Sunday, December 11, 2011

Taking it in

Here comes another reflective post.  Well.
(at the risk of sounding like Shylock)

Final Project
This is where I give the rundown of how the Engaging Shakespeare event that my class put together went for me.  To be honest, I had two or three ideas of how I could share what was up during the process.  If you watch the documentary, you'll see me saying how I've never done any acting before, so this was all a new thing to me.  I am amazed at how well things worked out for the entire group that was involved in "Lovers of Shakespeare."  Even more, I'm amazed at how well I was able to accomplish the task at hand and still do really well.  We spent a lot of time on everything, but the entire process from concept to final production passed very quickly. There were several levels of learning and engaging Shakespeare that went into the above mentioned event.

Basically everything in this project was a new experience to me.  I had to cut my own script, deciding whether or not to stay true to what Shakespeare wrote for Biron's lines, or whether I wanted to outright show my own interpretation through the lines I picked.  In the end, it was a mix of both, which I believe happens any time a cut of Shakespeare's script happens.  I wanted Shakespeare's lines for Biron to show the heart of his relationship (or lack of one) with Rosaline, which I feel I accomplished quite well, especially with the help of Martina.
Where my script was originally drafted--my own notebook!

Martina and I (Rosaline and Biron, respectively in the play) met up a few times outside of class and even outside of normal rehearsal time in order to write our scripts and later practice them.  I work off campus and more than 20 hours a week (the limit for campus-employed students), so I usually don't have the most time for meetings like these, what with work and other homework.  However, I became increasingly excited about the mini play and what kind of learning experience it would be for me.  Relating back to personal aspects, I should mention that I'm a very hands on learner, I grasp things better with personal experience, it's how I truly internalize things.  Spending the extra time with Martina to make sure our script was top notch or afterward practicing lines was key to portraying Biron and Rosaline how they were supposed to in "Lovers of Shakespeare."

I'm not the first to say it (i.e. Martina and Averill), but I loved the six-person group for the mini play.  I'm a small group person, so this number was perfect for my personality in a sense of staying actively involved with everything.  Besides the natural chemistry that our group had together, on a more professional level, Averill really did an astounding job directing the mini play she headed up.  Although she stressed when the rest of us were just 'playing' around (apologies), the vision she had for the stage once we committed to what we wanted to convey.  Again tying back to a personal level, it was really nice to know my comments, suggestions, ideas, and interpretations were taken seriously, and often enough even adopted.  It was quite the process and fairly stressful for everybody to an extent, but when we finally converged on what we wanted to portray through the play, everything clicked and the acting and blocking were all that was left.  We were very ready at the end, thanks to personal and combined efforts.

Engaging Shakespeare:
On the week of the event, I had developed high expectations for everything.  I knew there wouldn't be over 100 people there, but I knew how much time had to go into each and every project.  I'm usually skeptical of getting my hopes or expectations up, but I made an exception for this occasion and was still surprised at how well received the event was.  My two friends/roommates that came vocalized afterward how pleasantly surprised they were at the caliber of the play.  They were expecting something somewhat cheesy and were happy to find a well done production.  I personally loved that the Daily Universe even got involved in it, with an article featuring our class's Shakespearean event night.
My blog idea page

Learning Outcomes
So as to not be repetitive, I shall first refer to my midpoint mile marker.  Feel free to read it now if you have time, otherwise just know I'm mostly just building on other aspects that may have not been fully delved into at the mid-semester point.

Gain Shakespeare Literacy
Earlier, I had more developed breadth and depth, which I have furthered by reading King Lear, a play I was unfamiliar with before this class.  Also, on a performance note, I watched the most recent version of The Tempest with some of my final group and enjoyed analyzing it throughout and after watching it.

Analyze Shakespeare Critically
I didn't end up sitting down and writing about any close reading I did about the play I cut (Love's Labour's Lost) for "Lovers of Shakespeare."  However, in the cutting, my acting partner and I did quite a bit of critical analyzing of what parts were necessary to our play.  Memorizing our selected lines was also supplemental to my learning and critical analyzing of Shakespeare for the final project.  I also was able to think about the other two couples' parts in the mini play and what traits of their relationship their actors and actresses chose to put forth. On a non-project level, I looked at names of characters in King Lear at an attempt to find correlations between their actions and given names.

Engage Shakespeare Creatively
In my case, this was the focus for the final project.  I was able to, through my final project, explore and experience the performing side of Shakespeare by being an actor for a short period of time.  Doing something completely new like this caused me to understand more personally the feel of (in our mini play's case) three Shakespearean couples dealing with love.  I know more how it feels to be one of those people I love watching when I attend events like the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  As a final note here, it feels really legitimizing to be a contributing part of every aspect of the creation of an original mini play.

Share Shakespeare Meaningfully
For my earlier self-analyzing post, I focused more on how I shared Shakespeare through my blog.  I've continued this, but I've also shared my most recent experiences with Shakespeare via other means which are a little more personal like word of mouth, Facebook posts and messages, emails, and even text messages to those who are closest to me.  I've often shared with a close friend of mine thoughts that have come up concerning blogging about Shakespeare, the final event, and the class as a whole.

In contrast to my jokingly made dramatic statement on my first blog post, I want everybody to know that

I love Shakespeare.

*note*: My sincere thanks to Dr. Burton, as his methods of involvement have helped me to better engage myself not only in just Shakespeare, but all aspects of life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You can pick your blog, and you can pick your neighbors blog . . . wait

I think I messed up the analogy.

I have been MIA for the past while due to the wrap up of the semester and constant practices of the mini play I'm a part of, "Lovers of Shakespeare."  Okay, so constant sounds negative, as I'm actually really loving my experiences thus far with the production.

But that's not what I'm writing for right now.  It has come to a time where I must pick my two favorite blog posts, one of my own and one from the blog of a friend of mine.  I'll cut the chatter and just post them here.

If I could, I'd say my entire series of analyzing The Merchant of Venice, but I must pick one.  I choose this one despite it being fairly early in my blogging life.  This post is virtually when I first found myself finally connecting my thoughts with what I was experiencing, and being able to concisely put it in a blog post.  I don't think it's necessarily the deepest post I've done, but I did get good responses, which I have learned is a great addition to my learning in blogging.

And my friend in Shakespeare: Mason
I choose this one for various reasons, including because I found it an individualized way to connect one's life to Shakespeare's works, I can't draw and I love sketches, and it's just the one post that I didn't do that I remember the most.  Mine tended to have a picture or two with mostly wordage, so I find this to be a good counterpart to mine, focusing on visual learning.