Visionbox Studio Theatre invites you to join our Saving Shakespeare teacher training seminar.
Led by Jennifer McCray Rincon and the Visionbox Ensemble, the seminar aims to enrich the teaching, and learning of Shakespeare in Colorado classrooms. Ms. Rincon is among the nation’s most experienced teachers of Shakespeare. She resides in Denver having moved to Colorado three decades ago to lead the Acting faculty in the MFA program at the DCPA’s National Theatre Conservatory, where she taught and directed Shakespeare for almost 20 years. Prior to her position at the NTC, Ms. Rincon was also the Staff Repertory Director of The Acting Company, the Shakespeare Touring Company out of Juilliard. She also had the opportunity to work with Royal Shakespeare Company’s John Barton at the DCPA, and incorporates his approach to “Playing Shakespeare” in all of her teaching and directing work.
Studying Shakespeare truly allows students to grow and evolve in all other aspects of education and life. The language itself, the universal truths found in the text, and the Elizabethian context advances student’s tools of critical analysis, and the ability to apply that to the understanding of all styles of literature and the human condition.
Why Shakespeare Matters:
The second year of the Yale School of Drama was dedicated entirely to Shakespeare. Actors and directors studied Shakespeare text in acting classes focusing on scansion, articulated thought, soliloquies, and scene study. The Actor’s Five Questions were also applied after the actors and directors had done detailed text analysis. Later, as Head of Acting at the National Theatre Conservatory, we also focused on Shakespeare in the second year in classes and production work. At both of these institutions (1985-2008) I was able to observe first hand the impact of Shakespeare study on the overall level of acting in all students. Second year students made extraordinary breakthroughs in their use of language, reading and writing skills, and in their acting of all styles of material. High school students grasp these advanced acting principals even more quickly than graduate students. And the same impact follows: high school students are able to perform all styles of material at a higher level after studying and performing Shakespeare text. The Solo Shakespeare projects introduced by Tony Church of the RSC at the NTC became some of the most exciting performance work in the company. Students would select one Shakespeare character from one play and create a solo performance piece using a minimum of 50% Shakespeare text combined with other materials including personal writing, poetry, novels, films, and other plays. We hope to help teachers develop Solo Shakespeare in their schools this season.
-Jennifer McCray Rincon
Shakespeare is generally studied through an English Literature lens, however, he wrote plays, not novels. In order to be fully appreciated, his work must be read aloud and ultimately performed. That requires students to learn the rules of scansion that govern Shakespeare’s poetry, and to understand the role of “articulated thought” in Elizabethan theatre – which is unlike the way characters express themselves in contemporary theatre and film.
Seminars will include the following:
4. Articulated Thought: the “Playing” or Acting Shakespeare; What are some of the differences as compared to contemporary theater literature?
5. Scene Study
6. The Five Questions
7. Solo Shakespeare projects
There will be both lectures and interactive work with teachers on specific texts led by Jennifer McCray Rincon. Ms. Rincon is among the nation’s most experienced teachers of Shakespeare. She resides in Denver having moved to Colorado three decades ago to lead the Acting faculty in the MFA program at the DCPA’s National Theatre Conservatory, where she taught and directed Shakespeare for almost 20 years. Prior to her position at the NTC, Ms. Rincon was also the Staff Repertory Director of The Acting Company, the Shakespeare Touring Company out of Juilliard. Actors from the Visionbox Ensemble will perform sonnets, soliloquies, scenes, and Solo Shakespeare excerpts, which will be followed by interactive analysis and Ms. Rincon’s coaching/directing of the performances. Teachers will then have the opportunity to actively participate through group text analysis, reading aloud, and writing.
Teachers will leave with curriculum outlines for:
1. Choosing material: Sonnet, soliloquy, scenes
2. Choosing a play: Approach to reading the play, casting, and rehearsal
3. Background Materials: Playing Shakespeare by John Barton and films of specific plays
4. Solo Shakespeare: outlines and instructions
5. The Five Questions: handouts
Workshop dates & time: Saturday March 4th 9-4pm, Saturday April 15th 9-4pm (1 hour lunch break, meal provided)
Location: Bishop Machebeuf High School, 458 Uinta Way, Denver, CO 80230
Price: $150 for all day