Secret Shakespeare: Covert Classics, vol. 1


For this five-week Media Studies series, we’re going to watch some movies inspired by the plays of William Shakespeare but with characters that look and act like us and who don’t walk around speaking that confusing Elizabethan English from 400 years ago. Yes, we get all the benefits of these classic plays with their unforgettable characters and important human themes but without the funny costumes and the headache of trying to understand words like “betwixt” and “poniard” and “wherefore.”

Each Monday for the next five weeks, I’ll post a short video with key information about the movie and the Shakespeare play it’s based on. At that time, I’ll also give you a “homework assignment” that provides some ideas about things to pay attention to while you watch the movie at home. (I’ve picked movies that are readily available on streaming channels.)

After you watch our “movie of the week,” you’ll email me your answers to the discussion questions I’ve sent you for each movie. I’ll provide personal feedback on your answers, asking you a few follow-up questions and offering suggestions for other things you might think about. I’ll also post a wrap-up for each movie before we launch into the next one.

Weekly Schedule

  • Monday: Professor Chuck posts video with homework & discussion questions
  • Thursday: You email homework to Professor Chuck by 12nn
  • Friday: Professor Chuck sends students feedback and posts a wrap up on the movie of that week

Movies of the Week

March 23: “10 Things I Hate About You” / The Taming of the Shrew

March 30: “Lion King” / Hamlet

April 6: “She’s the Man” / Twelfth Night, or As You Will

April 13: “O.” / Othello

April 20: “Shakespeare in Love” / Romeo & Juliet

How to Join

If this class sounds like so much fun that you want to “officially enroll” in the “live” version of this series (starting Mon, March 23), just send me an email at

If you sign up, you can email me your answers to the weekly homework assignments and discussion questions, and I commit to sending you substantive responses with follow-up questions, suggestions for further exploration, etc. Basically, the “teacher treatment.”

Note that I’m limiting enrollment in each class to 25 (first come, first served) to ensure I have time to actually send you good responses. Enrollment is FREE.

Otherwise, if you’re joining later or just don’t feel like making a formal commitment, you can just follow along with the program of posted videos, lecture notes, etc., at your own pace. I encourage families to do this together and use the discussion questions as a way to start conversations about the movies.

I hope you enjoy my postings while you stay home, live & learn. Be well!

Published by Chuck Caruso

writer of dark fiction (crime, horror & western noir), literary & textual scholar (american gothic, noir, po-co, sf), and cultural critic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: