OLLI Workshop(ping) Ideas

A couple of weeks back, I put out a call for ideas for a possible OLLI course.

For those who need a recap, the mission of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is to provide intellectually stimulating lifelong learning opportunities geared toward people age 50 and up. OLLI is affiliated with the California State University at Channel Islands.

So, I’ve been bouncing around some ideas inside my skull, and I think I’ve hit upon one good enough to let out. Let me know what you think…

The title of the course would be:

The Taming of the Bard

(approaching Shakespeare from different angles
for fun and learning)

Over the course of the eight weekly two-hour-long sessions, we’ll be diving deep into Shakespeare’s classic (but problematic) comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. During each of the first six sessions, the focus will be on one of the major scenes of the play, each one approached from a different angle (including drama games [like “the Shakespearean statue garden”], cue scripts, scansion [the rhythm of the verse], and the use of rhetoric).

These sessions will begin with an introduction to the scene (with a quick discussion of optional reading any of the students may have done), followed by a warm-up activity (previewing how we’ll be approaching the scene), and then the interactive workshop to learn about the scene. After a break, we’ll break the scene down and watch how different productions (both film and television versions, as well as captured stage performances) have approached the scene. We’ll close each session with a summarizing discussion and review of what we’ve learned, plus a preview for the next class (with a suggested scene to read). In the final two sessions, we’ll choose one of the video versions for an in-depth viewing of the entire play, broken up by discussions.

Scenes discussed will include

  • the expository set-up of daughters and suitors,
  • the meeting of Kate and Petruchio,
  • Kate’s final speech,
  • and three other scenes.

Video versions will be

  • the 1967 Zefferelli film with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton,
  • the 1976 capture of the ACT production with Marc Singer and Fredi Olster,
  • the 1980 BBC Complete Works version directed by Jonathan Miller and starring John Cleese and Sarah Badel,
  • and the 2012 capture of the Shakespeare’s Globe production with Samantha Spiro and Simon Paisley Day.

So… what do you think? If you were a 50-(plus)-something, would this interest you? How might I improve the concept (or at least the sales pitch). Comment in the thread below…

And thanks in advance!

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