14 May 2006

Language Arts

We have learnt a new language - Shakespearian English.
As we have reported here previously, we started our discovery of William Shakespeare's plays with his comedies. We have now seen Taming of the Shrew, Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, As You Like it, Midsummer's Night Dream, Twelfth Night, Loves Labours Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, Merchant of Venice and tonight we saw The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The subtitles have helped us understand the English spoken within the plays. When we first saw Taming of the Shrew it took 45 minutes before we realised they were speaking English. Now we are all laughing as the actors speak their puns and witticisms.
Our first exposure to more serious drama was within Much Ado about Nothing when Hero is denounced by Claudio and Don Pedro at the altar on the wedding day. It all works out with much laughter, but as we work our way through the comedies we will be better prepared for the more dramatic plays.
The BBC Complete Dramatic Works of Shakespeare collection is a great way to discover the roots of so many phrases we use regularly, and discover so many movie plotlines which are just a re-presentation of Shakespeare's stories.
Once we have seen the play, Ariel reads the script. The interesting thing is that as all the family is discovering the plots of the plays, we are seeing references in other books and films and can understand the references.
In one episode of Lucky Luke, starring Terrence Hill, Jack Dalton is carrying a spade for the "grave digging scene in The Twelfth Night".
"There's no grave digging scene in Twelfth night!" I called out just before Lucky Luke said the same thing.
Lana had a bad taste of Othello when she was in year 10 as it was killed by analysis in her English class. Every time a paragraph was read the teacher stopped and asked, "Now what did that mean? What are they saying?" Aaarrggh! How can you get the story if it is always being interrupted.
Our plan is enjoy the plays, learn the language, and slowly move to the dramatic parts and have a discussion afterward. And as we are enjoying the plays we are getting requests for repeat viewings.
The 37 play Collection is available in the US for over $1,500, or about $30 (US) per play!
However it can be bought at MovieMail UK for 200 pounds. It is region 2 coding, but by buying a multi region DVD player you can save a fortune and have the complete collection. Think of it as an investment in English Literature and Culture.


Anonymous said...

Could you tell me what a region is and how do I know what if my DVD player is multiregion?



DavidofOz said...

Typically when you buy a DVD player in the US it is region 1, Australia it is Region 4 and UK region 2. This is part of a deal by the DVD/Movie companies to stop people buying a DVD in one place and using it another.
If you tried to play a region 4 DVD in a Region 1 player it won't play.
In the US it is very easy to get a multi region/multi screen format (PAL/NTSC) player. www.dvdoverseas.com is a good example.

patternnuts said...

Thanks! May have to look into this!