Monday, September 26, 2005

Much Ado About Shakespeare

We had a Shakespeare reading at our house yesterday afternoon. About 25 of us (ages 10 through adult, including a blind relative with her parts in Braille) read Much Ado About Nothing followed by a spaghetti dinner/potluck. We sure had a blast.

Usually John and I pawn the big parts off to others in the group, but we had a smaller group than usual (this is our fourth Shakespeare reading over the course of the last year or so), so we did Benedick and Beatrice. What fun! (And I had just enough breaks to the manage the food in the kitchen.)

It's amazing how much Shakespeare comes to life in this informal setting (with a wide variety of reading talents). My ten year old son and his cousin of the same age enjoyed listening to the entire play (and had small parts to read themselves). They certainly are made to be read aloud rather than to oneself.

Using the handy-dandy medium of e-mail, it's an easy party to plan and I assign parts ahead of time so that they can be read-through beforehand. It's easy to print up copies of the play from the web (we cut and paste into Word and then each family member highlights their own parts and prints their own copy). Try it some time. Great experience and a lot of fun.

By the way, I should credit some of my tutors from Thomas Aquinas College, who hosted Shakespeare readings for students on occasion, for sparking the idea in the first place. For those, we weren't assigned parts, people would just grab a part and run with it.


Nancy C. Brown said...

Sounds vunderbar! We'll have to try that sometime.

Love2Learn Mom said...

Hey - you're not that far away. I'll send you an e-mail invite next time we have one. :)

Nancy C. Brown said...

Cool! I wanted to suggest that, but then thought how fun it would be to do one...but I'll attend one first...13year old is memorizing MacBeth right now, and it is so powerful out loud!

Mary Eileen said...

We are reading Shakespeare aloud with just my 15 and 13 year old daughters and myself, and we have a blast. We have to double up on parts in almost every act, of course, but that just adds to the fun as we try to remember to do the voice changes as we change from one character to the next. I agree, there's no better way to read Shakespeare than aloud in a group -- even a small group of three!