Sunday, December 11, 2011

To Be. . . Continued?

Shakespeare 232 - A Summary
I have to say, this class is not at all what I expected. (And I mean that in the best way possible). The atmosphere was very different from that of a formal class, which made the experience far more enjoyable; it became more of a Shakespeare-enthusiast book club with in-depth conversation, as opposed to some dull scholarly bi-weekly lecture.

Engaging Shakespeare Event
As far as the event goes, I was pretty impressed with the event and how it all went down. The projects were all very well-done, and I enjoyed finally getting to see all of them come together. Besides the relief of being finished with the documentary project, I was most enthusiastic about getting to see the production group perform. They did a fabulous job - well done!

How I've met the four learning outcomes this semester:

1) Gain Shakespeare Literacy

There are several ways I've gained Shakespeare Literacy over the past semester;
Sometimes, a picture quite literally says a thousand words,
such as this one, taken from a page in my copy of Hamlet.
First, as shown to the right, is by becoming an active participant in what I read. I mark up my text, write down questions, highlight recurring themes, and often look up what I don't understand to get a better understanding of what's going on. A few times, I've shared my findings in some of my posts.

Second, I've learned to use the tools available to fill in the gaps. Sparknotes summaries are great for previewing text or reviewing difficult passages; "No Fear Shakespeare" is an awesome tool for understanding the nitty gritty, (although I don't like to rely on it too much, since it's someone else's interpretations of the text). What's helped me more than anything though has been watching Shakespeare while reading it (Thank you, Netflix and Youtube, and huge THANK YOU to Utah Shakespeare Company in Cedar City, Pioneer Theater Company, and Grassroots Shakespeare Company). Shakespeare is absolutely

2) Critically analyze Shakespeare

I think throughout this course, this is the learning outcome I've had the least trouble with. Whether deciphering Hamlet's motives (with a little help from George Nelson), or processing and re-analyzing As You Like it over the course of several evolving posts, this was second nature to someone who, as a thespian, has had it hammered into her little brain to decipher text for motives and meanings, and this class has only honed my abilities further.

3) Engage Shakespeare creatively

This is something that, oddly enough, I struggled with a bit more in this class; but, in the end, I think I pulled through. One example was my post Mystery in the Music, where I talked about the connection music had with The Tempest and with romance and fantasy as a whole, and chose some pieces of music for an imaginary production of it.

I also connected my love of theater to Shakespeare in a few differents ways; for example, my post on how I would, as a director, begin to approach King Lear and how I would work with the actors of Goneril and Regan.

4) Share Shakespeare
It's true I had very little success and response in the way of "Global" sharing, but I don't think my sharing of Shakespeare this semester has been a total failure;

Because of this class, I've had many a conversation sparked with roommates, fellow cast members, friends and family members, and I've learned from each experience. (For example, after our trip to see The Tempest I brought the program to theater class to show Angela, a costume designer, Ariel's amazing Steampunk attire. . .and also got into a conversation with an actor who had also seen it, discussing things like our opinion of Prospero's performance, etc).

I also think that the documentary is a great way for us to share Shakespeare; now that it's posted, its available for anyone anywhere to see, and hopefully will spark some interest in the subject for people outside of our normal little sphere of influence. I'm going to keep tabs on views in the future, and hopefully it will make some sort of impact.

I think the most valuable sharing that has happened in this class though have been the blogging groups. I was lucky enough to be in a group of some very smart people, and have learned so much from them, I couldn't even begin to explain. I think the setup for this class has been ideal, having individual blogs to put up our own thoughts and perceptions, but still having the small group of peers to see how their opinions differ, and to get their feedback. I've gained much more from this than I ever would have learned on my own, and I think more classes should be organized this way.

Final Thoughts
As this term ends, I can't help but feel a little disappointed that our little "book club" has to end. . .and although I haven't been able to put much thought into it now (thanks you, finals week), I feel like maybe it would be fun to extend our learning into a more informal Shakespeare Book Club later on (for those who are interested)? It's just a thought. . .

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