William Shakespeare lived in the late 1500s and early 1600s, but his plays are now performed all over the world in nearly a hundred languages, and he is known as one of the greatest writers of all time. The fact that literature and other media borrow from Shakespeare’s works, speaks to how important he is to a global culture. One dynamic way to experience Shakespeare was to work as a class to perform a show. After reading The Reduced Shakespeare Co. presents The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), 10th grade students performed the entire play for Exhibition. Students choose to perform, direct, build sets, work on costumes/makeup/hair or marketing. Throughout the semester, students worked with Shakespearean texts and resources to discover whether or not Shakespeare is significant in the making of our culture, and debate whether he is still relevant today.
I had fun getting to know my students in a new way and my students had fun getting to know me and each other, and this fun developed into strong pride in the finished products of the project. This project represented a truly collaborative process. We learned a great deal about ourselves during the stress of creating a public performance. We all now have a new sense of connection with Shakespeare and his works, which leads to an important step into a larger cultural world.
Honestly, the performance itself was the best part of the project. It was the culmination of all of our hard work that we put into rehearsing, memorizing and staging the show, and I felt proud once it was all said and done. By holding it at the San Marcos Civic Center, our team had the opportunity to experience what it was like to perform out in the community, and impact people outside of the traditional school setting.
To learn more about this project and others, http://mrshowardsdp.weebly.com/the-complete-works-of-william-shakespeare.html