Week 1: Bard Banter
Text: Macbeth, adapted by Leon Garfield.
With the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death this weekend, I have taken the opportunity to introduce a little bit of bard banter into my creative workshops. Starting a writing and drama project on any of Shakespeare's plays can be a daunting task, but helping the children get to grips with some cutting Shakespearean language is a great place to start. It goes without saying that getting the chance to insult the teacher with some saucy, impish quips certainly helps loosen up the shy performers!
Using the fabulous Shakespeare Insult Kit as a starting point, the children were quick to get to stuck into a little Elizabethan trash-talking. Here are some zingers:
Wipe thy ugly face thou fishified, fat-kidneyed ratsbane!
Hark! Thou logger headed, earth-vexing hugger mugger!
Lead apes in hell thou toad-faced, gorbellied flaxwench!
Hark! Wipe thy ugly face thou goatish, guts-griping malt worm. Quoth I, malt worm!
As we are focusing on Macbeth, the children reenacted the play's thundering climactic sword fight between the murderous Macbeth and the vengeful Macduff. Investing in a few plastic swords was a wise step and this really helped the children bring this scene to life.
As well as reading the text, we are using art as a way of building our understanding of the play. The children selected appropriate symbols to represent aspects of the story. Next week, we will overlay them with text: descriptive vocabulary about our gruesome tyrant, Macbeth. And a few blood splatters of course...
The Shakespeare Insult Kit can be found here (external link).