Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

The Moment it Clicks

We’ve been sharing here the many ways Shakespeare has changed or influenced our lives, and as a finale I wanted to share the moment Shakespeare first made sense to me.

I’ve said many many times that the Animated Tales series from the BBC is what got me interested in Shakespeare, but that’s only part of the story. I attended a dance conservatory when I was younger, and that summer we were performing songs from West Side Story so we knew the story of that musical by heart. It was a Friday tradition that my father would take my brother and I to rent a video apiece for the weekend, and one time I noticed the colorful cover of the animated Romeo and Juliet. As I watched the (accelerated for 25 minutes) plot unfold, so much made sense! Not all of the words, at first, I had to watch it again, but the whole story was exactly what we were performing at the conservatory! Elated, I sprinted to my parents’ room to relate my discovery. It turned out that my father had an old script which was West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet in one slim volume. I sat right down in my room and read both in one night.

That last part my mother swears is true. All I know is that I came to Shakespeare through the timelessness of the stories, and the relatability of the characters. It’s still my fascination with Shakespeare that so many of us find a connection with him through the fictional people he penned.

Welcome to a new school year – I hope that you get to experience this sort of moment with your students, and that you’ll share it with us when you do! Until then, when did this sort of moment happen for you?

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