What is this?
Within the Western canon, there is but one author who is truly recognised as being unparalleled: whether it is for his wit, his extraordinary productivity or even his magnificent mastery of the English language, William Shakespeare is indubitably the one writer all most admire, the one poet whose reputation cannot be touched.
In saying this, however, there is also an obvious difficulty in teaching Shakespeare in schools. Shakespeare is subtle; Shakespeare is mysterious. Even the beauty of Shakespeare's language is something which can prove a hurdle for all but the most dedicated students.
For this reason, from these Winter holidays, I will be administering a series of workshops for the purposes of exploring and analysing two Shakespearean works currently taught in the VCE curriculum, Hamlet and Richard III. These workshops will be conducted akin to a reading group of sorts: over the course of the day, we will encounter an entire play, briefly summarising each act before discussing (under the guidance of me) the meaning of Shakespeare's language, the deeper ideas being explored, and finally, the relevance of these ideas to the VCE exam responses.
As an experimental feature, key soliloquys and speeches by Hamlet and Richard III in both texts will be read out and staged. Obviously, time is of the essence, so entire texts will NOT be acted out (Hamlet and Richard III are both four hours long!). However, Hamlet and Richard III both occupy roughly one third of their respective play's lines in their speaking: in seeing their key moments, the student is better equipped to understand the whole play. Furthermore, real performances bring Shakespeare's language alive, and thus it is in the student's interest to see it acted live, and not simply in a film.
To further benefit students, I will also be giving out within the workshops sample notes and A+ scoring essays, mostly from students who scored 45-50 in 2009/2010. This will help students retain their knowledge from the day, and will furthermore assist them, going into the final exam.
Sounds Cool: What else is there to it?
Nothing really. Students will get the most out of this school if they are prepared to read the texts beforehand. Session times are as follows:
Dates: July 7th and 8th
Dates: July 9th and July 10th
These times are tentative, and are subject to change. Both days must be attended. Times in both cases include a break. Each workshop will only go ahead if there is sufficient interest (so advertise!).
Pricing will be at a rate of $100 across the two days - a bargain rate, amounting to about $12.50 per hour. It is perhaps best to think of these sessions as specialised, group tuition sessions with EZ - I have conducted similar sorts of workshops with my tuition students one-on-one, and they have generally been rather successful.