A late one (I've been looking after a poorly wife today) but still one time, my first Shakespeare blog of the week. This entry is about my first experience of Shakespeare.
I was very lucky at school. I had English teachers who understood that to get the best out of Shakespeare, seeing the work on stage or film is much better than dryly analysing words on a page. In year 9 my class was studying Julius Caesar, and it just so happened that the Royal Exchange Theatre had a production of the play running. I think it was a double first for me: my first trip to the Royal Exchange (now my favourite theatre) and my first experience of seeing Shakespeare on stage.
The Royal Exchange is in the round, and we were sat on the benches right at the front. The actors were in touching distance, literally. The close proximity of the action made everything come to life. It was *right there*, Caesar was stabbed, Marc Antony gave his rousing speech, Cinna the Poet was butchered by a rabid mob, circling him like hyenas not more than 6 feet from me. I didn't understand every word, but did understand more than I thought I would.
Lessons from then on were so much easier. Having seen the words come alive it made it almost seem natural to appreciate the poetry and dynamic, evocative language of the text.
I was hooked.