Team C: Team Project

When considering what aspects of Shakespeare’s King Henry V we wanted to portray in film, we asked ourselves: what must Katherine have felt when she was told she was to meet King Henry and marry him? She might have been happy and indifferent, or upset and dismayed about her situation. We focused on the opposite reactions Katherine may have displayed and how they would be portrayed in film. Lines from within the Chorus and Scene 3 of Act 3, and Scene 2 from Act 5 were used.

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To tell the difference between our film adaptations, we used our acting, costumes, editing, and music to best portray Katherine’s emotions. When acting happy, she reacted indifferently, with a smile towards what others had to say. When acting unhappy, she would show despair and sadness. Our costumes also reflected Katherine’s conflicting emotions by using a white dress for her wedding when she was happy, and a black dress with a veil covering her face for her wedding when she was not pleased.

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We used a green screen to best recreate the Renaissance times. None of us having made a large film before, we learned a lot about good lighting and creative camera angles. In order to make the green screen work it took us over an hour just to construct our set for the best possible shots! We also used filtering techniques of light and dark to pander to Katherine’s emotions in both adaptations. To finish off our editing, we used different styles of classical music in each adaptation to match the emotions of Katherine, using more uplifting and spirited songs when Katherine was happy, and slower and darker toned songs when Katherine was unhappy.

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All-in-all, Team C was a great success!

Kaitlin Osterlund: Notes Reflection

With a play-text, I find that I am much more active in my inquiry and annotation than for a film. I also find that annotation for a play-text is more of a physical process for remembering and recalling information. I like to underline and circle lots of phrases and words when I am reading in order to use the physical act of writing as I read to better retain the text’s meaning. The things I underline or circle either have some relevance to the main purpose of the passage, or are parts that I did not fully understand and would need to research further to understand the passage’s true meaning. I tend to take more notes when reading than when viewing a film because I find it harder to focus on reading a passage than watching a film. By taking more notes when I read, I feel that I make up for this reduced focus and can better recall the meaning in what I had read. I believe more effort is required for the inquiry process to understand the underlying meaning of written passages, because so much of the meaning is left up to a reader’s imagination to interpret on their own.

With a film, I find that I am much more passive in my inquiry and annotation than for a play-text, and I also find that annotation for a film is much more of a visual process. I rarely take notes when watching a film, and often find that I distract myself from the film when I attempt to take notes. This distraction keeps me from involving myself in the interpretation of the plot, and I am not able to immerse myself in the meaning of the moving images on the screen. Even though I don’t write as many notes, I feel like I retain the same amount of information as I would from taking lots of notes from a play-text. I find that I can form pictures in my head from recalling scenes I had viewed when recalling information. I can remember the body language of the actors, the setting, their costumes, the tone of music, and most importantly how I was feeling and what emotions were emphasized in that scene. Watching film seems more immersing than reading, because both visual and auditory senses are active and so I recall more because more of my senses are focused on the inquiry of the film. This allows the annotation of a film to be a more passive process.

I measure the success of these methods of inquiry and annotation based on the amount of knowledge I am able to successfully retain. Success can also be further measured in how well I can present the knowledge I have gained, determining whether I fully understand the meaning of the knowledge I had remembered from either play-text or film.

Dale, Edgar. Cone of Learning. Digital image. Factlets – Spark Insight. Taxevity, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. http://sparkinsight.wdfiles.com/local–files/factlets/cone_of_learning.png

I often refer to Edgar Dale’s Cone of Learning (2016), which I had first come across in a second year ecology course I had taken. It states that after two weeks, only 10% of what is read is remembered and only 50% of what is viewed and heard from film is remembered. Both reading and viewing are passive methods of remembering information, yet viewing is located further down on the pyramid and is closer to an active process of remembering. Annotation can improve the amount of retained knowledge, and can be considered more of an active form of remembering information. Because reading a play-text retains less information over two weeks, I believe it is why I feel the need to write more notes to ensure I am successful in retaining the full understanding and meaning from the play-text. The opposite is true for viewing a film which retains more information over two weeks, and therefore I feel the need to write fewer notes to ensure I am successful in retaining the full understanding and meaning from the film.

Citation:

Dale, Edgar. Cone of Learning. Digital image. Factlets – Spark Insight. Taxevity, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016. http://sparkinsight.wdfiles.com/local–files/factlets/cone_of_learning.png

Kaitlin Osterlund: Film Review (Romeo + Juliet)

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet film interestingly interprets Shakespeare’s original Romeo and Juliet play, by placing the traditional play in a modern 90’s setting. Many stylistic choices were made in this film that allowed the opposing script and setting to merge for a very unique interpretation on the story of Romeo and Juliet.

In the beginning of the film, the chorus gives an introduction, shown in the following YouTube clip.

Most other Shakespeare films do not include the chorus, but will visually describe the setting through shots and sequences that omit narrative descriptions. Luhrmann decided to keep the chorus to describe how his film would follow the traditional Shakespearian script in a modern 90’s setting. He did this by displaying the narrative in a news broadcast on an old television. The broadcaster spoke the lines from the original play, and she was composed in the manner that a news broadcaster would be on modern television of the 90’s. I found that this method of using the chorus set the scene very well for the film, allowing me to understand how the rest of the film would be portrayed, with an old Shakespearian dialogue in a modern 90’s world. Had the chorus not introduced the proceedings of the film with visual references to the 90’s, the juxtaposition of the modern times with the unmodified Shakespearian script would have created confusion between the visual setting and dialogue of the film. Luhrmann’s choice of incorporating the chorus allowed me as a viewer to seamlessly merge the Shakespearian dialogue and 90’s visual setting before the film proceeded into the story.

The next scene I would like to focus on is the scene when Mercutio is killed by Tibalt, shown in the following film clip from YouTube.

Mercutio calls his wound “a scratch” (Shakespeare, Evans, & Brooke, 1984, p. 3.1.60) when he is stabbed by Tibalt’s sword. Luhrmann, having retained much of Shakespeare’s original lines within his film, could not omit this well-known line. However, the characters all used guns rather than swords. If Mercutio had been struck by a bullet, it would have left a wound that could not be labeled as a scratch, and his death may have been shorter lived. Because of this, I believe that Luhrmann decided to have Mercutio fall into broken glass when pushed by Tibalt instead of being shot. This choice by Luhrmann allowed for Mercutio’s dialogue to remain unchanged from the traditional Shakespeare script. Mercutio could say that that the glass that impaled him left only a scratch. Mercutio’s death was also longer lived with this type of injury, rather than being shot by a bullet, which allowed him to carry out his long dialogue before his actual death. The Shakespearian script remained unchanged with this change in the means of Mercutio’s death in the film.

The last scene is after Mercutio’s death where Romeo kills Tibalt, seen in this last film clip from YouTube.

In this scene, Romeo acts out of rage after the death of Mercutio and fires multiple shots at Tibalt. I found it interesting that when Romeo shoots Tibalt, there is a sudden flash cut to Juliet. As soon as we see Juliet looking distressed, Romeo stops firing shots and has a look of realization that he was in a blind rage. This addition of Juliet to the scene allows viewers to understand that the thought of Juliet snapped Romeo out of his cloud of rage, when there was no direct dialogue explaining Romeo’s thoughts. Juliet was not directly in the scene, since later in the film we see Juliet learning about Tibalt’s death, so she was instead a part of Romeo’s thoughts. Without this cut, we would not understand why Romeo suddenly stopped firing his gun. Having Juliet flash across the screen gives viewers a brief view into Romeo’s mind, allowing viewers to understand his train of thought when he realizes the implications of his actions and the damage those actions would result for him and his star-crossed lover.

In all, I enjoyed this film, and appreciated Luhrmann’s ability to merge the script and setting in a very unique and interesting way to interpret as a viewer. It brings Romeo and Juliet into a modern light that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of viewers in the present while maintaining the integrity of Shakespeare’s script.

Work Cited:

Shakespeare, William, G. Blakemore Evans, and Arthur Brooke. Romeo and Juliet. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984. Print.