A Midsummer's Night Dream

Overview

Conceived and written by two classically trained American stage actors, this workbook in Smith & Kraus' Discovering Shakespeare Series is a student's gateway to understanding Shakespeare. The side-by-side presentation of the original language and a "translation" into the vernacular allows the student to quickly understand and appreciate the play. There is accompanying instruction about Shakespearean English, character analyses, and performance information.

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Overview

Conceived and written by two classically trained American stage actors, this workbook in Smith & Kraus' Discovering Shakespeare Series is a student's gateway to understanding Shakespeare. The side-by-side presentation of the original language and a "translation" into the vernacular allows the student to quickly understand and appreciate the play. There is accompanying instruction about Shakespearean English, character analyses, and performance information.

A guide to reading, understanding, and performing Shakespeare's A midsummer night's dream.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jeanne M. McGlinn
Introducing middle school students to Shakespeare might seem like a radical ideal until you read Olster and Hamilton's play workbooks in this Young Actors series. Each workbook follows a similar design. An abridged version of the Shakespearean play is juxtaposed with a vernacular or contemporary translation, detailed scene descriptions, and stage directions (set in parallel columns across double pages). The intention is that the vernacular version will serve as a bridge to reading and understanding Shakespeare's play by introducing children to the intricacies of plot and character through "everyday" language. Then students will be ready to tackle Shakespeare's own language, which, the authors insist, should always be used for performance. Introductory essays give background to the play: the manners or customs of Elizabethan times and the relationships between characters. After the text of the play, there are descriptions of theatrical conventions, how to get into character, and the rehearsal process. The abridgement simplifies the original play, while preserving the action and main meaning of the characters' speeches. The authors note that they "have taken some minor liberties with Shakespeare's text to accommodate our abridged version." In fact the abridgement is often sufficient for understanding the play. Still, their "vernacular version" of the play is useful in sorting out sentence structure and the vocabulary of the original. The authors' suggestion that students look up every word they don't know ought to be ignored; their better suggestion is to get the meaning through acting out the play. Students could use the workbook to get the meaning they need and then trust their own readings of Shakespeare's words. Teachers will find these books useful reference tools to paraphrase the plays or provide directions for acting scenes. Glossary. Biblio. Note: This review was written and published to address three titles: Discovering Shakespeare: A Midsummer's Night Dream: A Workbook for Students and Teachers, Discovering Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet: A Workbook for Students and Teachers and Discovering Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew: A Workbook for Students and Teachers.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-These series entries are designed "...to instill a love of Shakespeare and to encourage the next generation of young people to attend our theatres...." To this end, the authors will surely succeed. Each well-organized volume begins with suggestions for effective use of the book, followed by discussions of ideas and characters. Using a four-column format, the authors provide a description of each scene, both a vernacular and an abridged original transcript of Shakespeare's text, and suggested blocking for performance. The scene descriptions are clear and concise, and the blocking is simple and straightforward, although not always in the purest Shakespearean tradition. Although there are occasional lapses into modern-day slang, the vernacular translations generally attempt to follow the original quite closely. The abridged texts do a good job of conveying the essence of the action-often at the expense of the poetry's cadence, however. Nevertheless, the authors clearly state that these versions are intended to lead students back to the originals. Essays on Shakespeare's language and the rehearsal process follow the script, as do acting exercises and production suggestions for props, costumes, and set design. More extensive and for an older audience than Leon Garfield's illustrated abridged versions (Knopf), these accessible workbooks will also be a help to teachers staging productions of the bard's most famous plays.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575250427
  • Publisher: Smith & Kraus, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/15/1996
  • Series: Young Actors Series
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.58 (w) x 11.04 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2000

    outstanding

    great book!!!!!!!!!!!!

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