Performing Shakespeare: Teaching Literature through Theatre Practice

By Prof. Katrine Wong, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Following the success of six 40-minute productions by students of ‘The English Renaissance’ (2015) — selected scenes from Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle and John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, students of the undergraduate Shakespeare course (2015) put on five 30-minute productions last Friday in the Black Box Theatre. These productions were selected scenes from Macbeth and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Performance is always a pedagogical component of my teaching repertoire. With the exception of closet drama, plays are written to be performed; textual discussion coupled with theatrical experiment yield a more comprehensive understanding of a play. In working with Shakespearean texts, students have ample space to apply their understanding of thematic and socio-historical contexts into (re)imagining and (re)creating stage traffic and mise-en-scène of the/a Shakespearean stage. This year’s Shakespeare cohort paid particular attention to the exploration and interpretation of the indirect stage directions embedded in their characters’ lines. The multi-faceted talents of our English majors are once again showcased in their poster design, programme notes, directing, acting, costume and make-up, sound and lighting. Their dedication and creativity never fail to delight and amaze.

“…textual discussion coupled with theatrical experiment yield a more comprehensive understanding”

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May I take this opportunity to thank the CTLE for lending us high-quality filming equipment, the FAH General Office for promotional and technical help and support, the audience who laughed, cringed and held your breath with us, among which were faculty members and undergraduate and postgraduate students from various Faculties, and, most important of all, the brilliant student performers.
By |2016-01-21T10:14:52+08:00December 1st, 2015|T&L Blog|0 Comments

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