Monday, December 12, 2011

The Grande Finalle

That was an incredible production. I thoroughly enjoyed everyone's part in the production on Friday. Being able to see Shakespeare through so many different lenses helped me understand how many ways a person can study his works.

Doing the music video was a blast! A lot of it was just coming up with ideas in the beginning, but once the wagon started rolling the vision we had became reality. Scenes took preparation, but once we knew (1) What we were going to say (2) Who was going to say it and (3) Where or how it was going to be said it was like clockwork. Although some of the scenes took 3 or 4 sometimes up to ten cuts, we eventually finished them all and Cara did most of the editing.
One thing Cara referred to that I thought was true was our different parts in the music video. Cara was the mind for what we should do, Chris kept us organized, Meg was willing to do anything (including skipping class one day), and I was the action person. It could be because I am an entrepreneur. When people have great ideas, they are worthless, invaluable, until they are brought to fruition. Therefore, it does not satisfy to sit around and create an idea and reform it over and over until we are all unified etc. To me, when we actually start doing the things we talk about, the idea continues to unfold, new things come to mind, and the product begins to become tangible and real.

Looking back on the first day of class, I feel like my Shakespeare world has turned upside down. The ironic thing about our final project is that I used to be the one who thought Shakespeare was pretty much love and roses. Although there is a lot of love, Shakespeare deals more with truth, guilt, greed, lust, war, age, nature, and other topics than I realized. One I feel like I have learned especially a lot about is truth. I have not only read about but applied a lot of the ideals we read in Shakespeare into my own life. I am noticing through my own experience that what I talked about in two older posts, Trusting the Untrustworthy and Considerest Not the Beam that is in Thine Own Eye is true today.
Of course reading through Shakespeare has helped gain the most Shakespeare literacy. King Lear, although I feel like I have just scratched the surface of understanding its meaning, was a great play that taught me a lot, especially in the last lines of the play.

To analyze Shakespeare critically I have focused on the lines I enjoy, like the last link points out. Reading that post shows how I analyzed the lines of the play, took opinion from some of my classmates, and looked up a more scholarly opinion on the matter. Dr. Carson had interesting things to say because she knew some of the history of King Lear. In comparing two of the renditions she pointed out the impact of different characters delivering the two lines. This developed my own creativity and personality because (1) It's not what you say, it's how you say it and (2) Whatever it is, the person who delivers the "line," whether in real life or in a play, makes a difference in the meaning of the message.
Doing the music video project also taught me a lot about Shakespeare's "one liners." A lot of his text was explained to me by the "far more literate Shakespearean than I am" Chris. It helped when delivering lines to hear his, and Meg's interpretations of the lines. Chris would explain to me exactly what the lines meant and what was happening in the scenes. A good example would be between Aerial and Prospero. When we are having the conversation with Meg in the orange jumpsuit, Chris explained how Aerial was opening the eyes of her master. "This is the paradigm shift," Chris would say. Understanding the lines as individual pieces of text helped me to analyze Shakespeare critically.

Memorizing lines, acting in front of a camera, and directing scenes of the music video all were ways I engaged Shakespeare in a way I thought I never would. Chris and I took a day to film a few scenes together which turned out to be nothing short of an adventure. We bumped into a young girl who we felt was perfect for our "who suffers alone suffers most in the mind" scene and I looked at Chris for the go ahead. He nodded and I opened my mouth and asked her if we could film her. Finally we ended up in her family's home, with all of them giving us a tour of spots to film the scene we had created in our mind. With the camera rolling, I directed her in her actions and emotions to get the right feel. Again this happened in our nature scene from King Lear and again in our jealousy scene from Othello. Chris and I drew upon our creativity skills as we directed our players.
In connection with all of this, being on the camera meant we were memorizing lines. In our dialogue between Aerial and Prospero, with King Lear, and with Biron I had to memorize a few lines in order to give the right look. Also, this involved understanding the message we wanted to portray through delivery. Portraying the messages of individual lines was a creative way to engage Shakespeare.

Sharing Shakespeare was probably the biggest focus of the class for me. Even though going to class took three or so hours a week, I feel like most of our attention was turned toward expressing our thoughts and research through blogging. One of the more formal posts this semester was mentioned above where I talked about the last lines of King Lear. Another one of my favorite, which I referred to on our midterm post was my analysis about war. Doing this was one of my favorite posts because it tied back the play to Shakespeare's time.
My informal sharing came through blogging and inviting people to the performance on Friday. I think hearing other people's brushes with Shakespeare was a treat. In fact, one girl I met had simply read the article about our Shakespeare event and decided to come out of a shear love for the art. We shared about some of our favorite plays, and finding out she had not read the Winter's Tale, I made sure she got the book as a prize (I didn't cheat I promise). :)

Overall, this class boosted my appreciation for the arts. Not just Shakespeare, but many literary and ancient realms of art. I can recall times when I saw situations through the lens of Shakespeare analysis I gained in class. That means a lot, when the things I learn in the classroom, become a part of my life outside of the classroom.

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