literature

Twelfth Night Act 2 Sc 4

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In this video from Penn State's School of Theatre production of Twelfth Night, back at his palace, Orsino summons Feste to perform a song. In the meantime, the Duke and Viola have a conversation about a certain someone Viola (Cesario) fancies, and Orsino offers his love advice. Orsino declares he will not take “no” for an answer from Olivia, but Viola protests that love doesn’t always go according to plan. The two debate men’s and women’s capacities for love, and at the end of their exchange, Orsino orders Viola (Cesario) to return to Olivia with a love token from him.

Madama Butterfly | The Metropolitan Opera

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One of the most beloved operas ever written, Madama Butterfly is the story of Cio-Cio-San, a young Japanese geisha who gives up everything to marry the American lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton. Yet when Pinkerton must leave Cio-Cio-San to return to America, the young lovers’ conflicting conceptions of fidelity and commitment become all too clear, and Cio-Cio-San finds herself facing an impossible choice. In the Met’s production, acclaimed film director Anthony Minghella draws on both Western and Japanese theatrical traditions to bring Cio-Cio-San’s story to life, while Puccini’s expansive music gives Cio-Cio-San’s vulnerability and courage a voice.

Watch Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Met’s production, and use the accompanying Educator Guide to explore artistic representations of Japan around the turn of the twentieth century.

One Hundred Years of Solitude | The Great American Read

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Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez uses "magical realism" in his story of the fictional town of Macondo and the five generations of the Buendia family who inhabit it. The story is told in flashbacks and flash-forwards that fuse the fantastical with the everyday. The town and the Buendias survive wars, forbidden love affairs, and the invasion of foreigners and industrialization.

Learning objectives

Students will:

  • Watch a video segment and answer contextual questions
  • Expand vocabulary and reading comprehension skills by using the vocabulary list associated with this segment
  • Understand what magical realism is and how it differs from fantasy
  • Research and identify Latin American countries and the setting of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, 100 Years of Solitude

Measure for Measure and the #MeToo Movement | Shakespeare Uncovered

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At a time when the #MeToo Movement and stories of sexual harassment and abuse by those in power dominate headlines, you might be surprised to discover that Shakespeare addressed this very issue 400 years ago in his play Measure for Measure. In these two videos from Shakespeare Uncovered, learn about this “problem play” and how Shakespeare’s Isabelle faces similar challenges as victims today in terms of consent and credibility, for “Who will believe thee, Isabelle?” Support materials engage students with contemporary connections through discussion questions and a background essay tying the #MeToo Movement to the world of Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Uncovered combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of its celebrated hosts to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. To learn more and view full episodes, visit the Shakespeare Uncovered website and collection page.

La Fanciulla del West | The Metropolitan Opera

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Set in a frontier mining town during the California Gold Rush, Giacomo Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West is an operatic “spaghetti Western” that revels in all the hallmarks of the genre. Populated by ruthless bandits, tough-talking but goodhearted miners, a cynical sheriff, and one remarkable female tavern-keeper, Puccini’s Wild West is every bit as exciting as the world inhabited by John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. Yet this rough-and-tumble context also allows Puccini (and his audience) to explore universal questions about justice, forgiveness, and love.

Watch Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Met’s production, and use the accompanying Educators Guide to explore both Puccini’s great opera and real-life stories of women in the American West.

Chosen Families | The Great American Read

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In Tales of the City, The Outsiders, and Ghost, we see how a chosen family bolsters the individual identity of a main character.

Shoshone Buffalo Return | Wyoming's Native Americans

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Since 1885 the Shoshone people have been without buffalo on their land. After decades of effort beginning in the 1990’s a coalition of individuals and organizations have taken the first step in returning the North American Bison to their native lands. Nowhere is this action more culturally and ecologically significant than on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming.

The Quilts of Ken Burns in 360° | Nebraska Stories

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Renowned filmmaker Ken Burns has collected quilts since the early 1970’s. In this 360 video from Nebraska Stories, take a virtual tour of an exhibit featuring his unique collection of quilts at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Frankenstein | The Great American Read

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Experts and artists talk about the lessons in Mary Shelley's masterpiece, Frankenstein. They explore how the book is about more than a fear of science, but the consequences of not taking care of your creations and letting hubris get in the way. Mary Shelley started writing the book at the age of 18, and in 2018, the book celebrated its 200th anniversary. This classic horror story has a much deeper tale to tell.

Julius Caesar and the American Experience | Shakespeare Uncovered

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Learn about the long-held American fascination with Julius Caesar in two videos from Shakespeare Uncovered. Brian Cox states, “Rome is not a place, but an ideal,” and that the play continues to resonate because it addresses issues that face any society that tries to uphold democratic principles. The videos and support materials explore the parallels between the play and the American experience. Since Abraham Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth, an actor obsessed with Brutus, the play continues to hold a place in the political and cultural landscape of America.

Shakespeare Uncovered combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of its celebrated hosts to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. To learn more and view full episodes, visit the Shakespeare Uncovered website and collection page.

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