Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Complete Plays of Shakespeare: Abridged; Tudor England

This morning let's begin our examination of theatrical history with the Elizabethans. For a bit of background, please watch and take notes.

England's Kings & Queens (song)
Cos We're The Tudors
Henry VIII, Wives
Mary Tudor Song
The Catholic Report
Queen Elizabeth Dating
William Shakespeare song
Elizabethan Theatre (video)
England Civil War

Likely the most influential writer in all of English literature, and certainly the most important playwright of the English Renaissance, William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England.

Around 1590 he left his family behind and traveled to London to work as an actor and playwright. Public and critical success quickly followed, and Shakespeare eventually became the most popular playwright in England and part owner of the Globe Theater.

His career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I (ruled 1558-1603) and James I (ruled 1603-1625). Wealthy and renowned, Shakespeare retired to Stratford, and died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two.

Shakespeare's works were collected and printed in various editions in the century following his death, and by the early eighteenth century his reputation as the greatest poet ever to write in English was well established.

A contemporary example of Theater of the Ridiculous is the smash hit The Reduced Shakespeare Company Presents The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). 

As we watch this play, note:

  • Elements of ridiculous theater
  • Premise, Inciting Incident, MDQ, Complications, Conflict, Conflict, etc.

HOMEWORK: Please read two of the following three articles (you may read all three if you'd like) and take Cornell notes on two of the articles. We will discuss and turn in our notes for credit next class:

  1. Daily Life in Elizabethan England
  2. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  3. Shakespeare's Influence

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