Inspired by MFS at Mental Multivitamin, I recently determined to add some Shakespeare to my literary diet. Until now, my Shakespeare exposure has been limited to a pitiful introduction in high school literature class. I appreciate the advice given by MFS, specifically recommending these steps when approaching Shakespeare.
After some research into live productions available to me, I found this upcoming performance of Much Ado About Nothing at our local university. Coincidentally, my sister had just purchased the movie version for me as a Christmas gift. I decided it was fate. I checked the volume of abridged stories on my book shelf, Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children edited by Edith Nesbit, and, voila, Much Ado About Nothing was one of the included stories. That was it. I'll be starting with the children's version, moving on to the movie, attending the live performance this summer, then tackling the story in original written form this fall.
Just a week or two after my resolution, I got wind of a homeschool drama production featuring selected scenes from Othello and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Perfect. Levi won't escape Shakespeare this year. I pulled out our Shakespeare for Children recording by Jim Weiss which includes A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. Levi truly enjoys listening to stories on CD, and Jim Weiss recordings are a delight. His Shakespeare CD is no exception. This week we will visit both Othello and A Midsummer Night's Dream in our Edith Nesbit volume prior to attending the live performance. The Young Person's Guide to Shakespeare will find its way off our book shelf and onto our stack of current 'read-alouds.' We may revisit A Midsummer Night's Dream in movie form later this spring.
If all goes well, we'll be adding "Bard in the Quad" to our yearly summer traditions. Maybe I will have made it through the complete works of Shakespeare by the time I'm 80.