In one of the most significant cultural finds from Elizabethan England, British archeologists have uncovered the remains of the Curtain Theater in a back alley behind a London pub. Though groundlings may not know its significance compared to the world famous Globe Theater, the Curtain was one of the first stages to showcase the work of William Shakespere. It saw the debut of some of his most famous works, including Henry V and Romeo & Juliet.London planners are apparently looking into turning the remains of the Curtain Theater into a tourist attraction as quickly as possible. That’s fine with Via Meadia; anything that gets new generations in to see Shakespeare performed is good news.Since those dim early days when I first encountered Shakespeare’s plays (don’t ask about the 8th grade production of Twelfth Night in which I played Orsino opposite a Viola played by one of my classmates at the all-boys Pundit High), I’ve noticed that succeeding generations of students have a harder time with the Bard. Some of my colleagues attribute this to the general Decline and Fall of Everything, but I think there’s a more specific cause.When I was a kid, the King James Bible was still the translation used in most churches, Bible schools and personal devotion. “Thee” and “thou” weren’t used every day, but many of us grew up addressing the Deity with those pronouns and nobody ever had to tell us how to conjugate the appropriate verbs: I am, thou art.More, the constructions, the literary sensibility and the vocabulary of the King James Bible prepared us for Shakespeare even as our familiarity with that text made Shakespeare’s English sound more ‘normal.’Moving past the King James was a good thing for the religious development of the English speaking world; the growing distance between contemporary speech and the venerable rhythms of that excellent work threatened to render Scripture inaccessible to people without special training. The contemporary plethora of Biblical translations allows people to hear that message much more directly, and that’s a good thing.Religion’s gain, however, is literature’s loss. Slowly and inexorably, Shakespeare is becoming harder for many young people to follow. It’s all the more reason for teachers (and actors and directors) to think hard about how to make him come alive in the classroom or on stage.
Early Shakespearean Theater Discovered Behind East London Pub
Newer Post Blue Civil War in the Nation’s Most Unionized State Older Post Readers Advise Recent Grads