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  1. #1

    William Shakespeare's Star Wars

    I just noticed this in an e-mail from Barnes & Noble:

    William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher.

    Sounds interesting. I think that experiencing the Star Wars story in a different style might make it seem fresh again, even if it is in the style of something written 500 years ago. Then again, that seems appropriate for a story set a long time ago.

  2. #2
    I saw something about that a few weeks ago. Reading an excerpt, it seemed pretty forced, which is a bit sad because I love SW and Shakespeare.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  3. #3
    I am waiting for the usual holiday weekend B&N coupon (fingers crossed) to get it this... well, holiday weekend. Can't wait to see how Yoda-speak fits into the Bard's iambic pentameter.

    [Edit] Just checked my in-box... there's a coupon email!
    Last edited by Bel-Cam Jos; 07-03-2013 at 09:09 AM. Reason: The savings, dear Brutus, is in the in-box.
    "That's what Sheev said."

  4. #4
    I saw this online recently, read the excerpt and then shook my head. These mashup books are really labored and too self-amused, this one especially feels like it thinks it's too cute presented as a play of the Bard, complete with ornate woodcarving plates.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  5. #5
    I would theoretically be interested in seeing an actual production of this, but I probably won't be picking up the book.
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  6. #6
    As a high school teacher of Shakespeare's work, I can't wait to see what this looks like. I can already see this concept as a future assignment for students. "Ok, kids. FOr the next few weeks, in groups of five, you're going to turn your favorite film, video game, comic book, or novel into an Elizabethan play correctly using iambic pentameter. Each student will write one act. All plays MUST feature iambic pentameter at key points, include soliloquies, and each play must begin with sonnet. Bonus credit for those that put on their plays on film. Double bonus credit for those who do them live in class from memory." That's just off the top of my head. In reality, we have very little time for something like this during the school year now that the principal focus is test preparation - which is often a valid expense of school time.

  7. #7
    I have done similar assignments before, Maradona, and while the students balk at how "hard" it is, they usually end up liking it and appreciating their own efforts. Usually, it's just a scene's worth of work, not a whole act.

    But I bought the book today. Best part: there's a sonnet at the end page. Its title? Sonnet 1138. Haven't read the actual words inside the book yet. Its subtitle is "Verily, A New Hope," so there may be five more versions later for each of the films.
    "That's what Sheev said."

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. JabbaJohnL View Post
    I would theoretically be interested in seeing an actual production of this, but I probably won't be picking up the book.
    Now that I can agree with, while I think the idea of selling this as a book is bleh, something about putting it on as a play would have amusement factor, like Star Wars in 30 minutes. Then again, I would think the stage version would be at least an hour longer than the film version.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maradona View Post
    As a high school teacher of Shakespeare's work, I can't wait to see what this looks like. I can already see this concept as a future assignment for students. "Ok, kids. FOr the next few weeks, in groups of five, you're going to turn your favorite film, video game, comic book, or novel into an Elizabethan play correctly using iambic pentameter. Each student will write one act. All plays MUST feature iambic pentameter at key points, include soliloquies, and each play must begin with sonnet. Bonus credit for those that put on their plays on film. Double bonus credit for those who do them live in class from memory." That's just off the top of my head. In reality, we have very little time for something like this during the school year now that the principal focus is test preparation - which is often a valid expense of school time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bel-Cam Jos View Post
    I have done similar assignments before, Maradona, and while the students balk at how "hard" it is, they usually end up liking it and appreciating their own efforts. Usually, it's just a scene's worth of work, not a whole act.

    But I bought the book today. Best part: there's a sonnet at the end page. Its title? Sonnet 1138. Haven't read the actual words inside the book yet. Its subtitle is "Verily, A New Hope," so there may be five more versions later for each of the films.
    You teachers and your quirks. Let me ask, what are students meant to get out of this? There's not a lot of call for modern stories told in Shakespearean fashion, so it's not a direct practical skill. And it's almost another language at this point. So what skill are they developing by doing something like this, adaptive skills, the ability to properly conceive of a material enough to output it in a different fashion?
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
    You teachers and your quirks. Let me ask, what are students meant to get out of this? There's not a lot of call for modern stories told in Shakespearean fashion, so it's not a direct practical skill. And it's almost another language at this point. So what skill are they developing by doing something like this, adaptive skills, the ability to properly conceive of a material enough to output it in a different fashion?
    We teach in California, which has had the CA Content Standards for more than 15 years or so. The new Common Core standards, which go into effort soon, do involve for non-fiction sources and "real-world" applications. Here are some examples, where such a lesson would fit, for 9th or 10th graders:

    Vocabulary and Concept Development
    1.1 Identify and use the literal and figurative meanings of words and understand word derivations.
    1.2. Distinguish between the denotative and connotative meanings of words and interpret the connotative power of words.
    2.0 Reading Comprehension
    2.4 Synthesize the content from several sources or works by a single author dealing with a single issue; paraphrase the ideas and connect them to other sources and related topics to demonstrate comprehension.
    2.5 Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration.
    3.0 Literary Response and Analysis
    Structural Features of Literature
    3.1 Articulate the relationship between the expressed purposes and the characteristics of different forms of dramatic literature (e.g., comedy, tragedy, drama, dramatic monologue).
    3.2 Compare and contrast the presentation of a similar theme or topic across genres to explain how the selection of genre shapes the theme or topic.
    Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
    3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.
    3.4 Determine characters' traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy.
    3.5 Compare works that express a universal theme and provide evidence to support the ideas expressed in each work.
    3.6 Analyze and trace an author's development of time and sequence, including the use of complex literary devices (e.g., foreshadowing, flashbacks).
    3.7 Recognize and understand the significance of various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism, and explain their appeal.
    3.8 Interpret and evaluate the impact of ambiguities, subtleties, contradictions, ironies, and incongruities in a text.
    3.9 Explain how voice, persona, and the choice of a narrator affect characterization and the tone, plot, and credibility of a text.
    3.10 Identify and describe the function of dialogue, scene designs, soliloquies, asides, and character foils in dramatic literature.
    Literary Criticism
    3.11 Evaluate the aesthetic qualities of style, including the impact of diction and figurative language on tone, mood, and theme, using the terminology of literary criticism. (Aesthetic approach)
    3.12 Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period. (Historical approach)
    1.0 Writing Strategies
    1.2 Use precise language, action verbs, sensory details, appropriate modifiers, and the active rather than the passive voice.
    2.1 Write biographical or autobiographical narratives or short stories:
    a. Relate a sequence of events and communicate the significance of the events to the audience.
    b. Locate scenes and incidents in specific places.
    c. Describe with concrete sensory details the sights, sounds, and smells of a scene and the specific actions, movements, gestures, and feelings of the characters; use interior monologue to depict the characters' feelings.
    d. Pace the presentation of actions to accommodate changes in time and mood.
    e. Make effective use of descriptions of appearance, images, shifting perspectives, and sensory details.
    2.2 Write responses to literature:
    a. Demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the significant ideas of literary works.
    b. Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text or to other works.
    c. Demonstrate awareness of the author's use of stylistic devices and an appreciation of the effects created.
    d. Identify and assess the impact of perceived ambiguities, nuances, and complexities within the text.

    Or, to trivialize the entire profession: it's a teacher thing. You wouldn't understand.
    "That's what Sheev said."

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Bel-Cam Jos View Post
    We teach in California, which has had the CA Content Standards for more than 15 years or so. The new Common Core standards, which go into effort soon, do involve for non-fiction sources and "real-world" applications.

    Or, to trivialize the entire profession: it's a teacher thing. You wouldn't understand.
    Word!

    Shakespeare appears in more than one content area and is directly referenced. Here are visual and performing arts examples:

    Creation/Invention in Theatre



    • 2.2 Write dialogues and scenes, applying basic dramatic structure: exposition, complication, conflict, crises, climax, and resolution.
    • 2.3 Design, produce, or perform scenes or plays from a variety of theatrical periods and styles, including Shakespearean and contemporary realism.


    And since I teach 11th and 12th grade English, here's a brief sampling:
    Structural Features of Literature
    3.1 Analyze characteristics of subgenres (e.g., satire, parody, allegory, pastoral) that are usedin poetry, prose, plays, novels, short stories, essays, and other basic genres.
    3.3 Analyze the ways in which irony, tone, mood, the author’s style, and the “sound” of language achieve specific rhetorical or aesthetic purposes or both.
    3.4 Analyze ways in which poets use imagery, personification, figures of speech, and sounds to evoke readers’ emotions.
    3.6 Analyze the way in which authors through the centuries have used archetypes drawnfrom myth and tradition in literature, film, political speeches, and religious writings(e.g., how the archetypes of banishment from an ideal world may be used to interpretShakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth).

    Speaking
    2.3 Deliver oral responses to literature: a. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the significant ideas of literary works (e.g., make assertions about the text that are reasonable and supportable).

    1. Analyze the imagery, language, universal themes, and unique aspects of the text through the use of rhetorical strategies (e.g., narration, description, persuasion, exposition, a combination of those strategies).





    2.1 Write fictional, autobiographical, or biographical narratives:
    Narrate a sequence of events and communicate their significance to the audience.

      1. Locate scenes and incidents in specific places.
      2. Describe with concrete sensory details the sights, sounds, and smells of a scene and
        the specific actions, movements, gestures, and feelings of the characters; use interior
        monologue to depict the characters’ feelings.
      3. Pace the presentation of actions to accommodate temporal, spatial, and dramatic mood
        changes.
      4. Make effective use of descriptions of appearance, images, shifting perspectives, and
        sensory details.

    1. 2.2 Write responses to literature:
      1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the significant ideas in works orpassages.
      2. Analyze the use of imagery, language, universal themes, and unique aspects of thetext.
      3. Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references tothe text and to other works.
      4. Demonstrate an understanding of the author’s use of stylistic devices and an apprecia*tion of the effects created.
      5. Identify and assess the impact of perceived ambiguities, nuances, and complexitieswithin the text.



    The tabs are off, but Shakespeare is a huge part of high school English classes (except in the 11th grade). But your point, JT, about the validity of such an assignment is solid. There is no part of the SAT or in most majors in college where students will write a play in any style, let alone Shakespeare's. The state tests won't assess them on their ability to recite lines or make rhymes. It is for those reasons and others that work in my classroom must be grounded in and governed by relevancy. Spending two months having the kids learn to make togas and memorize Brutus and Anthony's speeches is fun waste of two months, but a waste nonetheless. Out of the nearly two hundred students I have each year, I doubt if more than 1 or 2 will become English majors, much less drama majors - and if they were to inquire about these, I would quickly attempt to dissuade them from entertaining such a dire possibility. But if you have to teach someone about something, making them do something related to it is a worthwhile idea. We have to teach Shakespeare (thankfully) according to the California Department of Education and we have very little time to do so in body of the year. After next year, though, when schools move to the national Common Core Standards, students will be analyzing "workplace documents" far more than the Bard. "To fill out this application correctly or not to fill out this application. That is the assignment. Whether it be nobler in the classroom to suffer the text and fine print of outrageous lease agreements or take up pens against them and, by annotation, understand them." Yes, the kids are doomed...
    Last edited by Maradona; 07-05-2013 at 02:11 AM. Reason: Mistakenly hit the tab button...

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