Monday, October 31, 2011
I can always tell when we are at Midterm, because I reach my peak tiredness, wake up earlier and earlier every day, and weekends are not only cold physically, but mentally as well. But, let's see how I have been doing with Shakespeare:
1. Gain Shakespeare Literacy
I definitely have more literacy than I did before September. I have now read in their entirety: Hamlet, The Winter's Tale, Love's Labor's Lost, As You Like It, The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet. Of all of these works, As You Like It is the play that I have the most in-depth knowledge about, with details of the play, as well as connecting it contemporarily.
Prior to this class, I had seen Hamlet live, and The Taming of the Shrew with Elizabeth Taylor. But, now I have seen Kenneth Branaugh's As You Like It, as well as The Winter's Tale in Cedar City and Macbeth at the Castle Theater. Especially with seeing Macbeth, I now understand more fully theater in Shakespeare's time.
I have also seen some parallels between Shakespeare and Contemporary/Visual Culture in the past few months that I haven't seen before. Not only are there parallels between characters, but also the use of titles, missionary work, and parallels to my own life as well.
2. Analyze Shakespeare Critically
I think that so far I have preferred contextual analysis over textual analysis, but I have done some of both. For textual analysis, while comparing Hamlet and Laertes, I minced words to discuss their righteousness. I also looked at the use of "The Man in the Moon" in The Tempest Contextual analysis was done about themes like Nature v. Nurture, I compared the banished Dukes in The Tempest and As You Like It, and probably my favorite post was when I discussed Romanticism in light of The Tempest.
With productions, I have analyzed As You Like It, The Winter's Tale, and Macbeth. I mostly analyzed them contextually, but with As You Like it, I did do a little bit of textual analysis.
3. Engage Shakespeare Creatively
I feel like engaging with Shakespeare Creatively is more than just a performance or imitation of some sort. I have enjoyed connecting Shakespeare to painting, art history, as well as interpreting his lines to apply them to our life through video. However, I also did a little exaggerated version of alliteration to prove a literary point about Love's Labor's Lost.
4. Share Shakespeare Meaningfully
With this learning outcome, I have shared globally, shared with my immediate family, and done this blog!
Self Directed Learning
I admit, it has been hard to blog off the cuff instead of thinking, "Oh man, I have to write about something pertaining to Shakespeare today!" But, I think I am getting better at applying Shakespeare to my life and all of the classes that I am dealing with right now. I think recently I have been more self-directed, as I have found the "All the World's a Stage" theme. My husband came home the other night and I had been working on the video I made about the Internet for hours instead of doing other homework...
Collaborative and Social Learning
I have enjoyed working in smaller groups, because then there is a guarantee that someone will comment on your blog, and you can also talk about them in class as well and continue the conversation over the internet. I usually also talk to my husband about what I am doing, and he laughs at my enthusiasm, as well as me deploring that I wish I had more time to do everything I want to with all of my classes. It has been fun this past week to broaden the learning/sharing horizons, and I am looking forward to doing that more in the future.
I am excited to about the final project, although I'm not sure what I want to do/what there is that I can do, as well as focusing more on what I am interested in on this blog. This "All the World's a Stage" thing has really gotten my wheels turning, so I might keep noodling that out here. (That is unless something else slaps me in the face) Mostly, I think I need to analyze the text as we read more, but I think overall, I have been doing okay with the learning outcomes.
My husband and I went to see Macbeth by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company at the Castle Theater last weekend, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Some of the actors were wackadoo, and it was hard not to get negatively distracted by them, but some of the actors were awesome in every part they played.
I really like the idea that the Grassroots Shakespeare Company has of doing the plays close to the way it would have been in the Globe Theater back in Shakespeare's time. Here are some of their ideas that they talked about prior to presenting their production:
1. Sometimes the company only had a few days to put together the production in entirety.
They took only two weeks to prepare for their production.
2. There were no women actors, so men played men and women on stage.
They do have female actors, but men can play men and women, and women can play women and men. (Like an actress was the porter)
3. There were more parts than actors in most plays, so one actor would have multiple parts.
They each played at least two or three characters, and offset this with small costume changes, etc. (The king was killed, then he was a jester in the court, and then he was a soldier in the last scene)
4. There were little to no props/sets on the Globe Theater stage.
They likewise had very little props/set. (Some curtains, ladders, and a bench...some swords)
5. There was no director telling the actors what to do. They also had no director - just actors, musicians and two producers.
5. The audience played a major part in the production: the characters would especially interact with the groundlings, and the audience would boo for the bad guys and cheer for the good guys.
They were very good at interacting with the audience, and even sat in people's laps, came out from under the stage where the groundlings were, and talked to individual audience members. (Macbeth was so afraid of dead Banquo that he jumped into someone's lap)
Needless to say, this live performance was definitely different compared to when we saw The Winter's Tale!
Overall, it was a great production, and I would definitely go see them again. Plus, who doesn't want to watch a Shakespeare production with a castle as your backdrop?!
Friday, October 28, 2011
I made a goal in a previous post to create a lesson plan based off an idea from As You Like It. I successfully uploaded an art lesson plan onto a Ning website that is used by many Art Education students at BYU. To extend it globally, I also uploaded it onto a Lesson Plan website. Maybe I will see it pop up on the website later on!
I also looked for someone talking about my theme of "All the world's a stage" that I have been focusing on. I posted a comment on a blog called "All the World's A Stage" by Simone, who talked about wanting to publish a book, perhaps some poems, to get her word out there. I suggested that putting her poems up on the internet was one way of sharing her voice, since that is definitely a legitimate world stage. We will see if she responds!
For an update on my "All the World's a Stage - Family Style," my father-in-law sent a pretty cool response back...I think he understood what I was trying to say in my "teaching" email and video:
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
In order to share my ideas concerning As You Like It, I decided to go with a more creative spin than just talking to someone about it. So, I decided to make a little movie about the internet presence that my family has, and then make them, as well as anyone who sees it here aware that almost everyone has some sort of presence if they post anything on the internet.
Like I was talking about in a previous post, "All the world's a stage" can be extended now to a more literal sense, since someone in Dubai could see this blog if they wanted to! I wanted to post this now...and then post about the responses that my family has when they come...
Monday, October 24, 2011
In Act II of the Tempest there are 7 instances where the word "moon" comes up. I wasn't even looking for it, and after a while, I just kept noticing it. So, then I had to go back and count...and find out Shakespeare's motive behind this particular word usage:
1. Gonzalo: "You are gentlemen of brave metal; you would lift the
moon out of
her sphere, if
she would continue in it five weeks without changing."
2. Antonio: "The man i' the moon's too slow..."
3. Stephano: "How camest thou to be the siege of this moon-calf?"
4. Trinculo: "I hid me under the dead moon-calf's gaberdine for fear of the storm."
5. Sephano: "How now, moon-calf! How does thine ague?"
6. Stephano: "Out o' the moon, I do assure thee: I was the man i' the
moon when time was."
7. By this good light, this is a very shallow monster! I afeard of him! A very weak monster! The man i' the moon!"
Here are a few things that I found with a good amount of Google-Searching:
"Elizabethans believed the earth was flat...There was a sharp division between everything beneath the sphere of the moon, and all the rest of the universe."
Moon-calf actually refers to an aborted fetus, "abortive, shapeless, fleshy mass" attributed to the influence of the moon.
According to the Oxford Companion to the Body, the moon is thought of as the most "human" in the heavens (probably because many people found people or faces in the craters of the moon), and as a result of its phases, it has been linked to many other life cycles. Its three most common connotations are: the feminine principle, controlling menstruation, and cause madness, (the term lunacy is derived from the Latin luna, which means moon!).
With all of this information, I think that Shakespeare is using the
"man in the moon" and "moon-calf" so often because in this act, one, because there is a lot of lunacy going on, but also for the other moon connotations that an Elizabethan audience would have caught. Caliban, for one, does not have a distinctive human or animal form, so it makes sense for the stranded men to call him "moon-calf." Plus, he is driven by natural human vices, such as alcohol consumption... Shakespeare refers to the female using the moon, cycles of life, as well as madness with mentions of "moon" in Act 2.
Friday, October 21, 2011
I realized while in the midst of reading and watching As You Like It, that my "learning plan" was lame. I am an Art Education student for heaven's sake, and all that I am focusing on through my reading and discoveries are themes and motifs in the play, and then a little bit of connection to modern day. But, this included nothing that really spurredme on to victory...and I realized that I was doing a whole different learning plan sort of after the fact.
So, here is what really intrigued me in the play: Rosalind, intriguing themes in the play, and also the social criticism that could be applied today.
All the World's a Stage
Act II scene vii has the famous quote "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women are merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts."
After what is quoted above, Jacques talks about the 7 Stages of Man: Beginning as a baby, and ending, again, in an infantile state. Jacques has a pretty cynical view of the world, which I think reflects Shakespeare's view of the masses:
1. An infant "mewling and puking in the nurse's arms"
4. The soldier "seeking the bubble reputation..."2. "The whining schoolboy"
3. "The lover, sighing like a furnace"
5. The justice with "eyes severe...full of wise saws"
6. The lean and slipper'd pantaloon "a world too wide for his shrunk shank"
7. Another child-like state "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans tasted, sans everything."
We have probably all heard pieces of "all the world's a stage" over the years, taken out of context. Usually I would say that this is a bad thing, but I think just this first part of this quote defines the whole play, without reading the rest of what Jacques said.
Artifice in the Play
The whole play, as I said in my preview post, has a lot of artifice and acting the part. Throughout the play, especially with Rosalind, different characters act in different roles.
Rosalind, as a main example, is:
1. The dutiful niece in her uncle's court after he usurped her father of his throne.
2. The daughter lamenting her father's banishment
3. The run-away when she is banished from the court
4. Ganymede (for traveling purposes, as well as for wooing/matchmaking purposes), as they say in the play "pretty youth"
5. Orlando's love and, at the end, happy wife
Another example that I thought was pretty apparent in the film version was Orlando when he is desperate for food. In order to get food that the Duke and his followers are about to eat, Orlando jumps out of the bushes with knives drawn and threatens their lives unless they give him food first. When the Duke responds to him kindly, he says, "Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you; I thought that all things had been savage here, And therefore put I on the countenance Of stern commandment." Interesting that he decided to act that way, because he thought it would be conforming to the "savagery" of the forest.
The Epilogue informing the Theme?
As You Like It even ends with an "Epilogue" given by Rosalind, in which she admits that this whole production was a play (still in character, but revealing the pageantry of it all). In Kenneth Branagh's film, she does this as she returns to her dressing trailer, walking through the set and all of the film crew. I thought this was a clever way of doing it, although the whole epilogue thing in general was a little strange. In it, she asks the audience to enjoy the play for what it is.
But, I think, as a whole, Shakespeare is commenting on the fact that everyone, whether they admit it or not, has different roles for different situations. It is not just that man has seven stages or scenes of living and this is why "men and women are merely players," but that we all "act" when in different situations. I have two theories as to why Shakespeare decided to write a play concerning this theme:
1. As a social criticism: to point out the hypocrisy of people as they act in order to get things that they want from others
2. Showing that we all inevitably act differently around different people, but it is up to us as to how we act, and that is what makes the difference.
As a result of the Epilogue, Shakespeare was not trying to make people feel terrible about
acting, but was pointing out the pitfalls of taking things too far, and suggesting that honesty is probably the pest policy. So, I guess even though the epilogue made the movie version feel semi-disjointed (since through reading the play there were no cuts or really any scene changes), the epilogue is key to understanding the overall point of the play.
All the World's a Stage: The InternetIn short, Shakespeare does think
that some people are hypocrites
and act to get things, but overall, the
play is suggesting that it is how we act that matters, because we all do. On the subject of "all the world's a stage," I found an interesting blog about Twitter and how this and other social media sites are places for "stage presences," and an NY Times article discussing viral videos and posting videos online as a way of creating that "stage" for people. As a result of these ideas, I think I am going to start working on a series of art lesson plans that connect the students to that "stage."
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Both plays that I am focusing on right now, The Tempest and As You Like It, have banished dukes, so I thought that a comparison was in order for these dukes in these two very different plays.
Was the Duke of Milan.
Banished by his brother Antonio and fled for his life with his daughter Miranda on a boat.
Stranded on an Island and gains magical power on the island after losing it politically.
Seeks revenge on his usurpers by stranding them on his island.
Lets his daughter marry the King of Naples' (who helped his brother get rid of him) son Ferdinand.
Gets his dukedom back in the end.
Was the Duke of (Shakespeare doesn't tell us)
Banished by his brother
Frederick-did not put up much of a fight to keep his dukedom
Seeks refuge in the Forest of Ardenne with some trusted followers and more flock to him, including his own banished daughter Rosalind and Celia the
usurping duke's daughter.
Is content in the forest and says that he learns just as much from the forest than in a library.
Consents to his daughter marrying Orlando, especially because he was great friends with Orlando's father, Sir Rowland de Bois
Gets dukedom back because his brother decides randomly to become religious.
From doing this comparison, I think that Shakespeare preferred a character like Prospero over one like Duke Senior. He likes a character with a little fire in them - some revenge, some mischief, but good overall. Like Kate in the Taming of the Shrew, even though it seems like she doesn't get the better end of the bargain in the end. Duke Senior was content to start a new life in the Forest of Ardenne and just happened to get his dukedom back in the end because the play was a Comedy, whereas Prospero had to, first of all, work on his magic for twelve years in order to get revenge on his usurpers, and then put in a lot of effort to see all of his plans work out to be reinstated.
It might also be the Shakespeare's plays were getting a little more mature by the time he wrote The Tempest, which was between 1610-1611, and As You Like It was written between 1598-1600. Because he wrote so many plays, a lot of them are spin-offs or commentaries on others. Perhaps he liked the idea of the banished duke, and decided to take that idea further in The Tempest because it was not taken advantage of in As You Like It.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
I really wish that I could do this with every play/book that I read. But, I think that would probably kill me because this was pretty intense to add on to the rest of my school work and work work. But, it was pretty awesome reading the play so fast, and then watching it right away.
I would like to say that I have been disappointed with the endings of the last few Shakespeare plays we have read, and this one did not help my thoughts. I guess I'm just not a huge all of a sudden "happily ever after person," I like the slow resolve that is more like rea
lity I guess.
In both the play and the movie, everything just works out in the end - everyone gets what they want, everyone gets married and even the evil duke (even more evil in the movie than in the book with his wide eyes and always yelling) just up and decides to become religious and give the old duke back his "kingdom." I dunno, the only couple that I really feel good about is Rosalind and Orlando, anyways. I'm excited to talk about the nitty gritty of this play and Kenneth Branaugh's movie in the next few posts!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
It is kind of hard to live up to a wedding...
After having fun with my last blog post, I was having a hard time with the feeling that I had to somehow live up to my life comparison. None of my ideas for a post seemed good, so I decided to type Love's Labor's Lost into Google and pick my favorite hits:
ER Season 1 Episode 18: Love's Labor's Lost is about Dr. Greene messing up a routine pregnancy check, ending up in a surgery because of personal distraction. This apparently was George Clooney's favorite ER episode.
Daredevil: Love's Labor's Lost "Daredevil and those closest to him face heartbreak in all its forms as new relationships blossom, old loves fade away, and tragedy takes its toll."
Real Housewives of New Jersey: Love's Labor's Lost "Women. When we are young, we have our own dreams for our careers, and our own goals. And then, you fall in love."
It seems like this is a pretty easy title to steal. The funny thing is that in reading all of these synopses, none of them really have to do with the play, Love's Labor's Lost. They are all just taking the title for the fun of it being a Shakespeare play, and an alliterative one. But, I am going to try and compare them!
ER uses the title because of the pregnancy glitch that is central to the show. Get it, "Labor?" However, Greene misdiagnoses the pregnant woman, just like Costard gives the wrong letter to the wrong woman - mixing up Jaquenetta and Rosaline's respective letters.
Daredevil uses the title because apparently this blind lawyer vigilante has lots of relationship problems. But, also his former girlfriend Heather Glenn commits suicide in this part of the series. So, I am going out on a limb here and saying that this could be the fate of one of Biron if Rosaline does not come back in a year, since he is spending that whole time in a hospital...
Real Housewives of New Jersey is Love's Labor's Lost because its a bunch of women hanging out together and talking smack, and then acting differently around the men. It's like how the women speak in prose amongst each other, but then speak in poetry when they are talking to the men.
So, none of these examples have mushy wedding themes in them, but there is a lot of marriage and relationship themes going on, and some pregnancy for those baby-hungry Provoites.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
When reading Love's Labor's Lost, I can identify myself with the men who pledge their scholarly allegiance to the king. How can this be? Well, a little over a year ago, I was done with the whole BYU dating game and decided that I was going to devote my Junior Year of schooling to serving others, getting awesome grades, and preparing to go on a mission the following year. However, obviously since I am currently blogging about Shakespeare instead of knocking on doors, this plan of mine was foiled. (Of course, I am glad).
Just as I was beginning to enact my pledge as King Ferdinand and his men did, my "Princess of France" showed up, too. But, the comparison only goes so far, because I cannot say that I was writing poetry and trying to woo someone after that. I was pretty stuck in my "pledge" and had to get wooed myself. Another aspect that is definitely not the same, is that after the declaring of love, etc., I did not leave for a year like the women do in Love's Labor's Lost. Devin and I got married at the end of the summer, and he even followed me to Virginia, where I had a couple jobs already lined up, and worked so that we could be together all summer.
So, I can understand the whole scholarly pledge thing with the men of the court, but I cannot understand how they could just break their pledge, really without a second thought, and then after all that, let their ladies go when all the love works out. Yes, they complain about them leaving and say that they will spend the year in a hospital, etc. but they still end up letting them go. Devin is a better man than them - he wouldn't take "I'm leaving" for an answer and followed. It makes their love seem like infatuation to me, and not the kind of long-lasting marriage love...
Friday, October 7, 2011
As You Like It: I got pretty excited doing all of the research, and it was hard to not to make a huge essay about everything that I learned in my extensive preview. So, if you want to learn lots of cool stuff that I based my learning plan on, keep reading after this paragraph! But, before going into detail, here is what I really want to focus on in this play:
1. The Theme of Love, especially the kind(s) of love shown in the play, and how this love affects social reform (see Pastoral below)
2. The Art of Artifice - what is real and what is fake. This is especially applied to Rosalind, whose character I am extremely intrigued by.
3. Applications of "As You Like It" to modern day. Even just the application of the title is relevant. It seems like the play could have some interesting parallels, especially in relation to social criticism/reform.
Source: It seems like all of Shakespeare's play ideas are never accredited to him, but borrowed from a previous story. However, this does not bother me, because I think that art is never truly original. We are all influenced by the world around us, and therefore art is always a form of "copy." The source of the idea for "As You Like It" is Thomas Lodge's "Rosalynde Euphues' Golden Legacy" which also had a previous source called "The Tale of Gamelyn."
Pastoral: This type of play has exiles from urban life or court life who escape to the countryside. The pastoral is the perfect genre for social criticism or to inspire social reform. As You Like It has many refugees from court life including banished should-be kings, run away princesses, banished daughters to the should-be-king, wanted men, run away court jesters...the list goes on.
Comedy: As You Like It is also a comedy because it pokes fun at the conventions of romantic love. The characters themselves often lament suffering caused by their love, but they are quite unconvincing as it is obvious that they are enjoying being crossed in love. There is also cross-dressing and complete 180 turn-arounds in love, and an ending where everything miraculously turns out.
Setting: This is always an interesting part of the work, since it is usually based in reality for Shakespeare, but also contrived. The forest of Arden supposedly based on the forest near Shakespeare's home-town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Some scholars also attribute it to the biblical Garden of Eden.
Rosalind: She is definitely the main character through my research, and a pretty exciting, complex, female character. By the end of the play, she proves that love is the source of delight, but in the introductory scene, her cousin Celia is telling her of the curative power of love. So, it seems like she is going to do some changing too, while she is changing everyone else in the forest!
Themes: city life v. country life, LOVE, young v. old, born with nobility v. acquiring social standing (see my previous blog post on this topic in relation to "The Winter's Tale"), CHOICES, the complexity of life.
Famous quotations: "all the world's a stage..." "too much of a good thing"
Film: Kenneth Branagh's "As You Like It" has mixed reviews online. I watched the trailer and it looked like he focused mostly on Rosalind and Orlando's relationship, so we will have to see how much that is the focus in the actual play. Some other interesting things is that he had it set in Japan, and cast Orlando as a black man...
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Love's Labor's Lost: a predominantly poetic play promoted to peruse. In the second scene, the seigneur sits with the sweet sovereign. Her escort expresses that the executive esteems her with enthusiasm ergo his eye enunciates for his essence.
Whew, I have no idea how people could actual speak in poetry back and forth off the cuff... Anyways, when Ferdinand is dealing with matters of Aquitiane, they speak in prose. The king keeps his emotions fairly in check until he leaves her, and with his parting shot, he rhymes with hers. Is this coincidence? Perhaps...
Here is the parting shot: Princess of France: "Sweet health and fair desires consort your grace!
Ferdinand: "Thy own wish wish I thee in every place!"
In speaking to the princess about his suspicion of the king's affection, Boyet says "I only have made a mouth of his eye, By adding a tongue which I know will not lie." This personification is an awesome image, for one, and definitely describes the "googley eye syndrome" well. I think I will steal that Shakespearian phrase. We will see if Ferdinand starts talking with more than just his eye...because this is when seeing the play would come in handy instead of just reading it.
Monday, October 3, 2011
I have a problem. When a lot of literature that I enjoy ends, I want to know more. It seems like there are always open ends and different things that could happen after all of the pages have been filled. Hamlet's fate did that for me.
In one of my Art Ed classes, I taught a lesson about figuratively extending a painting beyond the frame to know more of the story behind the painting. For example, Rembrandt's self portrait in his old age is just a painting of him with a very black background. But, if we were to extend the painting using history, we might see a man who has lost all those dear to him, as well as most of his physical possessions, since he was buried in an unmarked grave as a result of debt.
I would love to know the history of Hamlet after his death and therefore extend the image of him as well. Fortinbras has "four captains Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage" (Act V scene ii) and I feel like he is portrayed like a tragic hero as a result of the tone at the end of the play. However, is he a tragic hero in the afterlife? Is he born "like a soldier to the stage" or does he have to answer for his murders and inaction postmortem? If only Shakespeare had taken a cue from Dante and written a little epilogue about Hamlet's afterlife experience...then we could extend the scene and have a clearer portrait of the famous, or infamous, Hamlet.