We started off this week's reader's theatre class with a little "Wheel of Fortune" pop quiz on the characters of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." It was fun and engaging for the students and helpful for me to see if they were grasping the "who's who" in the play. Although this particular play may be one of the most fun, uplifting and comedic plays that Shakespeare wrote, it certainly isn't the easiest to understand. I encourage students to take more time in reading up on the play on their own so they really feel comfortable with the three sub-plots and how they weave in and out of each other.
Here is a LINK that might give a little more background into the characters and their relationship to the story.
"The course of true love never did run smooth"
We then took a few minutes to understand the three main themes of the play: Love's Difficulty, Magic, and Dreams.
Love's Difficulty: Most of the conflict in the play stems from the trouble of romance, however, it is not a love story but rather pokes fun at the torments and afflictions that those in love suffer. The tone of the play is lighthearted and therefore the audience is free to enjoy the comedy without being caught up in the tension of an uncertain outcome.
Magic: It's the fairy's magic that brings about many of the bizarre and silly situations in the play. Although the misuse of magic causes chaos, it ultimately resolves the play's tensions by restoring love to balance among the Athenian youths.
Dreams: As the title suggests, dreams are an important theme in the play. Various characters mention dreams throughout. For instance, Hippolyta's first words in the play -- "Four days will quickly steep themselves in night, four nights will quickly dream away time." Shakespeare is interested in the actual workings of dreams and how time loses its sense of flow, and the impossible occurs as a matter of course. Puck ends the play by addressing the audience members themselves with the idea of dreams by saying if they have been offended by the play, they should remember it as nothing more than a DREAM! This all helps render the play a fantastical experience rather than a heavy drama.
Dream Journal Challenge
And so this led us to our Dream Journal Challenge! Students were given a handout with their homework assignment...logging their dreams! As we were discussing the dream challenge in class, many students believed they didn't have dreams. I suggested that they give it a try and possibly be amazed at how much they really do dream! Read through the handout, as it is pretty self explanatory.
We finished up the class with a reading of the play and discussed in more detail what we were reading, how to give more inflections, and practiced stage directions. This was helpful as we played off of each other and made sense of the whole piece. Bravo actors!
Two Hats and A Performance, May 20th at 11:30am!
Note to parents: Students were asked to bring two different hats with them to class next week, each symbolizing both of their characters. They will be using the hats to portray their two different roles. For final performance, students should wear blue jeans and a black shirt -- preferably all black with no writing or design on the shirt.
The Final Performance is May 20th at 11:30am sharp. This time reflects a scheduling conflict that we needed to address so everyone could be accommodated. Please make a note of it in your calendars so we may have the honor of your presence at the Reader's Theatre Performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on May 20th.
Have a great week!
Shakespeare in Texas!