Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Shakespeare in da house!

We are learning about William Shakespeare this month. He was an Elizabethan who wrote lots of really popular and cool plays.

by Henry Fuseli
Last week we read some of his play A Midsummer Night's Dream where a man called Bottom is turned into a hairy donkey and the Queen of the Fairies falls in love with him because she's had a spell put on her!

We acted out a bit of the play, and Morris played the part of a Wall!! It was really funny!!!

Next week we are travelling to Stratford Upon Avon for one day to watch another of Shakespeare's famous plays.

The play's name is The Tempest and it will be performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, which is the most famous acting company in the world!

The ship being shipwrecked in The Tempest
In The Tempest (which means 'The Storm'), the King of Naples and his men are shipwrecked by a storm on an enchanted island filled with sprites and monsters, and ruled over by a magician called Prospero.

The king's son Prince Ferdinand falls in love with the magician's daughter, Miranda ... and that's when they discover who Prospero really is!

To get ready to see The Tempest, we have been listening to a recording, reading it aloud together and talking about the story. Soon we will act out a few short scenes ourselves, using masks we made for our Roman theatre lessons.

William Shakespeare uses lots of "ye olde" language because he was an Elizabethan writer. But his plays get easier to understand once you remember a few simple rules. Here are some of them:
Thou = you

Thy = your

Hast = has

Doth = do

Twas = it was

Wilt = will

and so on and so on.

Before the play starts, we're also planning to visit the house in Stratford where Shakespeare was born and grew up. We went to Stratford last year to watch a puppet show version of The Tempest, which was very cool, and also Dylan and Indigo acted in a Play-On! short version of The Tempest a few years ago in Rugby. So it's not too hard to remember the story!

Here's our favourite line from The Tempest, when one of the shipwrecked sailors meets Prospero's slave, a stinky monster called Caliban:
What have we here—a man or a fish?—dead or alive? A fish: he smells like a fish; a very ancient and fish-like smell ...

No comments: