Kids Performing Shakespeare

The Tempest 1

Here are a group of eighth graders in a clip from The Tempest. The songs are “Come unto These Yellow Sands” and “Full Fathom Five.”  Songs copyright Michael Martin, 2006.

The Tempest 2

In this clip we see Ariel bring the shipwrecked court to Prospero, and then the magician releases Ariel from his service. Overjoyed, the spirit sings the song, “Where the Bee Sucks.”    Songs copyright Michael Martin, 2006.

Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Epilogue. “If we shadows have offended…”   The image is a little grainy, but the performance is very nice. She was 13 at the time.

“What a piece of work is a man!” –a speech from Hamlet

Since it is not always possible, practical, or desirable to perform an entire play, the odd speech from a Shakespeare can often do the trick. This clip shows an eighth grade class in all of their nihilistic glory reciting Hamlet’s “What a piece of a work is a man!” speech. The students learned the piece under my direction as an accompaniment to a unit on modern history. I was trying to show them the change in consciousness from the Renaissance humanist sense of wonder to the more pragmatic, skeptical modern sensibility. This kind of sojurn into other disciplines broadens student understanding.

The class worked with me on recitation for about three weeks, 5-10 minutes a day. On the day we taped, two students were absent; but their classmates had no trouble picking up the slack. Note their cool style of dress.

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