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Learn to Love Language Arts (3rd + 4th Grade) - 2x/Week

Women Wrote, Too: The Lesser Known Playwrights of Early British Theatre

Jessie McKeon
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(55)
In this 8-week online course, students will learn about the experiences of woman-identified writers while studying 3 major plays by such women. This class is set up to mimic a high school/upper grades elective course in English & Theatre.

Class experience

US Grade 9 - 12
Students will learn basics of play analysis while studying plays, historical context of Elizabethan and Renaissance theatre, the relationship of gender, gender presentation, and Early British Theatre, and self-paced, independent project work
I hold a BA in Performing and Visual Arts with a focus in Early British Drama and Shakespeare and have won several awards for my work in this field. I have spent over 20 years studying and producing professional and amateur theatre. I teach the Folger Method for learning the classics and am a member of the Folger Shakespeare Library. 
In my classes we use video, guests, and unconventional tools to learn the topic together. I design all of my instruction around first creating a safe space, then doing what I call a "Sweep the Corners" review at the start of each session. At the completion of the course, we always Pack Up our learning and set off into our vast world!
Homework Offered
Reading will be assigned - Approximately 40 pages per week (may vary on different devices or volumes).
2 - 4 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Learners will be graded on response in-class and will have a final, comprehensive individual project worth 25% of their grade. This is a "pass/fail" class with written assessment except where a letter grade is requested for homeschool and supplemental school transcripts. I will do my best to accommodate the various needs that different educational entities require.
Grades Offered
Copies of each of the plays. While free copies may be available online, they were scanned from unreliable sources. The books are all available on Amazon for less than $10 each. Please contact the instructor of this is not within your price range - something can be worked out for you.
This class is for teens only - some of the material can be considered PG-13 due to the sense of humor, acknowledgement of human's lustful nature, and ignorance of medicine and travel at the time these plays were written. There are overtones of gender roles and gender-specific superstitions and myths; we will address these in the class through a lens of inclusion and diversity. By identifying this and addressing this in an anti-misogynist manner, we can analyze the time period in which the play is set, the attitudes in theatre when the play was written, and ways to address this in our own analysis of the play. The instructor is well-versed in gender inclusive activism, is active in the Pledge to End Racism, and is a certified facilitator. She will open the floor to discussion.

Play Summaries:
"The Tragedy of Mariam" is the tale of the death of Mariam, the second wife of Herod the Great, the King of Palestine from 39-4 BC. As the play opens, friends and family discuss the news of Herod’s death.  Seizing the opportunity, each engages in love affairs and "bad behavior" knowing Herod would disapprove. Most importantly, Mariam admits she never loved Herod despite his passionate feelings for her.  To the surprise of the characters, Herod is well and alive and returns to reunite with his wife. Herod’s sister, Salome, plots to get rid of Mariam by spreading lies of her unfaithfulness, bringing about a chain of events that leads to Mariam's death. (This play was the basis for Shakespeare’s “Othello.”)

"The Convent of Pleasure" takes place after the death of Lord Fortunate. Lady Happy—being his only heir—inherits her father’s wealth and decides to forsake marriage, invite twenty ladies to her estate, and create a cloistered community called the Convent of Pleasure where the presence of men is banned. The gentlemen intent on wooing Lady Happy lament at the loss of Lord Fortunate’s wealth and a woman who is “extremely handsome, young, rich, and virtuous,” but the only virtue they see in Lady Happy is her wealth. They plot to infiltrate the convent, but achieve little success. Meanwhile, a princess has joined the convent. The princess and Lady Happy quickly fall in love, and the ladies of the convent perform a play about the perils of marriage. At the end of the play-within-a-play, it is revealed that the princess was, all along, a prince, and he and Lady Happy marry. (This play was inspired by works such as “Twelfth Night” by Shakespeare and “Volpone” by Ben Johnson)

Set during Carnival, "The Rover" tells of the adventures in Naples of Willmore and his banished friends, Blunt, Frederick, and Belvile. While the title refers to Willmore, who is The Rover, the plot is driven heavily by Hellena and Florinda, two sisters trapped in “engagements” against their will: Hellena to the convent and Florinda to Don Antonio. Respectively, they decide to pursue Willmore and Blunt, but things go awry when Willmore has an affair with Angellica, an aging mistress, and Blunt attempts to take Florinda against her will. However, through wit and masquerade, Florinda marries Belvile, and Hellena and Willmore commit to marry each other. (Thought by many scholars to be the foil of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”)
"Women in Theater" by Natasha Korda
"The Hidden Women Writers of the Elizabethan Theater" by Phyllis Rackin
Theatre and Culture in Early Modern England, 1650-1737: From Leviathan to Licensing Act edited by Catie Gill
Instructor's experience, both practical and academic, as a dramaturg and theatre professional will contribute to the sources of this class.
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(55)
Hey, there!
My name is Jessie, and I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual and Performing Arts, a Master of Education Instructional Design, and have been working at summer camps and theatre non-profits for over 20 years! I have trained over 500... 
Group Class


for 16 classes
2x per week, 8 weeks
45 min

Completed by 1 learner
Live video meetings
Ages: 15-18
2-8 learners per class

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