Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get our kids hooked on Shakespeare at an early age? You know, so they don’t gasp or panic when their high school literary teacher pulls out a play and announces, “Today we will start reading Shakespeare!”.
Anyone who has been around children understands they love performing. There is something about childhood that compels kids to “act”. Maybe it is a way of mimicking and understanding the world around them. Perhaps it is a early chance at self-expression in a way that is none threatening to adults. Who hasn’t watched a child perform a puppet play (usually with stuffed animals) and wondered, “where did that thought come from?” Toys are great stand-ins for children, as the toys say what the child cannot.
What if we could turn the love of performance towards Shakespeare? Is it possible to foster a love of classic theater in 6 year -olds? The answer is yes. It’s actually easy and lucky for us, a lot of fun.
I’ve written about Brendan Kelso and his company “Playing with Plays. You can read the post here The Huffington Post has a nice article on his work, How we should teach Shakespeare that explores the ways in which teachers around the world introduce young students to the Bard. I was thrilled to learn that my friend Brendan’s work is being used as far away as Italy.
The reason I bring Brendan’s work up again is because he is hosting an “Shakespeare Insult” contest.
The concept for this contest comes from Brendan’s quest to introduce Shakespeare to kids. Brendan has a knack for knowing how to make Shakespeare fun for kids. What better way to engage students than with the use of humor? Quoting Shakespeare insults is fun for all ages. For kids, who do not normally get to “swear” funny insults allows them to act out their inner adults. Though I wouldn’t advise letting them insult others on a whim. No, this one time could be a fun way to talk to them about language language and the many ways we use it.
The winner of the contest receives $200.00 worth of Brendan’s work, donated to their school of choice. This is very generous of Brendan and shows the level of commitment he has to students.
I encourage you all to look at the contest link, then brush off your acting skills. Take 10 seconds out of your day and make a fool of yourself. Then come back to his site on April 23 and vote for your favorite insult.
Let me know if you or your child has participated. I’d love to see the video. Come on, if you are going to laugh at me (notice I didn’t say with me) I want to laugh at you too.
Who knows, your child may be a budding thespian. Let’s find out, shall we?