Speak the Speech: Improving English through studying and performing Shakespeare

Through a structured, guided reading of Troilus and Cressida, one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known but most complex plays, students will gain:

  • An understanding of Shakespearean verse, and how it relates to and influences everyday English speech,

Background knowledge on the Trojan War, and Homer’s seminal Iliad

  • An understanding of Shakespearean dramatic structure, and how it influences modern theater, cinema, and television.

  • Increased comfort with spoken English through performance exercises that employ poetry, prose, and everyday speech

  • Exposure to Shakespearean performance through video, in-class performances, and live theatre

  • A chance to perform in an adaptation of Troilus and Cressida, written specially for this class, thereby honing public speaking, performance, and organizational skills

Minimum requirements: Intermediate level of English.

COURSE STRUCTURE:

The course is planned around the 5-act structure of a Shakespearean play, according to the following structure:

SEMESTER 1 — WEEKS 1 — 8

WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE

Background: who was Shakespeare?

«What is Shakespeare?»

Review of Shakespearean verse: how is it structured? How do you read it?

Exercises in reading Shakespearean verse aloud: excerpts from verse and prose monologues, dialogue from Shakespearean plays and poetry

Review of Shakespearean dramatic structure

5 acts; what they do

Tracing the influence of Shakespearean structure on drama/film:

4 acts: Chekhov (and European/American realism)

2 acts: (comedy)

acts: film screenplays

What is Troilus and Cressida and what was the Trojan War?

WEEK 2: INTRODUCING TROILUS AND CRESSIDA

The Prologue

Character development

Comparison between Shakespeare’s characters and those from history

WEEKS 3-8: READING THE PLAY

Acts I-III: three classes

Act IV: two classes

SEMESTER 2 — WEEKS 9 — 12

WEEK 9: THE CONCLUSION

Act V: leaving time for summary and reflections

Each of these classes will take time to review vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical devices.

WEEKS 10-11:

Adaptation for performance

Summary discussion of key themes and most memorable moments

Review of dramatic structure — how to preserve dramatic structure with o Introduction of new material (teacher’s own adaptation proposal for the class production) •

WEEK 12: REHEARSAL FOR CLASS PERFORMANCE

We will be using the Bantam Edition of the play, which has scholarly commentary, vocabulary and grammar notes in the margins.

Смотрите также