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Why Shakespeare Belongs In Prison
The Atlantic ^ | APR 23 2014 | Karen Swallow

Posted on 04/23/2014 9:37:36 AM PDT by nickcarraway

The incarcerated may be the Bard's ideal modern audience.

It's his 450th birthday, and The Bard has never appealed to a wider or more diverse audience. American higher-ed English departments may be teaching him less than they used to, but the Internet and modern film and TV interpretations have helped democratize appreciation of his works around the world. That’s only fitting: In Shakespeare’s era, the royalty in attendance at his productions was joined by crowds of commoners called “groundlings” and “stinkards” who paid a penny to stand in the pit, sweltering in the heat, while even more milled about outside.

Related Story

'Shakespeare Must Be a Black Girl' There’s one “commoner” population to whom Shakespeare can hold special significance: convicts. Recent decades have seen a proliferation of programs in prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers meant to introduce the accused to works found in the Folios and Quartos. While arts outreach efforts in correctional environments are nothing new, any diehard Shakespearean might recognize how his works appeal uniquely to the criminally accused, one of society’s most marginalized populations.

Laura Bates, author of Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary With the Bard, described teaching the plays in a super-max facility housing the most violent criminals in the system in an interview last year with NPR. The book’s title comes from the words of one inmate, convicted of murder as a teenager and placed in solitary confinement for years.

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Education
KEYWORDS: shakespeare

1 posted on 04/23/2014 9:37:36 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Cool article.
I've vowed to reread Shakespeare this year - I've knocked off The Tempest and King Lear so far.
Next up: "Macbeth"
2 posted on 04/23/2014 9:45:41 AM PDT by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: nickcarraway
Every so often we throw a "Midsummer Night's Dream Party" - pick 20 or so friends - give them copies of the script - assign parts - then get together some warm summer night.

Folks read their parts, they don't have to memorize lines.

But costumes are acceptable, especially when Bottom becomes an Ass.

Serve some wine, or better, mead and be prepared for much hilarity.

3 posted on 04/23/2014 9:59:06 AM PDT by eCSMaster ("It is not the color of his skin, ... it is the blackness that fills his soul")
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To: Psalm 73

Shakespeare is poetry.

I would suggest to anyone starting in Shakespeare - first watch ANY of Kenneth Branagh’s film productions - Hamlet, Othello, Henry V. Absolutely fabulous.

I wish Branagh would return to this instead of BBC crime shows and secondary parts in Hollywood films


4 posted on 04/23/2014 10:05:08 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: Psalm 73

Twelfth Night is my absolute favorite.


5 posted on 04/23/2014 10:09:17 AM PDT by MrsEmmaPeel (a government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have)
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To: PGR88

But I loved him as Professor Lockhart!


6 posted on 04/23/2014 10:39:21 AM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: MrsEmmaPeel

Have you seen the Trevor Nunn film version? The intro’s a bit contrived, but once they’re on the beach it comes more fully back into the original script. It’s actually one of my favorite films.

“My Shakespeare, rise....”


7 posted on 04/23/2014 11:48:08 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: PGR88

I wish he’d do “Macbeth” with a Patrick Doyle score.


8 posted on 04/23/2014 11:54:19 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: PGR88
"I would suggest to anyone starting in Shakespeare -"

I've read a ton, but none since about 1980.
I'm having fun with it - probably spill over well into next year, too.

9 posted on 04/23/2014 11:54:47 AM PDT by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: onedoug

Oh, yes indeedy! I do like that one very much. One of my favorite film productions of TN was a BBC production done in 1980 - with Felicity Kendal, Alec McCowan and Robert Hardy.


10 posted on 04/23/2014 11:55:58 AM PDT by MrsEmmaPeel (a government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have)
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To: nickcarraway
I am waiting foe Obama to be pacing the floor in his final degradation moaning, “O’ what a rogue and peasant slave am I...”, Richard II.
11 posted on 04/23/2014 12:06:42 PM PDT by Little Bill (EVICT Queen Jean)
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To: onedoug

Suggest skipping Much Ado About Nothing by Joss Whedon.


12 posted on 04/23/2014 4:10:19 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan

I actually knew Joss Whedon once. He gave me a review of a script I’d written for a different show, same production company. He told me, “I can be cruel.”

“Be cruel,” I said.

He gave it back to me with just a few notes, but wrote on the back page how impressed with it he actually was, and signed it. The other show never used it, but I still have it today. Some sense of “certification” I suppose, that I can be a “structured” writer at least.

But you’re right. I think I’ll skip that one.

Thanks.


13 posted on 04/23/2014 5:52:31 PM PDT by onedoug
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