So, I passed in a draft of what I planned to work with the kids on. Basically, as I think I mentioned, it’s all the Lysander/Hermia/Demetrius/Helena stuff. Plus some intro stuff on Shakespeare’s life, sentence structure and vocabulary, and then if there’s time the Insult game.
Here’s what I got back.
* Absolutely no insult game. Against school bullying policies. Even if the game is in fun you have to assume that kids will take it out onto the playground and hurt feelings will ensue. Fine, I guess.
* Additionally, some bits in the script that deal with name-calling are also out. She called out Helena’s “I am your dog, beat me, whip me, treat me as you wish” sequence as something she wouldn’t want. I’m not sure yet if that means everything. The scene where Helena calls Hermia short is one of the funniest in the entire play.
* She did like the Shakespeare’s life bits, and the poetry/sentence structure bits. But I don’t want to do an hour on those. There’s no performing in those.
I proposed a couple of things.
* First, that I’d bring with me a lengthy list of “backwards” sentences from Shakespeare and we could work with the kids on untangling them so they understand what the sentences mean. Examples like “I love thee not, so follow me not” is Shakespeare for “I don’t love you, so stop following me.”
* Second, that the teacher and I enact some No Fear style scenes, where we as the two adults perform a bit of the original text, and then we let the kids get up and perform a very modernized version of the exact same sequence. I am dead set against just having them perform a bunch of crap that I wrote from scratch and calling it Shakespeare. I might as well have them act out Gnomeo and Juliet if I’m going to do that.
Want to help me? I need examples for both games. For the first I need individual sentences from the text (preferably Dream) that mean that “this is backwards from how we’d normally say it” criteria. It helps if all the words are modern — the “I have of late but wherefore I know not lost all my mirth” example is wonderful, but I have to explain “wherefore” and “mirth” to these kids.
Second, help me pick some snippets for the No Fear game. I need quick little exchanges that two adults could do without getting completely confused. So for example a Demetrius/Helena exchange.
If possible I’ll also try to get in the initial rehearsal of Bottom and his crew, but I’m afraid that the teacher will tell me the whole Pyramus and Thisbe thing is just too complicated.