Tuesday, January 06, 2015

It Seems One Must Clarify Oneself, Dame Judi

What happens when one of the world's leading Shakespearean actors says that her schooling was so poor that it put her off a certain Shakespeare play for life?  For starters, the school comes looking for an apology.

Late last year, and I don't think I even wrote about this at the time, Dame Judi Dench  said that she developed a lifelong hatred for Merchant of Venice after being forced to read the play out loud, six lines at a time, in school.  (For the record, I can see her point.  She stresses that character breaks were not factored in - everybody got six lines, regardless of which character was speaking.  Talk about an easy way to break the spirit of those students and render the text meaningless!)

Needless to say The Mount School, which Dame Judi attended from 1945 to 1953, was not pleased to hear that.

Luckily, the actress (through a spokesperson) clarified that she was not talking about the prestigious secondary school, but rather her last year at "Miss Maeby's" primary school.

It's a bit of a silly story, but I do kind of understand their point.  "Hey, remember how we were thinking about sending our daughter to Mount?  Listen to what Judi Dench says about how awful the teaching is there. Forget that place."


kj said...

Salutations. We represent Miss Maeby's Primary School ("Proudly Breaking Spirits Since 1923"), and we are very upset at this report. Here at Miss Maeby's, we take the view that a child who is not a Maeby student will react in precisely Dame Judi's manner. How else ought we to teach Shakespeare? Surely Dame Judi is not suggesting we allow students to read seven lines at a time! Preposterous! Studies show that a child's attention level only lasts sixty syllables—precisely the number in six lines of Shakespeare.


Ms. Finnelda K. Prehops
"Does your child belong at Maeby? Maybe!"

Elizabeth R said...

They could just say "That was over 50 years ago. We don't teach it that way anymore. (Now we do X, Y, Z)."