Saturday, June 23, 2007

Here's a note from Robert Savage

Shakespeare Defined (, which just launched, is a version of the Complete Works with a difference -- it has over 400,000 "mousenotes" (context-sensitive word definitions) accessible simply by hovering one's mouse over a word.

The definitions were painstakingly mapped from Schmidt's "Shakespeare Lexicon".

Here's a sample page:

The goal is to help readers understand the plays, poems, and sonnets like never before.

I'll probably charge a nominal fee for the service in the near future, but for now it's free.

Hope you enjoy it!

Robert Savage
Kyogen meets Shakespeare: Nomura Mansai's take on Richard III

Kyogen player Nomura Mansai compares the works of William Shakespeare to a giant tree with a dense tangle of branches. "You need to trim the branches when presenting the works in a kyogen style, since it is a much simpler form of performing art," Nomura said.

So, Nomura is going to present Kuninusubito (Thief of a Nation), a kyogen-inspired play based on Richard III, at Setagaya Public Theatre in Tokyo later this month as something like a "beautiful bonsai tree."
Placing Shakespeare in an African context

The relevance of the works of William Shakespeare in the African educational curriculum often raises questions from various sectors. Why should Shakespeare be recommended as a national set-work year in and year out, when there are internationally renowned works from African writers like Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka?

Victor Houliston, associate professor of English at Wits University says, "Shakespeare continues to be central to the English curriculum not only because of his unequalled influence on contemporary authors and his unparalleled fame as a writer, but because people throughout the world find that he tells their story, here and now."

However, schoolchildren can now have the best of both worlds. Nasou Via Afrika, a leading educational publisher in South Africa has partnered with Wits University to produce a series of books that marks an exciting new approach to teaching and learning Shakespeare in an African context.

"Instead of trying to 'Africanise' Shakespeare, we encourage learners to be inspired, by their enjoyment of Shakespeare, to read works by African writers that raise similar issues or develop similar situations. "This gives the text currency and links it to contemporary African issues which school children relate to and engage with," says Houliston.

"The book introduces the rich tradition of African literature while supporting the teaching of Shakespeare and the text is designed to enhance learners' understanding and enjoyment of the play."

The series offers the original text, together with line-by-line notes that explain the text and offer comprehensive background information. It includes a clear commentary after every scene and act and includes practical exercises.

Houliston's team includes experienced teachers such as Harriet Davis, Peter Farrands, Zwelakhe Mtsaka and Joanna Parmenter, all of whom have close connections with Wits.

Davis and Parmenter are graduates of the prestigious MA in English Education programme, developed by Denise Newfield of the English Department.

The first book of this innovative series, Macbeth, was launched at Cape Town Book Fair. The series will also be launched at the Seventh Triennial Congress of the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa that takes place 25 June at Rhodes University, Grahamstown and a teachers' workshop is also scheduled to take place in Gauteng later this year.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sword fights and sad tales? Must be Shakespeare |

Sword fights and sad tales? Must be Shakespeare

For kids: Every spring, Denver's students get to participate in a festival honoring the world's most influential playwright and poet.

Drumbeats and tambourines echoed off the high-rise buildings and into the bright May sky, as excited students waved school banners through the air and chanted, "Will Power, Will Power – Shakespeare!"

It's the 23rd annual Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival, a day that honors the most influential playwright and poet who ever lived.
The Georgian Tbilisi State Pantomime Theatre to Stage Shakespeare’s Sonnets Silently

Dato Shalikashvili, director of the piece, started to think about this performance about one year ago, and he has been thinking about it till this day. During this time—five months already!—he has been working on it. The troupe rehearses the piece on stage, and Dato continues to think. It seems like he wants to make a perfect show. However, he has time to think till the day of premiere, June 27.

The genre of pantomime—like Shakespeare’s dramatic pieces—is always topical, right for any time, in any place. Classic is classic, and nobody can refute this fact. Today, when our life and the world around us changes its face, we can transform old things and show them in a new way. Shalikashvili a has peculiar view, and because of this his play is really original. Like a person of the Renaissance, he is trying to build new walls on a classical foundation.