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 D: Team Project

In our first re-enactment of Act 3: Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, we focused on the dramatic aspects of the situation – despite the play’s comedic nature. Our actors produced serious tones and facial expressions, rarely looking directly at the camera, but instead gazing melodramatically off camera. Rather than a vibrant outdoor setting, our setting was an echoing, grey stairwell, which helped create many unique shots that dramatize Shakespeare’s text. We used several camera shots that hide the character’s facial expressions from view to invoke more curiosity and suspense, while also using close-ups for the sake of less ambiguous facets. The combination of echoing with our melancholy and urgent music emphasizes the subtly suspenseful mood in our depiction of the scene, while the piece at the finale of this film conveys Beatrice’s shock and underlying happiness at discovering Benedick’s romantic interest in her.

In our second re-enactment of Act 3: Scene 1, we chose to take a comedic approach in order to stay true to the nature of the play. Intending this depiction to be less ambivalent than the previous, our group maintained simplicity with straightforward shots, focusing more on dialogue than cinematography. As we also aimed to modernize the piece, we resolved to film in a nearby Denny’s restaurant, which proved to be difficult in its own regard. The loud music, clanging of cutlery, and other conversations took its toll on the sound quality, but in the end this leant to the comedic outcome. Minor ‘slip-ups,’ such as the scripts behind the menus or actors looking directly at the camera, demonstrated an accidental aura of slapstick comedy that we believe actually enhances the film. The scene’s overall light-hearted nature was brought forth through farcical tone, overtly dramatized segments, and cheerful music.

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.

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.

Mirabelle Harris-Eze: Notes Reflection

“We all do ‘do, re, mi,’ but you have got to find the other notes yourself.”

~ Louis Armstrong

Introduction

While most notes include summaries and interpretation of data, the way these occur on the page differ from person to person. My marketing textbook describes analysis as the conversion of data into insight, and this analysis is always made easier for me through taking notes. Today, I want to look at textual data and visual data, especially in regards to play-texts and films. My annotation practices when reading and observing both art forms differ and converge in methodology.

Annotation Practices – Play-Texts

An aversion to manipulating physical copies of a text, due to the majority of the texts that I have ever read being library loans, means that my copies of Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing are void of  highlighting, underlines and scribbles. I hope to grow out of this aversion, as I have to come to understand—over taking two English classes this semester and talking to classmates—that margin notes taken in the physical copy of a text have numerous benefits such as ease of reference and direct linking of ideas without having to write them all out. Currently, with my aversion still present, I write detailed notes about play-texts in a separate notebook.

As Play-Texts are a form of Literature, I am very conscious of literary devices when taking notes. I note:

  1. Literary Devices (Symbolism, Simile, etc.)
  2. Quotes or words I enjoy/I don’t understand
  3. Context I might need to look into further

I also try to go beyond simply addressing the existence of the above but: in the case of literary terms, discussing the effects of the devices used; with words I can’t decipher, looking them up; and context I am clueless about, researching more. All of this additional information is jotted down.

Annotation Practices – Film

When watching film, there are numerous aspects to keep in mind as I write my notes in a notebook. Unlike with textual works, I have less academic experience with writing notes when watching films. This class has been a large factor in my better understanding of interpreting film. When writing notes during the various films we’ve seen throughout ENGL 311, there are specific things I look for:

  1. Film Techniques (such as type of shots, editing cuts, etc.)
  2. Actors (A-List, relationship to director/producer, etc.)
  3. Lines or words I enjoy/don’t understand
  4. Context I might need to look into further

After numerous English classes that taught how to read literature, the process of annotation and interpretation of texts flows quickly and lengthily. The same cannot be said for film. These notes tend to be more sparse, especially because when watching scenes from a film in a classroom or theater-like setting, it is not possible/too time-consuming to pause to write down lengthy observations.

General Note Taking and Inquiry and Determining Success

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An example of my note-taking.

I like to see how several small ideas connect over large chunks of text or video. Thus, when I write notes, my handwriting tends to be very minute and cramped. The more text I can cram on a page, the more ideas I can relate and compare. I also utilize arrows, models, and different text colors to relate ideas, differentiate headings or highlight important words and concepts. For taking notes for texts and films, I try to develop a character map listing out the cast of characters, along with their characteristics, and how they relate to each other.

There are two different things I look at when trying to tell if I’ve had a successful note-taking session:

  1. I understand the material better and this understanding resonates across all additional analysis.
  2. When I look back at my notes, I can understand them in nearly the same capacity as when I wrote them down.

Conclusion

My note taking is often intensely meticulous, cramped, colorful and done in a specific notebook with lined paper. My approach when taking notes when reading play-texts and when watching film differ and converge. Notes on play-texts tend to be lengthier and more in-depth. Both require brief summaries, analysis of textual and visual devices, and, later on, external research.

 


mira-shadowMirabelle Harris-Eze is an 18 year-old student based in Calgary, Alberta. Sometime in the near future, she wishes to publish a book written entirely in the language of her ancestors, Igbo. One day she hopes to fill this bio with writing credentials, and accolades. For now, this will have to do.

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.

Jordin Cummings: Notes Reflection

In order to properly evaluate my annotation practices when reading a play text, I decided to do what I did for my close reading paper but with Act IV Scene I of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

In comparison to the start of the semester my note taking skills have greatly evolved. I am no longer afraid to write little notes anywhere in the book. On the other-hand, larger notes still belong on sticky pads! I have greatly expanded my knowledge of various poetic terms and elements and that has made it easier to really breakdown the text. In only 128 lines of play text I was able to identify the blank verse and iambic pentameter rhythm along with multiple structural, linguistic and semantic terms.

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Annotating Play Text 

My note taking process is very methodical and almost always follows the same routine in regards to an assignment.

  • Step One: Write out the basics. What is the assignment? What are the texts? What is the question?
  • Step Two: Have you read the text? No? Read it.
  • Step Three: What are your general thoughts on the text?
  • Step Four: Close read the text in relation to the question. Annotated. Highlight things to be defined.
  • Step Five: Expand your annotated notes; what are your thoughts now? Write out definitions.

After all of that my notes are very comprehensive. I know they are successful because when I go to complete an assignment everything is clearly laid out for me. If I effectively teach the material back to someone or try to explain my discovered concept I also know I have absorbed what I took down. In comparison to my practices for a play text, my annotation skills when I watch a film are not as formulated.

To properly evaluate my annotation practices for a film I chose the 2013 Carlei Romeo & Juliet as I have never seen it before. I chose to focus on a specific section, what would be Act IV Scene I in the play text. I chose this portion of the movie because the first thing I would do when annotating a film on Shakespeare would be to read the text first so I can get a sense of where I am at in the real story. This was especially helpful as this version of Romeo and Juliet cuts the whole interaction with Paris. After reading the text I would watch the movie. Just watch; no annotating. I want to be able to just watch without searching in the same way I would read a text to get a feel for it first.

After reading the text and watching the film I would make notes on the basics of the film. What did I watch? How is it different from the text? Then I can try watching it again with more attention to detail. The unfortunate thing with annotating a film is that the film moves at a continuous pace whereas annotating does not. I find myself pausing an going back just so I can catch something and write it down. Annotating a film definitely takes a lot longer!

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Annotating Film

In almost 5 minutes of film and one scene I was able to closely review and really get a feel for the directors take on this play. I found the best way to identify key elements Carlei used in his film was to pause when I saw something of interest, take note of the time, and then make a simple note to clue me into what I had found. I know this way of annotating a film works for me because if I needed to explain the film to someone I would have seen it many times in close detail. I also know this way works because if I needed to further expand my notes or write a paper on the film I would have detailed annotations with timestamps for quick reference. It would be very easy to apply terms such as Samuel Crowl’s in Shakespeare and Film to the ideas I’d found.

Although my practices of annotation have greatly evolved in regards to both film and play text, I have realized through this reflection that I definitely prefer to annotate a text!

 

Works Cited

Crowl, Samuel. Shakespeare and Film. Norton, 2007.

Romeo & Juliet. Directed by Carlo Carlei, performances by Hailee Steinfield and Paul Giamatti, D Films, 2013, 1:15:20-1:19:52.

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Folger Digital Texts, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine, Folger Shakespeare Library, pp. 92-96, http://www.folgerdigitaltexts.org/download/pdf/Rom.pdf, Accessed 14 Nov. 2016.