Recommended for YA / High School. Mature Content.
Here's the set of downloadable Reading Roles Pages for a high school classroom reading of Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Get Thee...Back to the Future! which is basically the flick in iambic pentameter.
If you haven't gotten your principal's permission to teach this, seen the film, or sent home a parental permission slip offering to send students whose parents object to a colleague's classroom, you should before you start. There is a bit of language, some not-very-flattering portrayals of Libyan terrorists, and some awkward, sexually-charged situations, as in the movie, but never anything graphic or explicit. You know your students maturity levels and parents best. If you feel at all uncomfortable, you can always use Verily, a New Hope instead. Verily is good for use in middle school classrooms, as well.
Introducing Iambic Pentameter with Get Thee...Back to the Future!
Your students will marvel at how closely Doescher follows the movie script!
Teachers, please note: This play has the fewest speaking parts of any of Doescher's movie adaptations thus far. So, if your class is relatively small -- in the 20s -- it will still work well. If your class is more like 30+ students, plan on having fully half the class not read out loud for any given Act. This may work well, if you have English language learners who need time to listen and figure out how the movie and play correspond. On the other hand, if your class is antsy, I would look instead at teaching / using Verily: A New Hope, which has plenty of speaking roles for larger classes.
If you still choose to use this, it means you'll have to closely watch / record student readers on the Reading Role Sheets, to make sure all your students get a chance to read out loud. There is also no "Chorus" part in this play, at all, so no all class opportunities for speaking / reading aloud, either.
It contains an explanation of iambic pentameter with examples drawn directly from the book, an explanation of using thee, thou, ye, thy, and thine, and a brief listing of the Shakespearean "hallmarks" of the text: the five act play, minimal stage directions, rhyming couplets at the end of scenes, asides, soliloquies, generous use of anaphora and extended metaphors, and in this one, songs ("The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News).
Quirk currently does not offer a teaching guide for this text, so I'd recommend using it and the film as a fun, educational way to end a semester or to end the school year.
I hope your students enjoy!
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