Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh, They Are So Hooked

So my almost 4yr old is now all into Romeo and Juliet, and each night at dinner she says, "Daddy, you promised you'd tell me the Shakespeare story again!"  I greatly enjoy feigning ignorance and asking, "Which one?  King Lear, The Tempest, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet?"

Of course, her primary experience with Romeo and Juliet is that animated movie about the seals called Sealed With A Kiss.  So I find myself bouncing back and forth between the "real" story and the movie.  For instance:

[at the Capulet party]  "So then the Prince says Hey, you're not a Capulet, you're Romeo!  And then Romeo has to run away before he gets in trouble."
    4yr old:   "No Daddy, he doesn't run away, he falls into the water."
      6yr old:  "Or Daddy are you telling us the *real* story, not the movie story?"
"Actually, sweeties, that's one of the neat things about Shakespeare stories, is that everybody tells them a little bit different.  Romeo had to leave the party, and whether he snuck out or ran away or fell in the water is really up to whoever tells it."

[And this one, near the end]  "So anyway, Juliet is asleep, but poor Romeo never got the message, so he comes to her and says Oh no, she's dead!  And then he kisses her and he falls down dead too.  But then the sun comes up and they both wake up together and live happily ever...."
   4yr old: "Daddy, no!  That's not how it ends!"
"It's not?  What did I miss?"
   4yr old: "Romeo's father comes in and says Oh no, Romeo, my son!  You forgot that part."
"Sorry.  So Romeo kisses Juliet, and then he falls asleep, and Romeo's father comes in and says Oh no, Romeo, my son!  But then the sun comes up and they both wake up together and live happily ever after."

(Man are they gonna be mad at me when they get to school and learn how it really ends.....)


On the other end of the table, my 6yr old is going to "camp" this summer.  At that age it's little more than a continuation of school where she's dropped off for half a day and "counselors" (as compared to "teachers") walk them through some games and crafts and generally keep them out of Mom's hair.  Anyway, my daughter has learned that camp for older kids is full day, and lasts several weeks.  She is anxious to go next year.

Mom:  "We'll worry about that next year, sweetie.  You might not even want to go to that camp.  There's lots of camps you can go to, dance camp, swimming camp, gymnastics camp."

Dad:  "Don't forget about Shakespeare camp!"

6yr old:  "Daddy, are you sure they let girls in there?"   (I think somewhere along the line I told her that boys used to play all the girl parts, and it's confused her.)

Dad:  "Of course!  They need girls for all the best parts!  How else are they going to have Cordelia, and Miranda, and Juliet?"

6yr old:  (with a wonderful expression dawning) "Wait....they actually *play* the stories?"

Dad:  (beaming)  "Yup."

6yr old:  "And I could get to *be* Juliet????"

Dad:  "Yup!"

The sparkle in her eye was wonderful.  I think she's hooked.


HisNameIsChris said...

Wow, what a touching story. You must be really proud of them, I now I would be. You're doing a good job introducing Shakespeare to them, the only introductions to Shakespeare I've gotten are thick transcripts in the original difficult language :(

Well keep up the good parenting, thanks for visiting my blog (Great Student Chris) and I'll be certainly visiting your blog again :)

gburgschools said...

I love the fact that your kids are hooked on Shakespeare. That's something you don't hear often anymore (Normally, they're hooked on video games or a TV show).

I went to Shakespeare camp. Of course, I was 17-years-old...

Craig said...

I think that's just wonderful. I hope they hold on to that affection for Shakespeare for life...perhaps you need to write a book to teach everyone else how to hook their kids on great literature (as opposed to merely inflicting it on them).