Shakespaw, A Wishbone Tale – The Tempest

One of the first thing Beth told us when we started The Tempest by William Shakespeare was, contrary to fellow academics, Shakespeare is difficult for her, and for many others. I put myself in that category, and was very grateful to hear that from a professor. The Tempest is not simple for me, however, I have prior knowledge that I definitely utilized from the children’s show, Wishbone. Wishbone, was probably the most influential television show of my childhood. It was all about books, and not just any books, the classics or “the cannon.” Books educated people assume you have read if you are also “properly educated.”

Wishbone was a show on PBS, or the Public Broadcasting Station, it is a not-for-profit public access channel that shows select children’s programs that are supposed to be unbiased, diverse, and educational. Wishbone was all of those things and more because it starred a Jack Russell Terrier who talked, did tricks, and put himself in the stories for each episode. This episode of Wishbone, Shakespaw, takes a complicated William Shakespeare play, strips it down to the primary basics and performs it, all in the short running time of 30 minutes. It shows a past and present version of the play done by actual children, and also one performed as you would see in Elizabethan times. Not only does the episode break down the complicated play to remind me what that plot is about, but the episode also holds quite a few core concepts from class. In the short 30 minutes, the dog Wishbone witnesses an actual storm, watches a churn (as discussed in Erin’s Blog) of emotions from director David as he tries to reel in everyone to put the play on, and literally performs the play, taking on the character Ariel, as well as narrating the show scene by scene.

Wishbone fits into the Metropolis class if only to help grasp how complicated The Tempest is. But in addition to making Shakespeare easier to tackle, it brings together the second main topic of the class, Care is the Antidote to Violence. In this episode, there isn’t an overt display of violence, Wishbone is of course, a children’s show. But there is a slight performance of violence, displayed by the bullies of the show toward David. But to counter the violence performed, David is calm, cool, collected. He also speaks in a caring way, despite showing obvious signs of stress and anger seeing the violence performed. David displays so many emotions through the 30 minute episode, David himself is a churn, but in his churn there is no violence performed, just care. David also has a positive support structure around him, making it easy for him to be caring. This show, even if a children’s one, puts together core concepts in such a simplistic way, it makes it easy to build off of these ideas into the bigger realm of things. 

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