Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Last Thursday I took my English class, Avid class, Advanced Drama classes, and a few other kids to see "Romeo and Juliet" at the high school that rented us set pieces for "Mattress". Despite being in the throes of my latest illness, the field trip went well. The kids behaved well, the show was better than I expected, and the chaperons almost all showed up.

One student made me tremendously proud by telling me at intermission, "Did you notice that they cut off that line? They said, 'With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls' and then they stopped like it was the end, but it wasn't!" We played statue garden with key lines from the play earlier that week, and that was her group's line. I was thrilled that she had remembered it well enough to note their cuttings. On the other hand, one of the mother-chaperons tapped me on the shoulder at intermission and asked, "What language are they speaking?" I was in teacher-mode, and took the question as a reference to the lesson I had given about the history of the English language. When I said, "Early modern English," rather matter-of-factually, the mom looked a bit affronted, as though I was being condescending. She looked at me for a beat, then said, "I just don't understand a word they're saying." It's funny how much I feel like I have to educate the parents along with the students in this job.

I've been passing around a thank-you card for my kids to sign for the cast and crew. Before I send it off, though, I need to share with you some of their notes. They're just too entertaining to pass by unnoticed. And, for all further writings in the post, [sic].

Your play was good
I played Benvolio Better JK
But yeah good job.
- Chris

I liket the play &
everything that has to do w/it
It was a great play

Most of the guys from the play were drop dead gogeous.
They did a great job everything looked really awesome
and I love your school!
from: Tiffanie
P.S. Romeo was smexy
haha thats my word.

Deng!!, That play
was Tight, I hella' liked
Markreshio or whatever
he was hella Funny! Thanks
for inviting us it was REALLY
COOL! - Johnny

Ben Folio! OMG! I loved your character & the way you played him! U R Soo hot! (heart)/Breana P.S. (her phone number) Call Me

That was great!!
Fantastic -oh- (heart)
You guys were awesome
the guy in the monkey whatever suit was HOT!
LOL yeah. Well good job. Keep it up.
Juliet you are too cute. -Jerilynn

I (heart) you Marquseo!
- (heart) Tosha

Thanks for letting us
see that Awesome & hilarious play.
It was nice. (peace sign)-out
- Gabriel

When I look over notes like these, on one hand I feel like a good English teacher - after all, they're watching and paying attention to a Shakespeare play, empathizing with the characters and all. One the other hand, though, their grammar and spelling cause me great despair.


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