Thursday, April 12, 2012

Read it with Passion!

"The plays' the thing wherin I'll catch the conscience of the king." Act II Scene ii

"Read it with passion, Jared!" It's only 8:00 in the morning, but it looks like one of us had already made multiple trips to Starbucks before class started. How could a person have so much energy this early in the morning? I glanced over at my teacher, Mrs. F, who held a plastic sword and was pointing it at a stricken student in the front row. We were currently in the process of assigning roles for our dramatic reading of the day, and my teacher was choosing her victims carefully. Mrs. F made Jared practice his lines several times before she was satisfied with his performance. Welcome to my first hour English class. Yesterday Mrs. F stood on a desk waving scissors around her head as she read the infamous poem, "The Rape of the Lock" (no-it's not what you think, some girl just gets part of her hair cut off). We now refer to scissors as forfexs in that class.

For the past couple of weeks, however, the focus of our studies has been Hamlet. Hamlet is one of my teacher's favorite works, which is apparent by her enthusiasm. She is satisfied with our dramatic readings only when we have disrupted the class next door, "louder, louder! You're supposed to be angry here! Make me believe it!" My teacher is known for being one of the most passionate teachers in the school.

Mrs. F swung her sword again, almost hitting a student. "Fabulous job, just fabulous!" she shouted after we finished our reading.  "Oh you're just going to love this next part! Claudius is going to plot Hamlet's death, and Hamlet gets captured by pirates! Isn't that wonderful?" She paused dramatically, waiting for our reactions. Twenty-eight students stare back at her blankly. I was fairly certain the student to my left was drooling in his sleep, but I didn't want to look to be sure. That's when a student spoke up, "did you really cut your hair off on accident when you were reading the Rape of the Lock several years ago?"

"Yes, I did. Now back to Hamlet, who wants to read for Laertes?"

Today I have learned two things. Firstly, that my teacher is pretty good at fencing (yes-she did a demonstration for us). Secondly, that I am undoubtedly in love with the play Hamlet. Or any Shakespearean work for that matter. Although Hamlet is rude to pretty much everyone, he's witty. This play is brilliant. Shakespeare, you are a genius.


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