Team Pilgrim Blog Post

By Manasi, Jay, Amanda, Sabrina, Jasmine and Ampee

Our two films are both set in the modern era, however they differ in their main communication to the audience. Our group decided to choose Act 1 Scene 5 from Romeo and Juliet, lines 91 to 108 with some lines taken from different scenes.

Our close reading of the passage

Our close reading of the passage

The first film we worked on was set at the University of Calgary and the love story was between students. We chose this because it is relatable to ourselves, as well as warrants more comedy into the story. Since we only had one male actor, we decided to make Romeo and Juliet lesbians in this scene. The rivalry between U of C and Mount Royal mirrors the rivalry between the Montagues and the Capulets. The stigma of two women being together is also played upon. We added extra characters of friends for Romeo and Juliet to help with the comedy and set up essential plot points, such as Romeo being at U of C to meet Rosaline and the friend noticing the rival school logos.  We used continuity editing (link) to best portray a sequential story. We also took multiple shots from different angles to present different perspective to the audience. The camera was omniscient, and the camera directs where exactly we wanted the audience to look.

For comedic effect we decided to use slow motion to introduce Juliet as well as Romeo reaching out to her. Generally, this film uses a lot of physical/slapstick comedy. We also incorporated improvisation into both films. Both editors used iMovie to construct both films.

The use of black and white effects for drama

The use of black and white effects for drama

For the second film we used more visual storytelling than the first one, such as the use of black and white, limited speech as well as soundtrack to guide the audience. Where there is talking it is mostly in voiceover, a way to tell the story without character interaction. For this story we decided to have most of the scene over Tinder texting, as this also relates a lot to the lives of university students and how we meet people in recent times. This film is more similar to a feature film style, rather than in the first film, as there is a not conclusion to the conflict.

Romeo and Juliet texting

Romeo and Juliet texting

Our two film styles reveal how the same scene can be reproduced through time, and even integrate technology into it. It is our belief that Shakespeare wanted to show the magical realism of falling in love. Falling in love is a universal feeling, and expressions of love has remained throughout the ages, however forums of love have changed to become more inclusive (such as welcoming lesbian love as well as online dating).

Team Danger Zone, Project Blog Post

For the group film project, we decided to focus on the interactions between Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio in scenes Act 1, Scene 1 and Act 2, Scene 4. We found these scenes other than a few lines to be completely transferable in a modern day scenario. It is essentially guys just getting together to talk about girls. Maybe a bit more emotional than usual, but overall regular guy talk. (Or so they say)

Because of this we decided to make one of our film takes a complete modernization of the text with a focus on the teenage aspect of the characters. Since they were written as 16 year olds, how would they sound as 16 year olds today? We also decided to add the technology of today in this version as it has taken over as such a prominent means of communication, especially amongst that generation.

Off to rehearsals!

Off to rehearsals!

Somewhat keeping with this theme of the age of the characters, and that Romeo and Juliet is so commonly taught to this age group in school, we then made our second film take as teenagers trying to act the scenes almost verbatim from Shakespeare’s play. They themselves are trying to relate and understand Shakespeare’s words as they were originally written.

“So how goes your dating life?”

We edited the script to keep the focus on the character’s age and interest in girls. We added music that also was reflective of the age group and the teenage romantic drama/comedies of today. Finally, we specifically filmed the use of technology as a means of communication especially in today’s dating scene.


Team D: Julian, Devin, Christine, Lety, Chelsea, Aja

Team A+ Romeo & Juliet Act 1 Scene1


For our first version of act 1, scene 1, we selected a ‘battle of the bands’ parody sequence which demonstrates in an overdramatized, satirical way, that the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues is based on almost nothing.  The feud between the two bands: one a stereotypical Taylor Swift pop band; the other a rock star heavy metal trio, is rooted in insignificant tension because these two bands would not be in competition for the same fans and have no real reason for their hatred and anger toward each other. This interpretation supports the idea that the actions taken by the Capulets and the Montagues against each other are far too violent and consequential for such trivial reasoning. The play barely speaks as to why the two houses are hostile towards each other in the first place and our purposefully silly battling montage highlights the energy that is wasted by both sides for no real purpose or reward. Our take on the dialogue, although adapted to our theme with a modern musical twist, stays true to Shakespeare’s original framework as it retains the witty pun-filled banter of Sampson and Gregory.

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When brainstorming ideas for our second version of act one, scene one, we drew inspiration from the rivalry between the Montagues and the Capulets and how this animosity between the houses reminded us of the rivalry between the Griffindor house and the Slytherin house in the Harry Potter series. The wands used in Harry Potter parallel well to the swords used in the traditional interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. The conflict between Griffindor and Slytherin is one that many of us are familiar with, and adds a more modern twist to Romeo and Juliet. Our Harry Potter version of the scene also contrasts considerably with our Battle of the bands version. While our Rockstar interpretation is satirical, this version is more serious and does not make light of the dangerous conflict between the two parties involved. Our style and camera work also differed from our first version. We filmed it outdoors, making use of longer landscape and tracking shots, in contrast to the fast cuts typical in music videos. The musical score we used was drastically different as well. Whereas the music was overtly a major element in our first version, in our second, it was used more subtly under the action and dialogue to enhance the tension in the scene. We also used music to transition between our two interpretations.

Team C: Hamlet – Act 1 Scene 3

After interpreting Act 1 Scene 3 of Hamlet, we all decided to do two different interpretations of the scene focusing on the aspect or theme of Polonius’ family dynamic. The first interpretation is set in modern times where we see Polonius’ children a little bit indifferent and emotionally isolated towards their Father. We decided to portray Polonius as the typical business man who is mostly focused on his personal affairs over the feelings or events going on in his children’s life, unless it could affect his reputation or personal gain. In a sense, this interpretation gives Polonius an emotionally negligent air. As a result of this character representation, the audience gets to view the stronger relationship Laertes has with his young and very naive sister, Ophelia. As Laertes leaves, he expresses a deep concern for Ophelia’s romantic involvement with Hamlet and gives her advice on how to avoid getting hurt by him. The difference between his counsel and that of his father’s is that Laertes breaks the truth of hamlet to her in a tone that expresses concern, whereas Polonius is more stern and ridicules Ophelia for her feelings. Another aspect of this interpretation is that Polonius lacks empathy and compassion towards the fact that his only son is leaving and it could very well be the last time he ever sees his son.

In the second interpretation, we decided to focus on a better and more emotionally supportive relationship between Polonius and his children. Here, Ophelia is less whimsical and doesn’t have such a prominent air of naivety and Polonius is much more supportive and comforting, compared to his representation in the first. To add to the close family dynamic, we chose to film this scene around a campfire which to us made the scene feel very home-like and loving. Even the point where Laertes is parting ways with his family, Polonius seems more interested in how Laertes will fare in France over being mostly concerned about his reputation. With These interpretations, we really weigh on the value of tone and setting describing how characters are really feeling towards each other.

By: Ebany, Asha, Declan, Therese, Breann, Adrian, and Rehana

Team B: Bite My Thumb – Romeo and Juliet: Act 1 Scene 1

After doing a close reading of Act 1 Scene 1 from Romeo and Juliet, we decided that in our portrayal, we wanted to demonstrate the absurdness of the fighting between “two houses alike in dignity” and match the boyish bravado and humour that Shakespeare uses. This witty repartee can clearly be seen between Sampson and Gregory and even continues with a bit of added malice when the Montagues arrive. But after the fighting starts the humour is lost and the malice and anger takes over.


Close reading of text (in pencil).

We wanted to demonstrate two ways of demonstrating this humour and absurdity. One way was without any spoken text, driven by actions. And the other way was completely driven though the words, in the form of a musical.

In the silent film, we emulated physical acting in the silent film period and cartoonish over-acting to illustrate the aforementioned themes drawn from the close reading. We drew reference from Charlie Chaplin films and from cartoons like Popeye.

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A Capulet (with black sock puppet) – Instigators

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A Montague (with white sock puppet) – Retaliators

Musicals and theatre often use over-acting to demonstrate emotions and make the desired themes clearer for audiences. And constantly bursting out into song adds a bit of absurdity. We drew inspiration from West Side Story, which drew inspiration from Romeo and Juliet. Our snapping and dancing (inspired from West Side Story as mentioned previously) is meant to represent the fight scenes.


WE MUST… OVERACT… EVERYTHING!!!!! *shift left*

We used costume colour choices (black and white – in the silent film) (red and blue – in the musical) to represent the different houses. We tried to use props and sets that would illustrate the humour and absurdity that we hoped to highlight as well as to mimic the set and design choices of the inspirations for each depiction.


The Capulets (instigators) in red. The Montagues (retaliators) in blue.

Our camera work and editing choices were intentionally chosen to mimic the inspirations style and demonstrate the absurdity and humour of the scene. The colour effects in the musical reinforce the colour theme which helps separate the two houses.

The music for the silent film is upbeat ragtime, which matches the inspiration format and depicts the desired theme. Brianna Morton adapted the music from Romeo and Juliet the Musical composed by Conrad Askland. Brianna wrote the melody line and rap, and recorded it with the aid of her choir friends. Despite this being Brianna’s first attempt at Garageband, Brianna hoped to use the upbeat, fast tempo, slightly dissonant music to demonstrate the absurdity of the Capulets and Montagues fighting over nothing and the humour Shakespeare injects into his work. The pitch was modified to sound more like men, as it is men of the two houses that are fighting.

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First page of the score for the musical

These two artistic style choices are polar opposites from the more formal acting style in traditional Shakespeare. We hope that we have helped in the interpretation of the opening scene in Romeo and Juliet by depicting it in two drastically different formats.


Brianna Morton, Ore Arowobusoye, Paolo Juego, Kari Major and Fernando Girotto


The construction of Richard in Laurence Olivier’s Richard III(1955)

Richard The Third is a character of multiple interpretations and theories about his true intentions. In the text, Richard often invites the idea that he is a persecuted man who tries to win over the sympathy of the audience through his monologues, and of the other characters of the play through his interactions. At the same time, his actions such as his seduction of Anne and his astute manipulation of other characters shows him as more competent and influential then he purports himself to be. While any portrayal of Richard must show him as conniving, his actual nature as a wronged victim, a conniving prince or a hardened psychopath depends upon interpretation. From the calculated yet subtlely insincere way that Olivier delivered Richard’s first monologue, to the way he played his skilled and authoritative seduction of Anne and Richard’s manipulation of the coronation ceremony, Olivier plays Richard as the conniving, power hungry prince first. We are  left doubting whether Richard is truthful in his monologues and if his handicaps are as severe as he makes them seem. However, his passionate desire for the crown allows us to understand his motives, unlike McKellan’s Richard, who is insensitive and withered inside and out, and seems to enjoy “villainy” without any need for it.

In Richard introductory monologue, he gives his account as to why he is miserable and why he seeks power over people. His motives seem quite straight forward. Richard is handicapped, as he says he is “deformed, unfinished, sent befoe my time into this breathing world, scarce half made up, And that so lamely and unfashionably That dogs bark at me as I halt by them”(Act 1, Scene 1 line 23). He also laments his inability to find the love of a woman,” I that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majestry to strut before a wanton ambling nymph”(Act 1, Scene 1, line 16-17). Due to his loneliness and lack of occupation, he says that “To entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain”(Act 1, Scene 1, Line 30). It is evident that Richard says he is power hungry due to being unloved, and because his plots and treachery will be able to sabotage peoples’ happiness that he was unable to receive himself. However, because Richard is inherently manipulative and untruthful, the authenticity of this monologue can be brought into question. Laurence Olivier alludes to this in his version of the monologue.Richard does not come across as the self-pitying outcast he purports to be in his lines. He is standing straight, his voice is quite self-assured and he delivers the lines with forcefulness and tact rather than with pain and a sense of unworthiness. The only time Richard seems manic or emotional in Olivier’s version is when he is talking about the throne. He breaks into a grin when he says “I know not how to get the crown” (see clip: Olivier, “Now is the Winter of Our Discontent”, 2:49-3:10)and he starts yelling and staggering in almost a drunken way when he states “I will torment myself to catch the English crown!”(Clip:3:20-3:25). It is also significant that Richard is not speaking to himself in the monologue but clearly speaking to the audience, so the Act is much more like a speech than like a meditation;he is aiming to manipulate the listener to support him rather than to confess or reflect to himself.

Loncraine’s Richard provides a notable contrast to Olivier’s. Richard, as played by Ian McKellan gives the same speech in a urinal, talking to himself after addressing a crowd. The scene begins with McKellen addressing what appears to be a state dinner, and giving what seems like a rousing speech that is eagerly attended to. He starts the first few lines of the monologue addressed to the Son of York in Public. The first few lines start cheerfully and seemingly admiringly “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by the son of York”(Act I, Scene 1, Line 1-2) and the transition to the private urinal is made at “He capers nimbly in a ladies chamber”.(1:1:12) Mckellen then mutters the rest of the lines about his disfigured appearance and seeking revenge while he painfully urinates and later as he fixes his moustache in the mirror(See Clip). He delivers the line “I that am not shaped for sportive tricks”(1:1:14) with a cynical sigh and defeated self loathing. He only addresses the camera at the very end, and with familiar surprise, as if he has found an old friend or an accomplice who is “in” with his plans of villainy. Evidently, this Richard is far different to Olivier’s. Olivier’s Richard was the ambitious yet dissatisfied prince eager to manipulate the invisible audience to sympathise with his goals. McKellen’s Richard is not isolated, but is seen as important and celebrated. This Richard is not the outcast prince looking for an audience because he already has an attentive audience in the movie. This Richard is genuinely world-weary and bitter, someone who utters the lines about revenge and murder to himself because he genuinely has no regard for the world. In a way, Olivier’s Richard is the more sympathizable of the two. His evil springs from a genuine isolation, he feels he deserves the throne and is trying to win the audience over to his cause. McKellen’s Richard is already powerful, already celebrated, but plots evil to himself in a jaded and hardened manner. Olivier’s Richard is angry, greedy and manipulative, but his evil springs from an identifiable cause, whereas McKellen’s Richard is decayed and impenetrable.He seems purely motivated by a hatred of life, which makes him more dangerous.

Returning to Olivier’s Richard, a scene which strengthens Richard’s true nature as a seducer and manipulator rather than a genuine victim is his woo-ing of Lady Anne. He makes it known to the audience that he wants to wed the widow of the Prince of Wales. He initially meets her on the funeral procession of her husband, where he obnoxiously stops the procession of the casket and threatens the priests. Anne was naturally enraged but he tries to pacify her telling her that a man of her husband’s character belongs in heaven more than earth. He then says that he belongs in her bed chamber. While Anne spits at him, she responds to this absurd advance by lustily gazing at him up and down and she walks away. The absurd flirtation with Anne is continued when he meets her at her husband’s grave. He confesses that he killed her husband out of his love for her, and after making a few insincere gestures threatening to kill himself if she doesn’t accept him as her new husband, Anne yields herself to him and kisses him. The most obvious extraction from this strange courtship was voiced by Richard himself when he said “Was ever woman in this humour wooed, was ever woman in this humour won?”(Act 2, Scene 2, 222-224). While the courtship doesn’t make any sense, perhaps Olivier is endorsing the possible viewpoint by Shakespeare that a powerful and competent man can win over any woman, even a grieving, recently widowed one. The idea that a woman can be swept up by any man with the social standing and the confidence to woo her is mirrored in Hamlet, where Cladius married his brother’s wife within a month of his brothers funeral. This also supports the idea that Richard is not the neglected,unaccepted,virgin that he makes us feel he is in his monologue. Richard is brash and overconfident with women, it is unlikely that someone with a broken self-image would proposition a woman at her husband’s funeral. More so, the fact that Anne accepted him speaks volumes for his likely status. Anne was portrayed as a weak and shallow woman but even then, she probably accepted him because he was a prince and an eligible bachelor, rather than a freak. This makes us think that his monologue in the beginning about “Dogs bark at me as I halt by them” was probably a ploy for him to stoke up our sympathy rather than a genuine sense of persecution.

Richard iii

The tactic of Richard as tyrant playing a victim is made evident at the scene of his coronation. At the scene where Richard is ripe for the throne, he is shown marching in a procession of priests, singing holy hymns in the robes of a monk. At this point, no-one knows that Richard intends to take the English crown, and him being seen in public as a holy man deflects any suspicion that he may be ambitious. The cloaking of Richard in Monks robes also plays on the handicapped card, as it was known that in medieval times and even today in some countries, that the disabled are often reliant on the Church. The setting is perfect for Richard to deliver rehearsed lines, fed by a co-conspirator, in order to deliver his seemingly-reluctant ascension. He makes sure his accomplice Catesby calls the whole village to hear his lament about him becoming king, as he dramatizes “Will you enforce me to a world of cares?”(Act 3, Scene 7, 222) He also once again invokes his handicap to invite sympathy ” Yet so much is my poverty of spirit, So mighty and so many my defects That I would rather hide me from my greatness”(Act 3, Scene 7, 158-159). Unique to the Olivier version is how Olivier deploys the line “call them again” as a sharp order to Catesby to rally up the villagers who had dispersed, which created the effect of rehearsed scene. The interpretive choice of the director to priestly procession complements the monologue of Richard as a master of appearances. He introduced himself to us as the outcast cripple to disarm us and he portrays himself as the humble, disabled monk to disarm the peasantry. Through these two false appearances, we infer that Olivier created Richard not only as a schemer but someone who has created the persona of a victim, and uses his disability as a tool to achieve his aims rather than have it serve as an impediment to them.

Hamlet: Act 4 Scene 4 (Paolo Juego, 10110489)

For my Engl 311 course, I have watched Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 film of Hamlet and read the play in Robert Miola’s Norton edition.

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This edition includes Branagh’s introduction to the play, where he explains his experience of Hamlet at the New Theatre, Oxford.  He not only watched, but experienced ‘something unique.’  Although he did not completely understand the language, he was able to share the emotions of the characters.  Branagh was ‘moved to tears’ and found it ‘as thrilling as a football match.’

In act 4 scene 4 of Branagh’s 1996 Hamlet, Hamlet had just spoken with one of Fortinbras’ captain about their reasons for going into battle/war.  The combination of the background music and the transition form a close up to outward panning shot creates a sense of change in Hamlet.  It feels like he finally has resolve to match his thoughts and is the turning point of the movie.


Chelsea Santucci – Hamlet: Act 4 Scene 7:158-163

4 hours of solid Kenneth Branagh action wew

Act 5 Scene 2

Lines: Hamlet, Miola’s Norton Version 4:7:158-163

And that he calls for drink, I’ll have prepared him
A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venomed stuck,
Our purpose may hold there. [A noise within] But stay, what

This line stuck out the most in terms of interpretation because I realized a foreshadowing effect during the film which I had not realized when I’ve originally read or heard this play. The distance between the lines “A chalice for the nonce” (4:7:159) and the action of the Queen entering and interrupting (162-163) have traditionally left the two rather unrelated for me previously. Perhaps it’s because it’s made much more obvious here by the lingering chalice that Claudius holds up in frame as the queen enters, but the connection between the plotting of poisoning Hamlet with a drink and being interrupted while making said plan made it really obvious that it was a foreshadowing that the Queen would interrupt the actual plan and end up drinking the wine herself.

Kind of made me feel like I wasn’t paying attention the first times around, but definitely picked up on it this time.

Brianna Morton: Hamlet: Act 5 Scene 1

HAMLET, Act 5 Scene 1

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Screen Cap: Gravedigger, Act 5 Scene 1

“Why, e’en so. And now my Lady Worm’schapless, and knocked about the mazard with a sexton’s spade. Here’s fine revolutionan we had the trick to see’t. Did these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at loggets with ’em? Mine ache to think on’t.” (5.1.110)

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My Notes: Hamlet: Act 5 Scene 1

From just reading this scene, I thought it was rather morbid. They were talking about death and there was nothing in the notes to indicate that it was supposed to be humorous. When I watched the film version I realized that the gravedigger was making light of the whole situation. (It was either that or he was off his rocker.) Hamlet was speaking the words, but the visual was the gravedigger handle skulls. This created a levity that I had not gathered by just reading the text.

The 4-hour, unabridged, film version helped me appreciate and understand Shakespeare’s Hamlet in a way reading the text could never have given me.


Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. Print.

Hamlet. Dir. Kenneth Branagh. Perf. Kenneth Branagh. 1996. Web.

Film Notes

In Act 5 Scene 1 I quite enjoyed line
“why may not that be the skull of lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillets,his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery?”. Lines 92-97. I felt that this described the burial well and expressed Hamlet’s emotions in a very raw way.