activities, and pause briefly to allow the students to do them.


In the last part of the class, I will give the students step-by-step instructions on how to transform their brainstorming ideas into a sonnet. I will begin by showing them how to construct an iambic pentameter line. I will engage the students by clapping out the beats for this line and allow them time to do the same, so they may internalize the rhythm. This will be accomplished via a Google Slides screen.
The final page of the handout has a page to write a draft of their final sonnet, with the line numbers conveniently provided. I will go over every section of the worksheet so the students know how to utilize it effectively.

After all this practice and training, the students will be able to create a basic 14 line sonnet which will give them practice not only writing poetry but also using and recognizing literary devices. It is my hope that this course will not only help the student(s) gain an appreciation for Shakespeare's poetry but also develop their own ability to speak and write eloquently and persuasively.

Special Discounts on my Outschool Classes!

I'm teaching two great classes today. Spaces are available!

From now to January 13th, I’m offering a $5 discount for any class that is $10 or more! You can take my Shakespeare classes for as little as $4! Go to my Outschool.com class and enter the coupon code: HTHESNIF6B5 at checkout!

https://outschool.com/teachers/c9bc565b-71e9-44c9-894a-921c472f4a37#usMaRDyJ13

If you’re new to Outschool, use the referral code below when you sign up. You’ll automatically get $20 USD off  as a thank you to use on future classes! My referral code is: MaRDyJ13

Hope to see you on my Outschool page!