“We few, we happy few, we band of band of brothers”

14 Jun

For those of you who don’t recognize my title quote, it is from William Shakespeare’s Henry V. I know there are a lot of mixed feelings for Shakespeare, but hopefully everyone can at least appreciate everything he did for the theater world. My program assigned Shakespeare’s Henry V for class. We did our usual discussion of the text and related it to how we would teach it as future educators. What was the cool thing about our discussion?  We went to The Globe Theater later that evening to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Henry V! After seeing the play performed at The Globe, my whole class agreed that Shakespeare should never be taught simply using the text.

Shakespeare wrote plays. Why teachers continue to teach Shakespeare by just reading the play is a mystery to me. I realize that it is impossible for every student to see a performance at The Globe, but if students could see any sort of Shakespeare production, or even a movie of the play, then I know Shakespeare would come to life for them. Seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Henry V confirmed my love for his plays. When I studied in London last summer, I saw Much Ado About Nothing at The Globe. That play is a comedy while Henry V is history. However, I enjoyed them both for the differences they offered. I should mention that my class and I stood in the “pit” of the theater. We stood the entire play on the cement ground in front of the stage. This allowed us to interact with the play (as actors extended their stage to the ground during some parts of the play), and it allowed us to experience what is was like for the peasants who couldn’t afford seating back in the day. They were called Groundlings.  All in all, The Globe was an incredible cultural experience for us. In fact, some of us are going back on Friday to see Hamlet performed!

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