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illustrate this point, Braunmuller and fellow English Professor
Jonathan Post — Braunmuller calls him his "co-agitator"
— go beyond the usual reading aloud of scenes in their classrooms
to host 80 students on an annual monthlong sojourn to Stratford-upon-Avon.
There, they study up to eight plays by day, attend performances
of those same plays by night and talk Shakespeare with actors of
the Royal Shakespeare Company, directors, technicians and even voice
coaches. A side trip to London takes them to the replica of the
Old Globe Theater, where they see yet another play. The class is
open through UCLA's Summer Sessions and usually is made up predominantly
programs involve connections to the broader community. Each year,
for example, the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
hosts a one-day symposium that focuses on a Shakespeare play. The
symposia are open to the public, but they're produced mostly for
the benefit of Los Angeles-area high school teachers, providing
for them an opportunity to discuss with university experts and their
peers the issues inherent in trying to teach teenagers Hamlet,
Romeo and Juliet or Julius Caesar.
also hear about the most current Shakespeare scholarship. Scholarship
they bring back to their classrooms. In May, the teachers tackled
Othello. They heard lectures by Richard Harp of the University
of Nevada on "Word Meanings in Othello," UCLA
English Professor Debora Shuger on "Othello and English
Renaissance Islam" and English Professor Stephen Dickey on
"Ocular Proofs: Othello on Screen," during which
he showed clips from several filmed interpretations of the tragedy.
teaches the two upper-division Shakespeare classes that all UCLA
English majors are required to take. In the classroom, he stresses
the performance angle by asking students to "imagine the plays
happening on a stage in front of an audience," instead of reading
them as fiction. "Shakespeare was the most experimental playwright,
the most radical playwright of his time," Dickey says. "The
problem is that he's canonical now, so people can't see that."