Age cannot wither him …

BH 2017:2018 timetable

… nor custom stale his infinite variety.  (Enobarbus:  ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA:  II.ii.245-246) [bastardised by me, obviously]

Our timetables for next year were finalised last Friday, and this is what mine looks like – at least in terms of Shakespeare / EMP material.  It’s more of the same, basically – although I finally lost The Tempest – which Top Set Y11 had voted to study back in the day when I had complete freedom about what to teach.  I think it could be the last year I teach this combination – I want to make at least one change …

This year, I’ve added Hamlet and Richard II as secondary texts at A Level simply because:

  1. Tennyson (whose lengthy monodrama, Maud, we are studying) described his unnamed protagonist as ‘a little Hamlet‘, and it’s an accurate and telling comparison; and
  2. I see so many parallels between Edward II and Richard II, and it’s interesting to explore how similar aspects of each story are presented in different ways.  Not least because I am baffled by those who believce Marlowe WAS Shakespeare, sigh …

But these are mere tweaks.  Next time round, I want to be in a position to teach Julius Caesar, I think.  But where?  The obvious options are:

Year 9:  we have to teach a Tragedy, and not something we’ll be teaching at GCSE.  But one of the advantages of teaching RIII here is that The Hollow Crown version was an excellent teaching tool that the students were able to engage with.  I could do Hamlet, but experience from last year tells it is not easy for 13-14 year olds to think independently about the subtleties of the play, and the marking I have done this weekend suggests that my colleagues have found the same.  I genuinely think you need some maturity to fully work with the play;

Years 10/11: as a GCSE text.  But this would require a good deal of persuasion, as we have a departmental policy to only teach Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet.  It’s not an impossible task at all, but I could come up against some opposition;

Years 12/13:  where my main concern again relates to performance videos.  There is a significant element of considering different interpretations of the play in the assessment, and it has been great to run the 1983 Ron Cook version (which I love) and the 2016 Benedict Cumberbatch one side by side, analysing directorial decisions as we go.

I’m also tempted to do Othello and/or Measure For Measure at A Level, but that, I think, will definitely have to wait until I get JC under my belt.

What would you do?  Answers on a postcard, please …


Author: Boar's Head, Eastcheap

Hyperactive English Teacher and Tutor; Shakespeare-obsessed 'Villainous abominable misleader of youth'; 'old white-bearded Satan'; Friend of the Orangutan

One thought on “Age cannot wither him …”

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