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you live in a world where everyone's agreed to say something in
the most exquisite way possible," says Visiting Professor Milan
Dragicevich. That is the world of Shakespeare.
Dickey has come up with another way to get students thinking about
Shakespeare, by illuminating the plays through an "almost Brechtian
alienation effect" — also known as "movie night."
Each year Dickey produces the "Shakespeare Offshoot Film Festival,"
during which he shows five films that are based, adapted, plagiarized
or otherwise connected to Shakespeare's work — but are not
Shakespeare. This year's films included Throne of Blood,
Akira Kurosawa's reimagining of Macbeth set in feudal Japan;
a 1947 Hollywood film noir, A Double Life, in which Ronald
Colman plays a bad actor playing Othello; and McLintock!,
a "terrifying" version of The Taming of the Shrew
set in the wild West, starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
who swears he doesn't even like movies, says "the films are
enjoyable to watch, but [watching them] is essentially a pretext
for the group to think about the plays they're based on."
ESQUITH '81 engages in similar discussions with his students:
"Henry IV is about a young man trying to live honorably
in a dishonorable world. Who wouldn't relate to that?" But
unlike Dickey's students, Esquith's are 10 and 11 years old. A UCLA
School of Education alum, Esquith has taught in the Los Angeles
Unified School District for 20 years, all but two of them at Hobart
percent of the pupils at Hobart come from families with incomes
below the poverty line, and 100 percent of them speak English as
a second language. But in Esquith's class, language is not a barrier
to performing a full-length Shakespeare play each year. They call
themselves the Hobart Shakespeareans, and their work has made fans
of folks as diverse as Oprah Winfrey, who honored Esquith and the
Shakespeareans with her "Use Your Life Award" in 2001,
and British actor Ian McKellen, who rearranged his shooting schedule
as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy in order to
fly from New Zealand to Los Angeles to see the group's performance
of King Lear.