Brian Cox Masterclass with Theo

Date: 2009
Posted by: hopscotchboss
Cast: Theo, Brian Cox
Credits: Filmed by Theo’s Dad
Duration: 2.40

This is the apogee of the mini-genre that is the toddlers-spouting-Shakespeare videos on YouTube. Here Brian Cox himself instructs thirty-month-old Theo in the ‘To be or not to be’ speech from Hamlet. The first thing to be said is that Theo learns his lines well and seems to be enjoying the process. Brian seems to be having a whale of a time too. Do we learn anything from this, or is it just cute? Maybe there’s an underlying belief that teaching children Shakespeare can only be good for them, the same way that playing them Mozart is supposed to improve their brain power. There’s no scientific evidence behind it, but heck what harm can it do? What I think both Brian and Theo discover is what satisfying sounds Shakespeare’s words make. As in other examples of this kind of toddler video, there is also the odd effect that Shakespeare’s words have when uttered by someone who has no inkling of their meaning. It brings their meaning home to us in a peculiarly direct way. How Brian Cox came to be involved in this family video is not made clear.

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