Day 155: Intro to Shakespeare’s Theater

1. WordSkills 6.21-6.25. The WordSkills Unit 6 test will be Wednesday, May 12.

2. Intro to Shakespeare’s Theater. Students took notes on some main points of background information:

  • Shakespeare wrote during the Elizabethan Period of the English Renaissance.
  • The period valued the arts, had a strict social system, and did not encourage moving beyond your adopted position in life (the “great chain of being”).
  • The first amphitheater in England of the style Shakespeare’s plays were performed in was built in 1576.
  • “Groundlings” or lower class viewers sat in the pit, which was the ground floor of the theater, just below the stage.
  • More wealthy viewers sat in the various levels of the gallery, or covered seating area. The Lords’ and Gentlemen’s Rooms were reserved for nobility and looked directly over the stage.
  • The different socio-economic statuses of the audience is directly reflected in the variety seen in Shakespeare’s plays: there are bawdy, humorous parts, often played by workmen, and there are philosophical, poetic parts to appeal to the educated nobility.
  • A flag was flown above the theater to announce the play. A red flag meant the play would be a history, black a tragedy, and white a comedy.

3. Prologue. Students read the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet, looking for dichotomies.

HW: Read through Act I, scene iii for Thursday.