Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Brush Up Your Shakespeare...

High school English is an interesting creature. My job requires that I teach a group of hormonally driven, confused, but well-intentioned young people about literature and the fundamentals of writing. This becomes especially challenging when you throw parents into the mix.

I recently fielded a phone call from a concerned parent. The issue: The Taming of the Shrew contains lewd scenes and inappropriate innuendo. The suggestion was that we do one of Shakespeare's less offensive plays.

Maybe Midsummer Night's Dream? Or perhaps Hamlet?

An old movie version of Shrew has a comical dance number performed by two thugs in which they sing "brush up your shakespeare, start quoting him now." After reading Midsummer this spring my junior's adopted "tawny tarter" as the new dis*. But really how often do you quote Shakespeare?

Do you even know when you are doing it? Shakespeare invented or coined somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500 words.

*Teen term for disrespect or put down.

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