Student Reflections on Triangulating Shakespeare


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Triangulating Shakespeare

Graduate Shakespeare

Winter 1990

Advanced Shakespeare

Spring 1991

Advanced Shakespeare

Winter 1999

  • "Our 3-D approach to Shakespeare began with a scholarly roundtable of readings and research, focused around "archives" of research materials."

  • "The course moved us toward ever more involvement in the dynamic. The first section got us ... searching the past for traces of it. The second gave us a visual representation a feeling for what was going on. In the last section we took our places within the dynamic of the play, making meaning for ourselves and holding it up for the audience to see."
  • "But as soon as we got into daily rehearsal, I forgot all about how hard it was to play a man in love with a woman playing a man. It was me as the Duke and Kim as Cesario."
  • "Once again, our student made a major mental shift in her perception of Shakespeare; suddenly she was neither pondering over Elizabethan documents nor critiquing Polanski but instead floundering around on stage herself, discovering how difficult it is to get twentieth-century lips around sixteenth-century quips."
  • "What added diversity to our depth study were the alternative productions. Again, to quote Greenblatt: 'I want[ed] to know how cultural objects, expressions, and practices. . . acquired compelling force.' Greenblatt's answer is through contingencies. Kurosawa saw them in Macbeth and created his own classic, incorporating aspects of the No drama, Buddhism, and the samurai. We recognize our presence in other times, other cultures, by observing how 'cultural objects, expressions, and practices' familiar to us operate in different societies and different eras, we gain a deeper understanding of what makes us laugh, cry, go to war."


    Letter to Students

  • "We filmed our production at the seashore on the edge of the continent during a storm. Walking down to the beach through the scrub at six a.m. in a storm gave me a real feel for the mise en scéne of tragedy."

  • "Leontes is portrayed as the emperor without clothes in the height of his self-created impotence. The beginning of the king's regeneration is marked when Paulina dresses Leontes with the cape he has thrown off in anger earlier in the scene."
  • "Our first concept was to make the process of returning to life very slow and labored and second, that her rebirth would be accompanied with sunrise, symbolizing new life. The BBC statue simply moved into the living without any resistance."
  • "In our class production of 'The Triumph of Time,' scenes from The Winter's Tale, I play the part of the officer in the court scene...In a medium shot of this speech, the officer stands between the accused and the accuser as a symbol of justice. The over-the-shoulder shots showing the interaction of the King and Queen add to the drama."
  • "Gardella's reaction, unlike Kemp's is "I think I screwed up. Things are falling apart around me. Don't panic! Maybe..." and then Hermoine faints. The situation is so out of his control that Hermoine is carried out despite his orders."
  • "Leontes, Ben Gardella, sensing her fear, takes advantage of her victim stance portraying Leontes as an attacker, approaching his victim and stalking her in circles. He threatens her with his voice as well as with his physical presence, touching her face as he threatens that she might "feel" his justice."

Essay prompt

  • "Though difficult, I find reading Shakespeare the most rewarding method of engaging the plays. The text is Shakespeare’s contribution. But in the moment of reading, artistic authority is equally shared with Shakespeare."

  • At Swanton Ranch, "The Dream Team" stood in a forest to practice our play, hearing Puck recite, "A crew of patches, rude mechanicals, that work for bread upon Athenian stalls, were met togetherto rehearse a play." (Act III, Scene ii, MND) We were much the same.We even had some hard-hat "rude mechanicals" accidentally appear in thebackground as we spoke!

  • Before we arrived, a place was sought out for us, our director no doubt having thoughts much like these: "Pat, pat; and here's a marvail's convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake ourtiring house." (Act III, Scene i, MND)
  • This quarter I had the opportunity to perform Edgar in a small production of King Lear. I truly believe Edgar is the embodiment of Shakespeare. I just had to perform him to figure it out. Now, I must confess; I haven’t read every Shakespeare play twice, so I don’t know if other characters fit the mold better than Edgar. Also, I assure you I’m not losing my mind as I write this. I feel quite healthy. I just had one of those most rare visions. Fortunately, I didn’t have to be an ass to have this dream. On the Dover cliffs, under the hot sun, with a director screaming action, and a camera pointing towards me, I found Shakespeare.
  • Art is the imaginative bridge that communicates a vision to an audience. Bottom is a visionary, but not an artist. He identifies Peter Quince, the only poet he knows, as the organ by which his vision can be conveyed to the world.












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