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Much Ado About Shakespeare

This is a photo from the new "Much Ado About Nothing" movie from "Avengers" director Joss Whedon.
This is a photo from the new "Much Ado About Nothing" movie from "Avengers" director Joss Whedon.

When this photo from the new movie version of Much Ado About Nothing was recently released, the interwebs went nuts. It’s partly because Avengers director Joss Whedon directs this iteration of the classic and he casts many of the actors from his popular sci-fi horror tv shows - “Angel” and “Firefly” in it. It’s also because Shakespeare’s works are timeless and wonderful. We all know most of the plots of his plays. And we would look with anticipation to see who would be cast in what role in any new production. (Remember waiting with baited breath to see who would play Romeo and Juliet in your high school production of the show? Or wondering who would appear in the newest movie version. By the way the latest movie version has been revamped by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellows and stars Hailee Steinfeld from the movie True Grit and Douglass Booth from LOL as the star-crossed lovers. Glad I could answer that burning question.)

Your students may not have the same level of appreciation of Shakespeare as you or I do yet. To cultivate it, during the month of April PBS Learning Media has developed and packaged content for the classroom centered around the Bard. It’s dubbed Much Ado About Shakespeare and it targets grades 8-12. (If you haven’t registered for PBS Learning Media yet, I encourage you to do so. It’s free! And when you register this month, you’ll be able to unlock 8 free downloadable posters featuring Shakespeare’s plays.)

Some of the themes explored include:

  • The Use of the Soliloquy
  • Parent Child Relationships in Shakespeare’s Works
  • Shakespeare’s Words and Phrases
  • Supernatural Elements in Shakespeare
  • Personification: Cowbirds
  • Twelfth Night Act: 3 Scene 1

For content on Much Ado About Nothing, check out Arts in the Renaissance: Scene from Much Ado About Nothing.

Wait there’s more! To further support you teaching this material, there will be a Twitter party for English and Drama Teachers on Tuesday April 16 at 8 p.m. with experts from the Folger Shakespeare Library @Folger.  Join the Twitter Pary by registering here.

Save this date too - Monday April 22 at 4 p.m. eastern time the Executive Producer of Shakespeare Uncovered is offering a free interactive webinar. You can also register for that here.