Monday, December 12, 2011

To BE!!!

Learning outcomes:

Well, apparently even Shakespeare didn't have Shakespeare literacy, because why would he have Juliet ask where Romeo was, but be referring to why his name had to be a Montague...?

Everyone decided "TO BE!!!" on the night of Engaging Shakespeare.  Each group savored the simple, in addition to sharing deep incites (which can be the same thing) from their semester and final projects.  

The ENTIRE process (the beginnings...) we went through to have been able to present "Lovers of Shakespeare" last Friday night, along with all the other final projects, was quite extensive.  It was worth every minute and, usually, alot of fun.  I can easily say I have spent more time on Shakespeare than Biochem, which is a big deal seeing as I have that final exam tomorrow afternoon...  so wish me luck everyone.  And just because I know everyone is wondering...

Romeo and Juliet are like the anaerobic pathway of/following glycolysis because the rate of ATP production rate is incredibly high, but it only lasts for about 60 seconds before pH levels fall, ionic balances are disrupted, and ATP levels fall--they both die.

Berowne and Rosaline are like the Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex because they just keep going around in circles and can't decide if they want to be oxidized or reduced!!!

Hamlet and Ophelia are like gluconeogenesis because they insisted on using unusual pathways to produce glucose for ATP, talk about complicated!!!  (As a side note--Why would anyone EVER go on a no carb diet? You're basically imposing diabetic symptoms on yourself--you saw what happened to Ophelia).    

WE HAD SO MUCH FUN; but it did take alot of inconvenient work as well.  It's just a good thing we were able to keep each other sane throughout the preparation process.  "The night of" was a blast; I think it was the best we had done; probably because of the audience.  I remember going to Macbeth a couple months ago, and they definitely fed off of the audience.  This is what got me thinking for the first time why live performances can be night and day different from films.  

I thoroughly enjoyed watching each group go; each group worked very hard.  I liked the question and answer session the best.  It seemed that those who weren't from our class didn't have as many questions as we hoped, but the members of our class were able to ask questions that in a way put on a show for our guests.  I enjoyed that part of perhaps the best. 

The experience I had with my personal play seems to parallel what each group went through in preparation for Engaging Shakespeare.  My personal play was Macbeth.  I found a theme early on and wanted to trace that thread deeper throughout the play.  This is a rewarding process that I think each group expressed in their own ways throughout the evening. 

  1. How have I gained Shakespeare literacy?
    1. We worked hard on our script in at least two ways.  We needed a brief but thorough representation from each of the three plays we included in our one act play (Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost, and Romeo and Juliet).  Averill and I read about 90% of the play to come up with our script.  This began the process of studying, choosing, and cutting; then we had to figure out how to express our lines in such a way that an audience would appreciate the meaning.  Though hard, it is much easier to read a play for yourself, than to express yourself so that someone else can understand it first time.     
  2. How have I analyzed Shakespeare critically?
    1. In our effort to create a one act play from scratch, we had to decide on a theme to analyze.  Welding three different plays into a single 15 minute act took alot of thought and discussion.  Through critically analyzing not only the raw text from the plays, but our individual scripts as well, we were able to create a cohesive script that represented the theme of broken love.  
  3. How have I engaged Shakespeare creatively?
    1. We wanted to keep our audience engaged on several levels.  First, we had a meaningful theme, second, we wanted a few laughs, and third, we wanted the collective and isolated lines from the text itself to not get lost between the actor and audience.  This took alot of practice with timing, inflection, and emotion.  
  4. How have I shared Shakespeare meaningfully?
    1. I hope that others were able to see the serious and not so serious themes we tried to portray.  We put alot of time and effort into our production because it is difficult to try to share so much in such a short block of time.  This is especially true when much of what you are sharing is symbolic; you hope it will sink in--in real time.  
I am going to miss this class; it has been personally rewarding, in addition to the camaraderie we felt as a class, and especially as a final project group.  We are definitely planning a cast party mid-finals week!!! Hopefully we can make that happen.  

Thank you Dr. Burton for teaching Shakespeare in a way that departs from my poor past experiences.  As I look back on the past few months, I have had an increasing number of meaningful conversations outside of class fueled by Shakespeare.  And I have the tools to continue my Shakespeare quest.  It has become apart of me.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!  

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