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!

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.

 

Team E Blog Post

For our team project we have chosen Act 2, Scene 1 of Henry V. The reason for choosing this particular scene was because everyone of the group except our director had the chance to act, as it is composed of five different roles.

 

We figured out quickly which versions would work with regard to the content. Our first version is a stakeout detective scene, as a modern screen adaptation. We did not change the text because we wanted to create a film with a modern setting but with the original text. The second version is a Western version for which we have changed the script a reasonable amount. Both adaptations are not supposed to be very dramatic because the scene itself provides more material for a humoristic montage. As group we foregrounded for an example that Bardolph is an old drunkard and created a funny depiction of the quarrel between Nym and Ancient Pistol.

 

Many of the elements used reflected upon both film adaptations. The props that were used furthered and almost exaggerated the characters that Shakespeare created for example, Bardolph being a drunk with his whisky in the old west version or flask in the stakeout version.

 

As noted by our director, our choices behind the camera were designed to emulate a TV show than Film. I chose quick cuts and no fancy shots to make the film have a faster feel. I feel that this highlights the verbal battle between Pistol and Nym without needing to alter the dialogue to showcase this. Also the inability of the camera to provide a shallow depth of field meant that we couldn’t put to much focus on the actor’s faces. Also we needed to keep the camera towards the middle in order to deal with the audio recorder.

Caitlyn Molstad: Notes Reflection

I am an extremely visual learner so my annotation and notes are all done by hand. I find that when I write things down- sometimes more than once- I can retain a large amount of information. I take a lot of notes, jotting down everything I can think of at first, then going back over them to pick out the most important points and emphasize what is most significant. I often re-write my notes after a lecture to better retain the information.

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When close reading a play-text, I begin by creating a list of the characters. I find it helpful to do some external research and write a brief description of each character’s place within the narrative, connection to other characters, and some of their personal qualities and motives within the text. I refer back to this list often during my readings. I have found my readings of texts in which the language is more difficult than usual to be most successful when I seek external information and summaries before diving into a close reading. Sparknotes is often viewed negatively in higher academic settings but I think that it can be an effective addition to traditional close readings. annotation-2I paraphrase each scene of every act in a play, writing down the general plot line so that when I start my close reading, I can focus on the more nuanced details of the text instead of struggling to grasp the basic storyline. I find I am more successful in analyzing Shakespeare’s elevated language when I already have a strong grasp of what’s going on in a particular scene.

Once I have my list of characters and a paraphrase of each scene, I begin the close reading process. annotation-1I like to look over the footnotes and briefly annotate or translate anything I think is significant next to the lines on the top half of the page so I’m not constantly breaking away from the text to read the notes. Then, I mark off the meter of the text, which not only helps me to understand the meaning behind the poetic devices at work, but also focuses me on the rhythm of each line and slows my reading down. In a very detailed close reading of a scene, I underline and highlight different things that jump out at me, like any alliteration or variation on syllables. I found using the glossary of terms provided to us by Dr. Ullyot to be helpful and I take note of which poetic or linguistic elements I notice in a particular passage.

My annotation and notes when analyzing a film are a little less formal than when reading a play-text, but perhaps more time-consuming. I watch the film all the way through, taking a first set of notes that are more like a stream of consciousness. I write down any thoughts and ideas I get while watching the film, important symbols, cinematic techniques at work, the effect of score or soundtrack, and any important quotes that stand out to me. I also take note of any scenes or sequences that I found to be particularly interesting and write down the time at which they occur in the film. I then go back to those scenes and take notes with more detail and attention than the first set. After I’ve seen the whole movie, I write down any final thoughts or conclusions about the film and any arguments I might make.

I think it’s also interesting to note that I use these different viewing and reading habits to compliment one another in my understanding of a text. Reading the play-text can help to accentuate meanings I perhaps didn’t pick up on in a film, and watching scenes on film can help me better understand a particular scene from the play. When I engage in different mediums and methods of understanding a text, I am successful in uncovering deeper meaning and more diverse interpretations that I may not have with a one-dimensional approach.

I determine my success in annotating by talking to someone about the text once I’m finished studying. I find that if I am able to explain meaning, details, and engage verbally by teaching someone else about the material, I generally have a good understanding of the text. This way, not only do I feel confident in my own knowledge, but those closest to me become well-educated on the texts I engage with!

Shoshanna Paperny: Notes Reflection

When reading, a text as foreign as Shakespearean plays, many tactics must be employed in order to understand not only the surface, but deeper meaning. In play writes and film involving Shakespeare’s text and language there is often alternative meanings than what originally meets the eye. Within the text lies various forms of symbolism, puns, irony and hidden messages that one would not notice without deeper speculation. When reading a play or watching a film my annotation process involves multiple steps. The first is re-reading or re watching the content.
By becoming better acquainted with the content you are already at an advantage when it comes to annotating the text. You become more familiar with the storyline, characters and general plot. Apart from that each time I read or watch a play, a new piece of information stands out to me, or I notice an aspect that I hadn’t before. After reviewing it twice or three times through I revisit the sections that A)stood out to me as being important, or B)I found confusing. At this point in the process I annotate a written play differently than a film.
For a play I revisit the interesting or confusing sections and start to decode it one word at a time. By finding or gaining a better explanation of what key words mean, you can start to understand what the text is getting at or portraying. In a film on the other hand, I typically approach these scenes by returning to the original text that the scene is based on. For me I best understand information through reading. Often by just reading the words from the paper I can better understand what is occurring on film.
This use of using text and film together to annotate goes both ways. By watching a Shakespearean film, and reading the original play (or vide versa), you gain a better understanding for the play and the content being portrayed. This way you are exposed to another person’s impression of the play while integrating it with your own mental imagery of it. While reading the text I will often underline these key words and read the text out loud in order to consolidate the information.
By annotating text you are not simply summarizing what is it front of you. You are adding something new, maybe a concept or a way in which is wasn’t understood before. For me a successful annotation provides me with the ability to not only relay on the story I read/watched but also be able to add my own opinions or takes on it. If you truly have a deep understanding for the content you are able to expand on it and gain deeper insight on its various meanings.

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

Samuel Martyn: Notes Reflection

My notes are awful. They are sparse and happen relatively infrequently. Particularly for reading a play or watching film. They are nondescript for the most part. If anyone aside from me was to look at my notes, they would not gain much, if anything at all.

Most of my annotation when it comes to going through the text of a play, does not consist of writing words between the lines or in the margins. I circle, highlight, and underline words or phrases of significance. I usually read the scene/passage out loud, and make these annotations during or after. This is so I can gauge the emotion, flow, and emphasis of the passage. The few words I write in are only to describe the emotion or tone of the speaker.

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The reason for my style of note-taking (or lack thereof) is that once I read or hear the text a couple of times through, I can process it quite easily. I also find it more beneficial to return and re-read the entire passage to remember or understand the text than to try and interpret what the annotation I wrote in at a prior time means. Following a single story-line with the same characters throughout the text, I can very easily process and engage in what is happening without taking many notes.

This sentiment is even further experienced when I watch a film. I rarely take notes while watching film. By actively pairing the narrative with faces and voices, and literally having the text played out in front of my eyes, I almost immediately process and internalize what is happening. Film is my favourite medium (aside from music) for the sole fact that I can recall its information so quickly and accurately. The only time I will write down a note from a film is when there is a line that I want to remember, or a song on the soundtrack that I want to download at a later time.

The only other time in which I will write something down while watching a film or reading a play text, is when I want to be looking for categorical or symbolic representations within the medium. However, these will not be specific things I write down, it will be more like “watch for: lighting shifts, change in tone, music”, etc. I do this instead of in depth, specific notes, because I want to be engaged with the text medium itself, rather than try to keep up with both note taking and observation and then end up missing something significant within the text.

My notes are typically not successful in the sense that they should be. When I do annotations, I typically look back a few days later and have absolutely no idea what it means. When it comes to the final exam however, I do realize that this choice of extremely limited annotation may cause some issues for me. I take notes in my history classes, when there are not necessarily story lines or narratives, or consistent characters that make the material a linear, thematic text. Annotations done on my part do not help me comprehend English literature any better.

My notes may come across as “insufficient” to others or, it may seem as if I am not engaging in the text, but that could not be farther from the truth. Notes are just not how I find I can actively engage the text.

Carly Splett: Argument Reflection

I begin by carefully examining the essay’s criteria, in order to determine exactly what will be required. This examination is then broken down into an outline, which will be referenced repeatedly throughout the composition of my essay. After determining the precise subject matter for my assignment, I begin my research with general sources, and/or the source directly pertaining to the assignment, to thoroughly engage with the material. From this research, I determine my stance on the argument, and compose my thesis.

After determining my argument, I compile an outline document which comprises of each section necessary in the essay. If additional research is required for the assignment, I will engage in a thorough research for multiple viable sources. Depending on the nature of the assignment, I will either begin with internet or print sources. My general rule is to attempt to engage at least twenty sources for a research-source-based assignment. If the assignment is not research-source-based, I will pour my energies into an aggressive analysis of the primary material pertaining to the assignment. Any passages which prove beneficial to my essay are copied under the relevant outline section.

Once all of my necessary information has been compiled, I begin to compose my essay in a new document. Using the outline as a basis, I work on each section separately. I do not necessarily work on each section chronologically, but will engage each section in the order of strongest to weakest argument. As I engage the material, it can become apparent that my current stance differs subtly from my thesis. Working on each section out of order enables me to examine my analysis of the information without bias, and therefore reconstruct my thesis if it is necessary.

The first draft of my essay will then undergo editing, through both a micro and macro analysis. Any statements or information which prove to be inaccurate or ineffective are removed or altered, and any gaps in the argument or material are supported with additional quotes or statements. As a general rule, I prefer to leave a day or two in between edits, so that I can analyze the strength of my argument from a fresh perspective. After three to four edits, I feel satisfied with the strength of my argument.

An example of this process, is the recent close-reading analysis paper for this course. I began by carefully examining the requirements of the assignment, and creating an outline of criteria gleaned from D2L and the blog site. I then photocopied the chosen passage from the primary source material pertaining to the assignment, to allow for detailed analysis. With the outline as a guide, I engaged a careful step-by-step analysis of the Shakespearean passage, based on the assignment suggestions. At the suggestion of the guidelines, I engaged in several analysis sessions on separate days. This information was compiled in notation on the photocopy, as well as more detailed note-taking in a notebook.

Immersing myself in the analysis allowed me to conclude that the passage was meant to simulate fearful anticipation in the audience, by using poetic techniques. Alliterative sounds were jarring and percussive to the ear, which would invoke the fearful sounds one would hear before the battle. The stakes of the coming battle would have caused fearful fantasizing in the English, so a mythical element was created with supernatural metaphor, personification, and simile. After several rounds of analysis and editing, I was confident that I had explored the facets of proof which were fundamental to my argument.

Analysis of my technique for shifting from evidence to argument, has led to the conclusion that my method is both pragmatic and thorough.

Pavneet Pahwa: Notes Reflection

Shakespeare is seen as a challenge by most English students all over the world. His language is flowery and pleasant to hear, but also rather daunting to try and understand. Archaic vocabulary, historical context, bizarre sentence structure, and an abundance of literary devices further contribute to a much denser layer of complexity in his work. Exposure to this madness over the years, however, has resulted in the development of my own method of comprehension which I will be discussing in this blog post.

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My journey of a play-text begins with a list of roles which I translate into a character tree. Details are added as more of the play’s context is revealed through online research, footnotes, as well as the advancement of the plot. Keeping this tree chart available as a guide throughout, I read an online summary of each act just prior to engaging with the text. I follow along the play using an unbiased, non-dramatized LibriVox-Audiobook recording to stay on track while keeping the words open to interpretation. Already having a gist of the plot enables me to focus on Shakespeare’s interpretive choices as I highlight all the textual features that make a strong first impression, taking notes in the margins. A dictionary is kept accessible at all times.

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Monologues and exchanges that seem most important to plot and character development are marked with sticky-notes, to be analyzed more closely once the whole play has been read. Then, the chosen lines are read aloud and more slowly to attend to details. I divide the text into sections, if possible, based on apparent shifts in form, language and/or semantics, as recommended by Dr. Ullyot. The use of literary techniques is further categorized using a table that I created based on Dr. Ullyot’s expectations for close reading, to ensure that no significant aspect is overlooked. Keeping patterns in mind, I utilize the table to jot down the effects of the literary features used, in addition to categorizing them. This highlights the importance of their employment while also actualizing the awareness that one is being manipulated by Shakespeare (accidentally and/or deliberately) in the subtlest of ways.

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In contrast, influence over the audience is much more deliberate, pronounced, and yet easily discounted by the untrained eye when it comes to cinema. Having freely interpreted the words of the author from my own perspective, I then allow directors to sweep me into their narrower adaptation of the same. Impactful scenes are paused, rewound and replayed several times with a table of key elements, a pen, and a notebook at my disposal, in order to implement disciplined focus, given the much faster pace of films. The first thing I note down is a brief description of the setting being portrayed in the film, how similar or different it is from what Shakespeare or I may have imagined, and how it enhances the story as a whole. I usually have the book in front of me to get a sense of the proportion of text that has been shown, as opposed to being told.

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Direction and camera are arguably the most crucial components of the visual aspect of cinema. I take note of the general type, pattern, and point of view of the film shots. The strategy behind editing and splicing the same is noted along with the genre, pace and rhythm of the music being employed. Similarly, I look for iconic moments created by actors based on their individual interpretations of the characters, intertwined with those of the director. The chemistry between, and the (gradual or sudden) shifts in these cinematic elements (Crowl, 2007) is an important aspect of my film analyses. I follow up with reading the recommended critiques, learning about the director’s signature style, and watching interviews, further unveiling the thought processes behind some of the creative decisions witnessed on screen.

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After having collected, categorized and described the evidence from both literature and film in a segregated manner, I begin to seek patterns across my notes for strong, recurring themes and well-supported arguments. The success of my inductive analyses is determined by the abundance of quality evidence alluding to each claim or concept. Having clusters of data (though subjective in interpretation), as opposed to outliers, reduces the likelihood of arriving at far-fetched conclusions, paving the way for an effective piece of argumentative writing.

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Works Cited

Crowl, Samuel. Shakespeare and Film: A Norton Guide. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. Print.

Adetola Adedipe: Notes Reflection

When one says “Shakespeare” things that go through the mind include: sophistication and difficulty. Like anything, practice makes perfect and reading play-text is no different. If one annotates enough it almost becomes second nature. At first, reading Shakespeare text was challenging. However, doing a Shakespeare play every year in high school helped a lot with interpretation. It was seen that the more notes you had on your play then the better that person will do. Taking drama throughout high school I was also exposed to the emotions, thoughts and subtext behind Shakespearean writing from an actor’s perspective. Eventually reading play text and writing down notes became something that I was used to and something I had to do to be successful in representing a character or writing a literary essay.

I think my techniques in play-text interpretation and film watching are almost similar in the sense that they are both Shakespeare and the mindset I put myself in is the same: “It’s all English.”  When I realise that then it doesn’t become as scary. Firstly: read, read, read. It may be tedious but if I don’t read I won’t really know what I’m working with. It may look like absolute gibberish but that’s what footnotes and google are for. I try to see a summary of the scene and then I’d put the lines in context and try modernist the language. One doesn’t necessary need to know the depth of every word but to get a general idea is a good place to begin.

In film, it’s a bit different because one doesn’t necessarily have the text in front of them and most of the time the film won’t follow the original script word for word. Again – it’s just English, it’s a movie. Listen and interpret, look at body language- actions and reactions. It’s also part of linking their behavior with their words and get the general idea of what is going on. Seeing another person’s interpretation of the film makes it more of an experience and takes less work. The difference here between text and film is: in a text you have to imagine it yourself but because you don’t understand the words, it’s harder to interpret- which isn’t the case in a film.

If I can get my hands on the movie I like to go scene by scene and ask: What happened? Why did it happen? Who did it happen to? How are these people linked?  As soon as I can find these things out and put it into context it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there. i also like to makes character webs, analyzing each characters personality, role in the play/film and relationship with the other characters. this helps with things  like following plot.

Being a writer of poetry I also know the importance of symbols, tone, atmosphere and poetic devices (metaphors, alliteration, rhyme, rhythm, themes etc.) and how they are used in the text and why its effective or not. I ask myself: Why use this word? Why compare her to a summers day? What do Juliet and a summer’s day have in common? And come to the conclusion that Romeo thinks she beautiful, warm (and other great things about summer) and that’s about it.

I don’t’ have a specific learning style, both observing (seeing and hearing) and writing are needed in order for me to learn anything. Whether the writing be through pen on paper in the margins of the play, typing pop-up notes on the text, putting the note in a different colour in-between the script lines on a screen or writing down questions while watching a film, it all sinks in. But I do know that I always go back to the text. Even with film, the director’s choices when it comes to music, tone and camera angles all affect the lines being said and how they will be processed in our minds and be brought forward in the form of emotion and expression the audience.

My annotations tend to be more accurate than not. The best way to learn that is to discuss it- discussion is irreplaceable important when it come to Shakespeare because somebody may see something you don’t or vice versa. But usually when a few people have the same idea then my interpretation is usually more or less correct. Also a way to gauge correctness is when I could follow my notes along with my annotations and it lines up with what’s happening in the play and it’s not confusing or random. Another way is to try explaining it to another person and they come to understand the play better.

I’ve never experienced not understanding a play after going through it a few times in depth so I would say my annotations are usually accurate especially because I have no fear when it comes to Shakespeare.