Monday, September 26, 2005

Much Ado About Shakespeare

We had a Shakespeare reading at our house yesterday afternoon. About 25 of us (ages 10 through adult, including a blind relative with her parts in Braille) read Much Ado About Nothing followed by a spaghetti dinner/potluck. We sure had a blast.

Usually John and I pawn the big parts off to others in the group, but we had a smaller group than usual (this is our fourth Shakespeare reading over the course of the last year or so), so we did Benedick and Beatrice. What fun! (And I had just enough breaks to the manage the food in the kitchen.)

It's amazing how much Shakespeare comes to life in this informal setting (with a wide variety of reading talents). My ten year old son and his cousin of the same age enjoyed listening to the entire play (and had small parts to read themselves). They certainly are made to be read aloud rather than to oneself.

Using the handy-dandy medium of e-mail, it's an easy party to plan and I assign parts ahead of time so that they can be read-through beforehand. It's easy to print up copies of the play from the web (we cut and paste into Word and then each family member highlights their own parts and prints their own copy). Try it some time. Great experience and a lot of fun.

By the way, I should credit some of my tutors from Thomas Aquinas College, who hosted Shakespeare readings for students on occasion, for sparking the idea in the first place. For those, we weren't assigned parts, people would just grab a part and run with it.

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