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A Taste of Shakespeare Series

A video guide to Shakespeare's most famous play.

A printer-friendly version of this page 37 minutes
Directed by Eric Weinthal and Dug Rotstein
Produced by Eugenia Educational Foundation

Like the other programs in the series "A Taste of Shakespeare", the purpose of this video is to help modern audiences, especially students, identify with the universal themes in Shakespeare's plot line.

In HAMLET four actors tell the story, play some of the most famous scenes, and comment on important problems, motives, conflicts, and decisions.

Each actor plays multiple roles, each role being indicated by a simple change of costume or method of presentation. The setting is a high school auditorium, using the stage, seats, stairs and door to the outside. This technique emphasizes how little is needed in the way of props and set design to understand and enjoy a Shakespeare play.

Other titles in this ongoing series are:

The Merchant of Venice - A video guide to the play from Shylock's point of view.

A Midsummer Night's Dream - A video guide to the loveliest of Shakespeare's romantic comedies.

Romeo and Juliet - A video guide to this cautionary tale of teenage love.

King Lear - A video guide to one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies.

Macbeth - A video guide to Shakespeare's "tragedy of blood".

Othello - A video guide to one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, dealing with revenge and pride.

Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1995     Copyright Date: 1994
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-160-6     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-628-3

"Some very interesting potential for classroom use. Showing the film as a preview might provide just the 'frame' some students require to more fully understand and appreciate their in-class reading of the play..."
English Journal

"Simple costumes, memorable props, and effective lighting enhance the fine portrayals, which allow focused discussion of specific parts of the play or make traditional reading assignments more accessible."

"A major virtue are the iterative questions posed by the cast as to whether or not Hamlet is mad or pretending with the implicit theme that there are no answers to the questions raised by Hamlet, the ultimate interrogative play."
Kenneth S. Roswell, University of Vermont

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"Makes the play much more accessible to...students." Chris M. Worsnop, English Coordinator, H.J.A Brown Education Centre

Links (The producer's web site)
Study guide

Awards and Festivals
EXEMPLARY: California Instructional Technology Clearinghouse
Bronze Apple, National Educational Media Network Competition

English Literature
English Literature
Guidance and Counseling
Language Arts
Performing Arts

Related Titles

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Tectonic Plates
Adaptation-integration of the stage play by Robert Lepage.

... more Reviews

"Its voice on the side approach, makes the play much more accessible to those students - and there are many of them - who have a hard time getting through the complexities of language in Shakespeare to the plot and the people."
Chris M. Worsnop, English Coordinator, H.J.A Brown Education Centre

" the four Canadian actors who bring this simply staged...production to life... Highly recommended."
Video Librarian

"A TASTE OF SHAKESPEARE is the answer to a teacher's prayer. It serves a pressing need by introducing students to the plays of William Shakespeare in a way that makes each play accessible and compelling viewing. [Each program] maintains the language and key scenes of the play which are tied together by an intelligently crafted connecting summary. The result in each case is a thoroughly informative and entertaining overview of the key themes and motifs of each of the drama...the students' appetites for the whole play will be well wetted. Equally important, they will be able to undertake their study of the text with a clear understanding of its over-arching architecture and a real feel for its drama and language. This is unquestionably the most satisfying, authoritative and pedagogically useful video introduction to the...plays of William Shakespeare I have seen. This series is a superb achievement - a wonderful marriage of modern scholarship and media production."
Dr. John MacDonald, Professor of English Education, University of Toronto

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