Look on Beauty: Four Professional Development Workshops
for English and Drama educators for 2019.
The day-long workshops use four of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays – ANTONY & CLEOPATRA, LOVE’S LABOURS LOST, CYMBELINE, and TWELFTH NIGHT – to focus on concepts of beauty and aesthetics in social-political discourse in the public space, and how to present these issues (aesthetics, value judgements, and complexity) in the classroom.
“Beauty” assumes the ability to make an “impact” on the viewer or listener, which assumes the viewer/listener is willing to stop, look, listen, and evaluate the “beautiful” event, text, image, person, etc. Classical concepts of beauty are often considered elitist or irrelevant, as well as symbols of an assumed cultural privilege. Post-modern judgements vie with hierarchies of status. “Shakespeare” – himself problematic when discussing the “beauty” of his verse, for example – shows us that these arguments and tensions are not new. How does one teach a concept of “beauty” without instilling a certain value system? What are the ways we learn to evaluate, discriminate and incorporate the “beautiful” in our lives today, in an era of public incivility? These are some of the questions raised in the context of the four plays studied.
And you shall see ‘tis purchased by weight...” (Act III, scene 2)
The workshops are led by Louis Fantasia, Artistic Associate of the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and Director of the SCLA/UCLA Summer Shakespeare Institute at the Clark Memorial Library. Louis was the Director of the Shakespeare Globe’s London Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance Institute from 1997-2002; and Shakespeare at the Huntington, the teacher training institute of the Huntington Library from 2005-2017.