Team B: Team Project

 

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Our team chose to do our film project on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Scene 3, Act 1, Lines 15-115.  The scene includes three characters, Beatrice, Ursula and Hero.  We chose for both interpretations to have Cai Samphire, a male, act the character Beatrice.  Hilary James acted as Ursula and Brydie Thomas played Hero.

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For our first performance we chose to do a time appropriate rendition of the scene.  We shot this version at the Rundle Ruins in downtown Calgary.  Our team felt the location provided an appropriate background to continue with the chosen theme.  In this version, true to how the play was written, Beatrice is a woman.  We felt that a male playing a female role was appropriate with the fact that in Shakespeare’s time, all the roles would have been played by men. Cai as a man being drawn into an intrigue with another man is a way of taking a classic representation of a love story and making it consistent with modern romance. Our choice to have one long camera shot for this interpretation as well is a nod to how the play would have appeared.  We also chose to continue with the time appropriate interpretation by using classical music.

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The second performance is a modern take on the scene.  We chose the university for this version and used multiple shots at different angles.  The multiple cuts allowed us to play more with the space and have the film become more intimate as we could easily control what was in the shot versus the first version, which was shot outside.  Having Cai portray Beatrice as a male in this version helped distinguish between our two chosen themes.  As well, gender is more of a topic of discussion nowadays and having a male/male dynamic isn’t as taboo as it once was.  We chose to use modern popular music for this version as well to maintain the present-day theme.

 

Tekla McIlhargey: Notes Reflection

My approach and habits for taking notes have similarities and differences when it comes to play-text versus watching a film version of a Shakespeare play.  The better the notes, the easier it is for me to find what I’m looking for quicker, look back and understand what I was interpreting and remember the most important details.

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When I am watching a film interpretation of a Shakespeare play, I will have the script of the play with me as well as my notebook to take notes.  While watching I will pause the film whenever I feel something essential has happened that I should be noting.  I will find the scene in the book and will scan or re-read the scene, depending on how well I remember it, then will compare the language:  Is it an exact replica of the language in the Shakespeare script?  Were word and/or lines omitted or changed?  Characters: How are the characters visually interpreted in the film?  How do the actors portray the character versus how I felt the character would look while reading the play?  Setting: Is it time appropriate?  Modern?  What location choices did the director decide would suite this play and their interpretation of it?  Music:  Is the film score original to the film?  Is it modern music easily recognizable?  Is it loud music?  Soft music? Continuous or in and out?  I will also write down the scene and act from the play as well as the time on the film so that I can easily find it later, if needed.  Once I feel I have written down what I will need to remember and what I feel is essential I continue with watching the film will again pause and do the same when pertinent.   I do not annotate directly on the script while I do my notes for film-review.  This is an area where I see I can improve.  If I wrote directly on the text I would have had an easier time understanding my notes written in my notebook and where exactly in the play I could draw connections.

While reading a Shakespeare play my first and most important habit is to use a version of the play which includes definitions on the page.  I will lookout for words I don’t understand and write them directly over the word in the text.  I will look for word-play and grammar specific to Shakespeare: his use of puns, double-meanings, metaphors and personification.  My main technique for note taking is by annotating while I read.  I find this keeps me more involved in the text and less likely to lose my train of thought.  If I run out of room in the margins, I add post-it notes to the pages to continue with my annotating.  I find this can become very overwhelming when I go back to review my annotated notes and I have been trying to use my notebook more for notes when reading a Shakespeare play.  Another habit I have recently been trying to change is to use a pen to annotate instead of a pencil.  The pencil smudged and it creates a messy and sometimes unreadable annotation.

I find the habits I have developed throughout my education have for the most part helped me, however, they can become messy and in that sense I do require improvement.  As Shakespeare can often be perplexing to read or watch I believe the best habit is patience and to know it will require some interpretation.  Good note taking is imperative to obtaining an understanding of Shakespeare.

Tekla McIlhargey: Film Review

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I was immediately intrigued by the opening scene of Trevor Nunn’s Twelfth Night or What You Will when we were shown a clip in class and so it was an easy decision to write my film review on this specific film.  I found that with the breathtaking location choices to the purposeful use of light and dark I was drawn into the film and the story yet not overwhelmed by one particular film technique.  A compelling choice of Shakespeare’s original text was used and unfamiliar words were swapped for specific words more understandable for modern audience.  I found this technique would likely be useful in allowing a wider audience to enjoy one of Shakespeare’s best (in my opinion) comedic romances.

In act one, scene five, when Viola disguised as Cesario and Olivia meet for the first time, Viola is brought into a dark room where it is hard to see much of anything.  There is no sound except for the soft clicking of a clock.  This choice of natural lighting and lack of music work well with Violas initial confusion and consistent request for confirmation that Olivia is indeed the lady of the house.  As the text between Viola and Olivia becomes more personal, we see a pique in Olivia’s interest through close camera shots of her big expressive eyes and we see Viola thrust open the curtains to blind Olivia with light. We see the two end the visit on an intimate note out in the garden with Viola yelling “Olivia!” bolding and much to Olivia’s pleasant surprise, seen through an up close shot of Olivia’s expression.  They are fully in the light of the sun. Olivia has moved from a dark sorrowful place to a light loving place, both personally and visually.

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In act two, scene four, we find Viola, Orsino and Feste alone in a small, dark lit cabin.  This is not similar to Shakespeare’s original text as there is a larger group written in the original, however, the dialogue between the characters is similar and Feste’s song is identical.  Once again, I found the choice of natural lighting worked well with the scene, it is intimate and allows for the audience to behold a very close and seductive relationship between Viola and Orsino.  As Feste is singing the camera breaks between short shots of Feste singing and longer, slower shots of Viola and Orsino moving their heads closer to one other and almost kissing.  The darkness and natural lighting, the low, soft music and slow camera movements makes for a very intimate scene.

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The final scene of the play is act five, scene one.   Although this is not the last scene of the movie, it is, in my opinion, the most tense.  We watch quick shots as the quarrel and confusion escalade between the characters.  The look of confusion on Olivia’s face when she first welcomes Viola and Orsino to her home is a choice by actress Helena Bonham Carter to show her confusion as to why her ‘husband’ has arrived with Orsino and seems just fine with Orsino’s expression of adoration without her having to say a word.  The scene continues through quick up close shots and longer wide angle shots while we watch the cast and the emotion grow.  The perplexity and then clarity on the actors faces brings the audience to the climax as we watch the slow lingering shot of Olivia and her words, straight from Shakespeare’s text, “most wonderful”.

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The use of music, scene location and natural lighting, as well as the choice exerts from Shakespeare’s original text created an intense build up and finale that was exactly what the audience would have been waiting for.  As the film closes there is sequence of long shots with the characters dispersing towards their futures and Feste dancing merrily away singing; as an audience it feels we have been given a fair and comfortable ending.