ERIC Number: EJ856324
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Reference Count: 7
"Stand and Unfold Your Self": New Moves for Exploring "Hamlet"
Rocklin, Edward L.
English Journal, v99 n1 p79-84 Sep 2009
One way of understanding the impact of the (re)emergence of a performance approach to teaching Shakespeare's plays that was, in part, initiated by the "Shakespeare Set Free" program and the books its creators composed is to say that for many teachers their work initiated the process of making performance activities central in English classrooms. This author illustrates the heuristic power of this approach by focusing on some small but crucial elements in the texts of "Hamlet." Building on the work on "Hamlet" published in his book "Performance Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare," Rocklin presents performance activities that open the door for exploring the interplay of punctuation and props; the function of allusions; the recognition of speech as action; the function of imagery for the actor creating a character and shaping the experience of an audience; the function of repetition in creating an interpretive challenge; and the way in which a single line present only in the Folio text can reshape not just an exchange between two characters but also prompt new performance choices earlier in the action. These activities can produce illuminating student performances and also prompt discussion that moves from the specific moment to larger issues about the play "and" about learning to read the play as a performance text. As they move through these activities, students not only learn something about what happens in "Hamlet," but also about how the play works and how they might come to read dramatic texts in ways that are more alert and responsive to the medium-specific strategies employed by the dramatist.
Descriptors: English Literature, Drama, Teaching Methods, Class Activities, Hermeneutics, Story Grammar, Dramatic Play, Content Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A