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© Boardworks Ltd 2003 1 of 18 Interpreting Shakespeare This icon indicates that detailed teacher’s notes are available in the Notes Page. For more detailed.

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Presentation on theme: "© Boardworks Ltd 2003 1 of 18 Interpreting Shakespeare This icon indicates that detailed teacher’s notes are available in the Notes Page. For more detailed."— Presentation transcript:

1 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 1 of 18 Interpreting Shakespeare This icon indicates that detailed teacher’s notes are available in the Notes Page. For more detailed instructions, see the Getting Started presentation. This icon indicates the slide contains activities created in Flash. These activities are not editable.

2 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 2 of 18 Interpreting Shakespeare Every person interprets plays and particular scenes in plays differently. This is especially true of Shakespeare where we don’t have very many stage directions to help us along. Sometimes the context of a scene or line can help us to decide how it should be performed, but often the context is open to interpretation too.

3 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 3 of 18 Macbeth – Act One, Scene One First WitchWhen shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain? Second Witch When the hurly-burly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won. Third WitchThat will be ere the set of sun. First WitchWhere the place? Second Witch Upon the heath Third WitchThere to meet with Macbeth First Witch I come, Grimalkin Second WitchPadock calls! Third Witch Anon! AllFair is foul and foul is fair Hover through the fog and filthy air.

4 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 4 of 18 How should the lines be read and what should the characters be doing? _____________________________ ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ Who would you cast to play the three witches? ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ What would your setting be like? ____________________ ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ Macbeth – Act One, Scene One

5 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 5 of 18 The witches should be wildly dancing around a cauldron chanting the lines to show they are slightly mad. The women should be standing watching, waiting for Macbeth. The lines should be croaked to show the witches’ old age. Each person will have a different vision of how this scene is to be performed. Consider the question: How should the lines be read and what should the characters be doing? The women should be quietly whispering the lines (perhaps holding hands) to promote an eerie atmosphere. Macbeth – Act One, Scene One

6 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 6 of 18 Remember: to use a variety of expression. Remember: that the witches don’t all need to sound or look the same. Remember: directors often cut out lines or whole scenes to improve the quality of the performance. Macbeth – Act One, Scene One In small groups (of no more than four), practice and perform Act One, Scene One from Macbeth as you feel it would be best interpreted.

7 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 7 of 18 Macbeth – Act Two, Scene Two Macbeth has just killed the King, who was asleep in his house. Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are nervous about being discovered.

8 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 8 of 18 Macbeth I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise? Lady Macbeth I heard the owl-scream and the cricket’s cry. Did not you speak? Macbeth When? Lady Macbeth Now. MacbethAs I descended? Lady Macbeth Ay. MacbethHark! Who lies i’th’second chamber? Lady Macbeth Donalbain. MacbethThis is a sorry sight. Interpret and perform these lines: Macbeth – Act Two, Scene Two

9 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 9 of 18 When modern directors stage or film a production of a Shakespeare play, they often choose to cut the text and perform an abridged version. This makes it easier for modern audiences to understand and can make the performance a lot more entertaining. If you think that in its original form, Hamlet is performed over four hours, you can see why this is often the most resourceful and economical choice for directors. Can you think of any Shakespeare plays or films you have seen which have been especially adapted with a modern audience in mind? Adapting Shakespeare

10 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 10 of 18 Romeo and Juliet – Act Three, Scene One Read this original extract from Shakespeare’s text. Benvolio What, art thou hurt? Mercutio Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, ‘tis enough. Where is my page? Go, villain. Fetch a servant. (Exit Page) Romeo Courage, man. The hurt cannot be much. Mercutio No, ‘tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, but ‘tis enough. ‘Twill serve. Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o’ both your houses! Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to scratch a man to death! A braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic. Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.

11 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 11 of 18 Spot the changes in the transcript from the 1996 Baz Luhrmann version of Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch, a scratch. Ay, a scratch… a scratch. Romeo Courage, man. The hurt cannot be much. Mercutio (Laughing) ‘Twill serve. Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. (Pause) A plague o’ both your houses! They have made worms meat of me. (Shouting) A plague o’ both your houses! Why the devil came you between us. I was hurt under your arm. (Pause) A plague o’ both your houses! Often, rather than using all the lines, directors choose to show the meaning through action. Romeo and Juliet – Act Three, Scene One

12 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 12 of 18 Act out both versions of the text. Do you think Luhrmann has lost any of the tone of the text by editing it so heavily? What kind of character does he make Mercutio into? Read the original extract again – make your own changes to it. You may decide to keep only one line but you must have a good reason – try out a few different ideas before making your final choice. Romeo and Juliet – Act Three, Scene One

13 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 13 of 18 All change! The story of Romeo and Juliet has also been interpreted by directors to create completely new productions. The musical West Side Story is based on the original Shakespeare play. This means that even the language of Shakespeare had to be cut to make it work. Could you ‘translate’ and edit Shakespeare’s language to create a more modern sounding performance?

14 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 14 of 18 Read this famous extract from Hamlet. To be, or not to be; that is the question: Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them. It could be ‘translated’ into something like this: Should I attempt suicide and die or live and fight, that is the question?

15 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 15 of 18 Macbeth – Is this a dagger? Read this speech from Act Two, Scene One of Macbeth. Then, on the next slide match each line with its modern translation. Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee – … Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?... Thou marshall’st me the way that I was going, And such an instrument I was to se. – Mine eyes are made the fools o’the other sense, Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still; And, on thy blade and dudgeon, gouts of blood,… It is the bloody business which informs Thus to mine eyes. Now o’er the one half-world Nature seems dead…

16 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 16 of 18 Macbeth – Is this a dagger?

17 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 17 of 18 Read, ‘translate’ and edit Juliet’s speech. O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet… ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for thy name – which is no part of thee Take all myself…

18 © Boardworks Ltd 2003 18 of 18 cut lines replace words with action sing some of the lines! replace unusual language for more modern English change the setting (how about Hamlet living in Hollywood!) swap the order of scenes and lines. Performing Shakespeare Shakespeare himself often altered his plays in performance. When you perform Shakespeare think about doing some of the following:


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