Skip to comments.The Greatest English Teacher
Posted on 12/07/2011 7:11:37 AM PST by Kaslin
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Wow. Wish I had had him. Sounds very good.
If only I could witness a wonderful production of King Lear. I’ve seen Nigel Hawthorne do it and Ian McKellen and one other person who I can’t remember - probably Derek Jacobi. Sam Waterston just bombed in it in NYC. All of them were terrible.
The only time I saw greatness were the scenes from King Lear in the film “The Dresser.” Albert Finney, the brilliant, is devastating in the final scene.
It’s a good thing Shakespeare never studied under Father Becker. But for people who just want to see or read plays and not write them, he’s seems like a regular guy.
I went to Amazon, searched on “Becker”, “John Becker”, and then tried “Luke Wolfe”. Couldn’t find his books.
The thing that bugs me about most of the high-end Shakespeare productions is that you can't understand a damned word they're saying. Most of the actors think it very sophisticated to blow right through the dialogue. When I watch Shakespeare on DVD I always keep the subtitles turned on.
Shakespeare’s works were the fruits of a mind unfettered by convention. Creativity isn’t fostered by pedantry, though perhaps an appreciation of other people’s creativity might be.
Is it the British accent? Whenever I see a production of Shakespeare, I assume I’m going to miss a great deal of it because of the difficulty of the language.
Several years ago I saw an hilarious production of Ben Jonson’s “The Alchemist” at the National Theatre. The actors completely raced through the script (which is amazingly dense and difficult) but it really worked!
I think that's part of it. I generally don't have too many problems with Elizabethan English, but the accents certainly get in the way. Of course in Shakespeare's time the accents were probably closer to American than they are now. Still, I think it's the way they just race through the dialogue. One production that was better than the rest was BBC's "Age of Kings" series--in which I can almost make shift without the subtitles.
Not only that, but they always put on the thickest royal accents out of pure pomposity, which is absolutely historically inaccurate.
The correct accent would be no easier to understand, perhaps more difficult, but the royals in Shakespeare’s time would sound like the country bumpkins of Monty Python’s. And, of course, neither Julius Caesar, Hamlet, MacBeth, Romeo, Juliet, nor King Lear spoke English, anyway.
So, by all means, speak in Shakespeare’s dialect, so the richness of his language can be learnt, but speak such words simply so they can be heard and learned, and in the clearest of accents.
Yes indeed, and by all means, slow it down a bit!
Guess it just isn’t my day, your link gives me “Document Not Found”.
My high school English teacher who was charged with Shakespeare did the same thing. He’s a professional actor and this was the day job. We got “admonished” several times for reading ahead on our own(the whole class did it at various points). However, this format makes the stories fun, interesting, and readable. It was hard to leave off at a pivotal point in the plays with the whole weekend to go, especially if the class wasn’t to be held on Monday or Friday.
I know and appreciate MacBeth, Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Taming of the Shrew because of this format. Now I wish that we also read King Lear.
I was blessed to have an English teacher just like that in high school. He was, and remains to this day, a hero to his students.
Oh, and our memorization was one of his poems, though, not lines from the plays. Papers and exams were on both. Before starting the play each day, we read and briefly discussed his poetry.
My geatest engish teacher and the greatest HS teacher was father Brendan Comisky. Most of our priests were Irish and young. He was very bright.
Of course we only read one non-English, Irish author. John Steinbeck.
He could see right through you. No lies or BS in his class.
He became a Bishop in Ireland.
One day a few years ago, the Times of London reported he transferred a pedophile priest and did not call the police.
He went to Rome and resigned. They made him a priest in a small parish. Pity.
My best teacher was Madame St. Virgilius. She was remarkable in every way.
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