Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chequespierre's a calling

Remember back when you were in high school and you got assigned to read your first Shakespeare play? How you read a page and said "What the fuck language is this written in?" And how you plowed through the first couple of pages and then went and begged your mom to take you to the bookstore so you could buy the Cliff Notes? While in the meantime, Mom was bragging to all her friends about how you were 'devouring' Macbeth and couldn't wait to start Hamlet? Um, yeah.

Then you had to read the freaking play out loud during English class, and the teacher made you act the parts, which was mortifying. Plus they assigned some of the boy parts to the girls, and the girl parts to the boys. What was that about?

There was always a kid in your class that understood the whole play and loved Shakespeare and that was the kid you hated more than anyone else because who the hell loves Shakespeare when you're 14? But then your mom goes to the library and gets you the video of Romeo and Juliet and you see first hand what you're reading and get lost in the story and all of a sudden it all makes sense. The language gets easier to understand, the cadence falls into place, and you see why people have been reading Shakespeare for a bazillion years.

For me, it was going to see A Midsummer Night's Dream every freaking spring that I was in high school. The first time we got on the school bus to get to the Shrine Auditorium with every other high school in Los Angeles, I was sure I would absolutely hate the experience of watching Shakespeare come to life. But I didn't. It was exciting and interesting and.... dare I say it, funny. Even though I never actually read that particular play, I learned to tolerate the yearly Shakespeare assignment. When Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet came out in the theatre, I can remember watching it and crying at the end. Later, I saw both The Tempest and The Taming of the Shrew performed on stage and they both made sense. I actually understood each of the plays. It was quite an awakening for me, knowing that I could sit through Shakespeare's tragedies as well as the comedies and enjoy them. Thus began a lifelong love of Shakespeare. Try and explain that to your kids!

Both of my kids are reading Shakespeare for the first time. The Boy just finished reading Julias Caesar and the Girl is slogging through Romeo and Juliet. Julias Caesar is not a difficult play to get through, and the Boy isn't loving it by any means, but he's seemingly interested enough to have finished reading it in about a week. Now he's starting to write a paper on the play, which should be interesting to read.

The Girl is having a lot of trouble with Romeo and Juliet. Because she has language based learning disabilities, this is a very difficult task for her. I know she will like it once she gets into it, but her teacher...Oy, her teacher isn't having them read the play out loud. They have to read it silently, which is the kiss of death for her. She's trying, but this isn't ever going to be anything she can excell in. Which means I'm off to the library to get the movie out for us to watch together. Hopefully, once she sees the film, the story will come alive and she'll be more used to the language and the cadence of speech. Hopefully. Because the vocabulary is going to kill her.

I bid you farewall.

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Blogger blackbird said...

Please please please can she see the Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo? It's awfully good -

4/3/07 5:07 PM  

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