Since my university years, “Midsummer night’s dream” has been one of my most favourite Shakespeare’s stories!
With my own experience of getting to know Shakespeare as a young woman, I was grabbed by the stories first of all. Then you grow up and become engaged by the language. But it’s more than just good stories and nice language. It’s about ethics and morality.
I therefore, wanted my students to get to know and like Shakespeare , too! To be able to understand the difference between appearance and reality!…
You probably already know a few things about the play:
Oberon orders Puck to use a love potion on Demetrius so that he will fall in love with Helena but Puck mistakenly anoints Lysander’s and Demetrius’ eyes and both fall in love with Helena. Meanwhile, in another part of the wood, craftsmen are rehearsing a play and Puck fixes an ass’s head on one named Bottom with whom Titania, under the influence of the potion, falls in love.
Lesson plans and several teaching ideas can be found here : http://www.webenglishteacher.com/midsummer.html
I personally, use only the book text, and my students’ imagination and improvisation skills! I want them to have real fun, performing! I have noticed that, even shy students, open up on stage and are willing to learn and join the fun! A typical example is Armelido, whose parents are immigrants from Albania. He could hardly communicate in english at the beginning of the school year but, was finally able to learn all Demetrius’ lines by heart and perform with huge success!
When “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is first introduced, I give students a short introduction about the play. After researching Shakespeare’s life from several resources, I show them a poster I have in class with the major events of his life.
We brainstorm pairs of characters (e.g. Demetrius-Hermia).
In class, we have a competition for the best group performance of each adapted part! My students get really excited with that! It’s a really fun experience for all!
If you want, you can have your students perform the adapted play for the whole school , in the end-of-the-year school show! I am thinking about doing so this year…
By exploring the text through voice and movement activities, I believe my students will become more aware of themselves as whole people. By placing theatre at the center of education, and by creating a “schoolhome” atmosphere, students will have the opportunity to make the connection between mind and body. They will be allowed to use all that they are–mind, body, emotion–to learn and grow. And that is what school is all about–educating the whole person.