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    Watching Shakespeare

    We'd like to end the study of each play we do by watching a movie or theater production, since they were meant to be viewed: any suggestions? They must have subtitles, or it may well be Russian to my ears. There's a 1978 BBC production of As You Like It on Amazon Prime that we'd like to watch this week. Next year we'll do Henry V and Julius Caesar: is Kenneth Branagh's Henry ok for kids? Bonnie in another thread mentioned The Hollow Crown: again, is that a good one to watch with kids? I have a super-sensitive girl who can't stand violence or cruelty in movies, so I want to be careful.
    Thank you!
    DS (16)
    DD (15)
    DS (7)

    #2
    I think the one criticism of the Branagh version of Henry V was that too much was cut out. I did like it better than the Olivier version. Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing had unnecessary nudity, and the rating mentions “brief sensuality.”

    I think if you watch the movie version of any play beforehand, without your children, then you know when any problematic scenes are coming and can skip forward. Jot down a note and be ready with the remote. I call this my “45 second skip editing.”

    Blessings,
    Jude
    DD24
    DS21
    DS18
    DS16
    DD14
    DS11
    DD9

    Comment


      #3
      The older productions are pretty safe. I don't remember any problems with Julius Caesar (1953, Marlon Brando). I don't think it has subtitles. There's a Charleston Heston version too, but I haven't seen it.
      DS16, mix of MP and other resources 2021-2022

      "[May] the peace of God, which passes all understanding, ... keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you both! I would really like whole plays. but we can throw a movie in for good measure, if it's worth it. I agree old movies are fine - I didn't know about those, plb ! Dvds of theatrical productions should be even safer, and I wouldn't care that they are not visually as dazzling as a movie, but the audio can be terrible: I remember a few years ago my husband checked out some plays from the library, and it was beyond painful to try to follow along. I must have subtitles for Gilbert and Sullivan too
        DS (16)
        DD (15)
        DS (7)

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          #5
          The Stratford Festival (Canada) productions were recommended to us. We watched an 80s production of As You Like It after my oldest read it this year. It was pretty faithful to the text, and I felt like it helped their understanding.
          We ordered a few others from that series, but we haven't watched them yet.
          Amanda - Mama to three crazy boys, teacher at St. Dominic Latin (FFL, TFL, 4FL, Traditional Logic 1&2), Memoria College student

          2021-2022
          9th grade - a mix of MPOA, Vita Beata, Lukeion, and AOPS
          8th grade - 8M with modifications
          4th grade - 4A

          "Non nisi te, Domine. Non nisi te" - St. Thomas Aquinas

          Comment


            #6
            While I've loved some movie versions of Shakespeare, I always insist the plays are best AS plays because they depend for meaning partly on audience reactions. If no one is laughing at the jokes or gasping at the murder, it's just not the same. Also, nearly all the movie versions have cut huge chunks of the script, which is frustrating when you've spent so much time getting to know and understand the language. When I taught high school students, I liked to show DVDs of live shows from the Globe Theatre in London. You can find some of them on Amazon, but also look on UK Amazon for more of them and be prepared to wait longer for shipping if you're in the US. I absolutely LOVED their versions of Henry V, Macbeth, and As You Like It. I was less happy with Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer Night's Dream (just thought the acting wasn't as good), but still thought live performance was better than movies for kids that had read and wanted to hear/see the entire play. These shows are also in a replica of the original theater, with (mostly) period costumes and music, which is great for teaching historical context.
            Amy

            Fall 2022:
            DS 14 9th
            DD 12 7th
            DS 10 5th
            DD 7 2nd
            DS 5 K
            DS 2

            Comment


              #7
              Hey, remember when we used to be able to take our children to actual plays at high schools and colleges and community theaters? Good times.

              Blessings,
              Jude
              DD24
              DS21
              DS18
              DS16
              DD14
              DS11
              DD9

              Comment


                #8
                Our local Shakespeare troupe has streaming videos of many productions that are in the MP high school lineup.

                https://www.youtube.com/kentuckyshakespeare

                This is not an endorsement -- I haven't watched any of them, and don't know of any potential sketchiness.
                Plans for 2022-23

                Year 12 of homeschooling with MP

                DD1 - 27 - college grad, bakery owner
                DD2 - 16 - 11th grade - HLS Cottage School - online classes, looking at dual credit - equestrian and theatre
                DS3 - 14 -7A Cottage School - soccer/tennis -dyslexia and dysgraphia
                DS4 -14 - 7A Cottage School -soccer/tennis -auditory processing disorder
                DD5 - 10- 5A, Cottage School - inattentive ADHD - equestrian and tumbling
                DS6 - 9 - MP 1 - home with momma

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'm glad I asked, this is all good. As smithamykat says, a play production is best (though I think Branagh's Hamlet is complete and didn't cut anything, but I could be wrong). As SaintJude7 says, once upon a time it could be done in person... although I'm sick and tired of our mania for "updating" Shakespeare, or trying to "improve" him, or being so "original" that a production only has a very loose relationship with the original - there's a lot of what I'd consider junk out there running away with Shakespeare's name.
                  DS (16)
                  DD (15)
                  DS (7)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Ooh, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival on YouTube!!! I will give a hearty endorsement for last year's As You Like It because I got to see it live while I was at MP's conference last summer. It was wonderful! Now off to watch some of the other offerings...

                    Also agreeing with Mrs Bee that live Shakespeare is great, except when it's terrible. I saw a local Much Ado production a few years ago that seared my brain it was so awful, from the raunchy "updates" to the beach wear costumes.
                    Amy

                    Fall 2022:
                    DS 14 9th
                    DD 12 7th
                    DS 10 5th
                    DD 7 2nd
                    DS 5 K
                    DS 2

                    Comment


                      #11
                      While I love a good play, here are a couple of reasons why I enjoy viewing a movie when it is available:

                      Camera work. I have sat through some youtube versions of plays (and ballets) that look like they were shot on a video camera from the 1980’s. Wobbly shots, bad lighting, not zooming in on the actor who is speaking, etc...

                      Audio. I need to hear every word. Movies just seem to get the audio at a higher quality.

                      Subtitles. Some members of my family honestly can not understand Shakespeare (or British accents) without the subtitles on.

                      Quality of the acting. Overacting seems to be a real problem on stage productions, and it can kill a scene.

                      I agree with smithamykat about the “reimagining” of Shakespeare plays. The movie version of Richard III with Ian McKellen set in 1930’s England was dreadful.

                      I rewatched the Kenneth Branagh version of Henry V last night. It is available on Prime. Really good, even if it did leave things out. Found myself getting goosebumps during the St.Crispin’s Day speech — and my family is French! The rendition of Non Nobis Domine is the one that I often play for the kids in the mornings to get them up and moving. (Try it out along with Sicut Cervus and Nessun Dorma. You will feel ready to take on the day.) As an aside, my 20 year old autistic son came in, looked at a scene and said, “Miss Marple.” Had me stumped for a minute until I realized that the part of Alice was being played by the same actress who played in one of the Miss Marple series — which he has never watched. But I think he must have seen her picture in our Prime video library. I can’t wait for him to see that Judi Dench (who my children know as “M” from James Bond and Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice) is the tavern hostess. Falstaff is the same actor that played Hagrid, and a very young Christian Bale plays Robin the luggage boy.

                      Blessings,
                      Jude
                      DD24
                      DS21
                      DS18
                      DS16
                      DD14
                      DS11
                      DD9

                      Comment


                        #12
                        SaintJude7 I totally agree about audio quality and subtitles. As for overacting, I've always wondered if it's because things need to be exaggerated or amplified a bit when you're in a theater, simply because the audience is not that close to you - but then when a production is recorded and you're watching it as if it were a movie, it feels a bit awkward. I don't know.

                        Nessun dorma.... Vincerooooo'! That's a great, roaring attitude to start the school day ?
                        DS (16)
                        DD (15)
                        DS (7)

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                          #13
                          Wait ---- St Crispin's Day speech? Do I have the chance to mention Tom Hiddleston AGAIN? ?

                          https://youtu.be/hHia1zu_YNI

                          Plans for 2022-23

                          Year 12 of homeschooling with MP

                          DD1 - 27 - college grad, bakery owner
                          DD2 - 16 - 11th grade - HLS Cottage School - online classes, looking at dual credit - equestrian and theatre
                          DS3 - 14 -7A Cottage School - soccer/tennis -dyslexia and dysgraphia
                          DS4 -14 - 7A Cottage School -soccer/tennis -auditory processing disorder
                          DD5 - 10- 5A, Cottage School - inattentive ADHD - equestrian and tumbling
                          DS6 - 9 - MP 1 - home with momma

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Mrs Bee View Post
                            another thread mentioned The Hollow Crown: again, is that a good one to watch with kids? I have a super-sensitive girl who can't stand violence or cruelty in movies, so I want to be careful.
                            Thank you!
                            While I personally enjoyed "The Hollow Crown", I couldn't recommend it (as wonderful as Tom Hiddleston is) for someone who really struggles with visual violence -- particularly the installment that focuses on the War of the Roses ("Henry VI, Parts 1-3" & "Richard III").

                            I thought Lawrence Oliver's "Henry V" was really wonderful -- albeit a tad dated -- but very interesting film making.

                            BBC television made TV adaptations of several of the plays in the 70s; we were able to find them through interlibrary loan. The performances can be kind of hit-or-miss with some actors, but I loved seeing a very young Alan Rickman as Tybalt in their version of "Romeo and Juliet." And we loved "The Taming of the Shrew" with John Cleese as Petruchio! I believe those DVD adaptation are subtitled as well.

                            Laura

                            Laura H.

                            DD: 16, special-needs: language processing issues (modified 7/8M Core), aspiring illustrator, our "Meg"
                            DD: 13 (8M with FFL Fall 2021), aspiring pediatric nurse, our "Jo"
                            DD: 9 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Beth"
                            DD: 9 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Amy"

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                              #15
                              Thank you so much MarmeeLaura, that's very helpful, since my goal was to gather knowledge without having to pre-watch everything.
                              DS (16)
                              DD (15)
                              DS (7)

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