Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

A Storm of Words


The weather on the east coast has been particularly nasty this week. The wind blows, the lightning cracks, and the rain spit-spouts onto every surface. Soggy socks and gray skies can lead to bored students, though, but with a little help from Bill’s Buddies, I think I’ve found a way to make the weather more fun!

The 2009 Bill’s Buddies show was all about how Shakespeare used the power of his words to create scenery, setting, emotions, and even special effects! THIS HANDOUT is one of my favorite scenes of theirs, in which they introduce the power of dynamic words by creating a raging storm using only words! I’ve set it so you might share it with your class as an activity with 4 helpful volunteers and the whole class’s involvement!

In the Buds’ own words: “Shakespeare could write plays that, 400 years later, are still wildly popular, even without the use of special effects.  It is our imaginations that are the final piece to the puzzle. Shakespeare knew that stories could only truly come alive when imagined by the audience… and that imagination could always dream a bigger storm and a more beautiful moon and scarier woods and a better story than any special effect.”

What is your favorite “Special Effect” in Shakespeare’s plays? How would you share that with your class? Share in the comments, please!

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