Shakespeare forms a key part of the South African English curriculum and for each of the 5 years of High School, I studied one of his plays: Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Anthony & Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. We studied his poetry and his wonderful way with words. We watched movies of his work, created Shakespearean insults and reenacted scenes.
Now that I live in London, I am just a short walk away from the Globe Theatre and so, for date night this month, we decided to engage in some Shakespeare in the original setting. Two standing tickets and two short hours later, we had enjoyed a musical production of Venus & Adonis performed by the Isango Ensemble, a South African theatre company! It was a beautiful take on the original poem, full of traditional South African song and dance, and it made me long for home in a way I didn’t quite think Shakespeare was capable.
I know there were several times when I uttered less than favourable sentiments about Shakespeare, but with time his work has grown on me and I think every child should have the opportunity to study Shakespeare in an innovative and creative way. Let’s raise a generation which thinks Shakespeare is sensational!