Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reflecting on Shakespeare; or, The End...? Hopefully Not...

Since this is my last blog post for this class, I thought that I would take the liberty of reflecting on some of the things that I've enjoyed about engaging Shakespeare. 

I think that one of my favorite things was the group/social aspect.  Working with other people provided great opportunities to interact with ideas that I might not have come up with and to experience Shakespeare's works in a variety of media.  It was interesting and useful to have a chance to engage people who had different talents and approaches to Shakespeare. 

The Engaging Shakespeare project really brought home to me the fact that Shakespeare is not meant to just be read.  It is meant to be experienced. And that means watching, performing, reading (out loud), acting, everything.  The best thing about the project was that it brought a little of all of these things to the class and to each of us individually.  I enjoyed getting a chance to take part in creating an e-audiobook.  I'd never done anything like this before, and acting and thinking about how I was going to portray my characters helped me form new opinions on Hamlet

As I mentioned above, seeing all the other exhibitions/performances was great as well.  The art curriculum, music video, and play/documentary all did a great job in not just presenting their own interpretations of Shakespeare but making his works applicable to modern life.  It's easy to think that Shakespeare is meaningless in a modern society, but the project, in my mind at least, helped show that that conclusion is erroneous. 

Learning Outcomes:
So, now it's time for a personal moment.  With me.  At the beginning of this class, we discussed our four learning outcomes, our canon of how to measure our growth in the class and our Shakespeare knowledge:
1. Gain Shakespeare Literacy
2. Analyze Shakespeare Critically
3. Engage Shakespeare Creatively
4. Share Shakespeare Meaningfully

In a previous post, I discussed how the learning outcomes were going, and how I felt I was meeting them.  I believe that I can honestly say that I have improved in all of them, especially the last 2, which were slightly lacking the last time I posted. 

I feel as though my Shakespeare literacy has increased as this class has gone on and we have studied more plays together.  I've been able to see more connections between past experiences in my life and Shakespeare's works, and to find references to Shakespeare in outside media.

I feel as though analyzing Shakespeare critically has always been one of my strengths in this course.  I've been able to explore themes in many of my posts, and I've been able to tie these themes back to my interests in history. 

Engaging Shakespeare creatively is the outcome where I feel like I have improved the most.  Creating the audiobook was a learning experience for me.  It took all of us in our group sometime to get comfortable with recording and with playing our characters effectively (I definitely tried too hard the first time that I did the Ghost's lines).  But we got much better and much more natural as we recorded more (and struggled through our technological impairments). 

Completing the final project also helped me share Shakespeare meaningfully.  I'd been able to share some things before-in some unconventional settings-but the project helped our group reach out to others both online and in the classroom.  I thought that the project was a great success in that regard.  Even my roommate who attended it expressed his jealousy over the fact that our class did such a fantastic set of projects (he's in another section of ENG 232), which is a mark of success in my book. 

All in all, I really feel as though I have grown personally and in my knowledge of Shakespeare, and that is why I believe that I have met the learning outcomes from this course.  I hope to be able to use the knowledge and skills that I have gained elsewhere, so I can benefit myself and others.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Almost done with the project!

On Saturday we recorded (and re-recorded) the last parts of our cut of Hamlet.  The only things left to do now are the editing-we have to remove some extra sounds, and add some others-and the distribution.  Honestly, I'm excited.  I played two roles in this audio production, Claudius and the Ghost, and I am very interested to see how my portrayals of them both turned out. 

I had a great time playing two kings of Denmark, and this project gave me a firsthand look into the world of acting, introducing me to the nuances of tone, voice, and character. 

I also learned how to effectively abridge a story so that it still communicates the original's essence.  I feel that each of our group members did a great job editing and compiling our own individual parts (each person had an act). 

Can't wait for the finished product!