Monday, August 13, 2012

{Review} The Shakespeare Guru's Guide to Getting Shakespeare Alive! (And Letting Go of Getting it RIGHT) by Martha Mendenhall

ISBN #: 978-1621370352
Page Count: 213
Copyright: June 18, 2012

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

The Shakespeare Guru's Guide to Getting Shakespeare Alive! is meant to blow the dust off Shakespeare's scripts by providing useful tips and strategies for classroom or rehearsal work. You'll get practical, concrete assistance with overcoming stumbling blocks such as:
  • Fear of the language
  • Belief that the plays are antiquated relics of the 16th century
  • Over-reliance upon "translations" or lexicons
  • Misinformation about performance practices of Shakespeare's theatre
  • Insistence upon deferring to the "experts" in an attempt to get the plays "right"
Complete with a 60-minute (100% Shakespeare) script of Romeo and Juliet, the Guru's Guide encourages you to trust your own instincts, to get the text up on its feet and, by all means, to have fun with Shakespeare. They don't call them plays for nothing!

Mandy's Review:

Although I have loved to read for years, the most dreaded moment in my high school English classes were when the teacher decided we needed to read Shakespeare. I generally understood the context of Shakespeare's plays, but the language was always a detriment to my full, complete understanding. I can handle a few Old English words and phrases, but Shakespeare's characters always seemed to, for lack of a better phrase, go around their ass to get to their elbow when they were trying to make a point. Perhaps if we had a copy of The Shakespeare Guru's Guide to Getting Shakespeare Alive! we could've enjoyed this part of the class more.

It's apparent that the author, Martha Mendenhall, has studied Shakespeare and the time period in which he lived. She has an uncanny knack for breaking down Shakespeare (his life, the time period, his intent and his writing) and making it relatable to a person of any intelligence level.

The Shakespeare Guru's Guide to Getting Shakespeare Alive! should be part of the required reading in high school before any of Shakespeare's play are taken on.

*A physical copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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