The precedents established in the UC Berkeley Shakespeare Program can be translated into a few practical procedures for course-work:
- Encourage students to memorize and perform brief extracts from assigned scripts.
- Use in-class clips of performances from Bardbox, YouTube, VHS or DVD.
- Ask local Shakespeare companies for class visits; most support audience building.
- Assign creative writing: a “missing” speech for a character defending an action in the play, or a sonnet, or a review of a production, or notes to prepare an actor for a part.
- Check out the historical background for a play and relate it to Shakespeare’s version.
- Relate a play or part of it to some similar text, e.g. Much Ado and Pride and Prejudice.
The detail in the previous sections of this site shows some of the planned interactions intended to develop the distinctive academic application Shakespeare/Performance/Writing.
Programmed images, with related bibliographical references and essay topics, are coupled with the new integration of YouTube into the present site’s operation. These new combinations lead to a richer and more fully interactive application for the site data, including the blog for participants’ comments and suggestions. This unique blend of resources demonstrates how to deploy performance approaches in creating effective critical responses to Shakespeare. The module is streamlined by cross-referencing to sources.
However, the pedagogical potential of this model is offered partly as a way of approaching the teaching of literature generally, and this has already been attempted at UC Berkeley. How comparable interrelated combination of resources may be made available for other authors, like Milton, is already available in our new site, described below. With the stress on interactive operations, and the intensified visual imaginations of modern students exposed consistently to the electronic world, the following account might properly be extended to almost any author, as suggested by similar sites devoted to appropriate subjects, such as the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Ben Jonson, John Dryden, or William Blake. A preliminary version of such an approach to Chaucer can be found in our DVD A Prologue to Chaucer, distributed by Films for the Humanities.