In order to succeed in this class…actually come to class. Speak up and ask questions! Listen to what Cate has to say and write it down. Do your readings (there will be pop quizzes). In all seriousness though, this class will make you a better writer and it is incredibly rewarding to see your writing and your grades improve over the course of the semester. The in class exercises also serve to improve nuances in writing that makes you all the more better so don’t blow them off!
It is a lot of work, I was constantly writing, but practice does make perfect.
Dear Future Victims (just kidding…),
When I sat down to watch the play last friday night I expected something much different then how I felt when I left the theater.
To begin with, having the actors perform on a round stage with almost no set behind or on stage was a very interesting choice. It pulled all of the focus onto the actors and one prop in particular, the silver bracelet. This bracelet (being a circle) was a fascinating item that made it’s way into every individual’s story told in this daisy chain plot. I loved how it began and end at a strip club and it seemed as if the ending of the play was actually before the beginning, fully completing the circle (of life perhaps).
The actors chosen were all very well cast and talented. Throughout the performance they seemed to warm up in their roles as well which created a momentum that helped to carry the plot along. The young actress who played the student had a particularly powerful moment when she was breaking up with her boyfriend and had a momentous monologue which ended in screaming and a fabulous list of demands that played out later on in the play. I also thought that the actor chosen to be the soldier/wealthy man completely transformed himself between the two roles to where he was near unrecognizable.
The brazen sexuality displayed on stage was performed well. Usually such displays can leave the audience feeling awkward or uncomfortable but it was portrayed so realistically that I didn’t feel the least bit uncomfortable. I appreciated every aspect and step on the sexuality spectrum from dark lust to pure love that was represented.
Although there were a few minor tweaks that are custom for an opening night performance, I was incredibly impressed with the overall performance. Many notions and lines in the play stuck with me but my favorite, and one which i believe was a motif in the play, was “our intentions convict us”. This particular line is one that is relevant for every character in the play.
Review of 360 (Round dance)
The UT rendition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was absolutely fantastic.
To begin with, the simplistic set with gray mood lighting was perfect for the play. I appreciated the creative use of the wrought iron moving set pieces because the kept my focus on the play as opposed to being distracted by the set. My particular favorite scene was one where the silhouette of a body cart with tools hanging off of it was center stage. With the red background lighting and the silhouette it just made the mood extremely creepy.
The ensemble cast of six members was brilliant because having actors play different roles added to the theme of mental confusion. Another thing that impressed me was the skill of the young men and women in the play. Each actor/actress was fully enveloped in their character (even when they performed multiple roles) and each was believable. My favorite instance of this is the character that played Dr. Jekyll because he has a hand twitch throughout the play which at first is only a subtle movement caught by the skilled eye but throughout the play it progressively worsens until it is pegged as the “source” of his pain and mental instability. Hyde’s character also performed well, he displayed a sort of sexuality through his violence that is dangerous and yet alluring.
Overall I thought the play was well written, well directed, and very well cast. My favorite directorial choices were keeping all the actors on stage the entire performance and having asides that were ‘journal entries’ and ‘letters’ performed through actor’s monologues. The body bags full of red dust that symbolized blood and guts was a clever finishing touch.
Review of Jekyll and Hyde for E.C.
The movie version of the play literally made me nauseous. So I guess it achieved it’s goal. The characters in the movie were much more insane than I had characterized them in my head based on the play. The director’s choice of extremely tight close ups, most of them off center, completely added to this effect. The whole movie seemed to exist in a separate reality and none of the characters were relatable, and some of the time you couldn’t even understand what they were saying. It served to disorient the viewer so that they focused on feeling and emotion that the director was trying to convey as opposed to details such as, “Why on earth am I watching this right now?”. The strident music also helped to serve in the disorientation…I feel a little crazier just from having watched it.
Women fall at his feet with burning desires, men are jealous and marvel at his ways, people all across the world have heard of him. Who is this mysterious, alluring man? It is Don Juan: the self-proclaimed greatest lover in all of the world. Although he may love them and leave them, his powers of deceit and chicanery are unmatchable. He refuses to listen to the reason and logic of his trusted assistant Sgnaralle as well as a haunted Commander’s statue…the only thing that may be able to stop him is the all mighty power of God and the flames of eternal damnation.
I found the ending of the play to be more of an abrupt halt and U-Turn. Nora’s character completely relinquished the facade of naivete she had maintained for years. I agree with Saari’s arguments, I feel that Nora’s annoying squirrel/lark routine at first came off as demeaning but then when we saw the true motivation she had behind it the reader realizes that Nora is in fact, quite a clever girl. She played Torvald just how she wanted him until she realized that it was all for not, he was adding nothing to her life or deeper sense of being since he didn’t really love her.
The play is meant as a criticism of the subjugation of people to inequal ranks solely based on their gender. This is shown through Torvald’s unnecassary babying of Nora and the way he treats her like a child. At the end she sums up the play’s message by stating that she has always just taken on the opinion of the most important men in her life and has never had and opinion of her own. She now wants to become human instead of just female.
"Helmer: Yes wasn’t that a bright idea I had?
Nora: Brilliant! But then wasn’t I good as well to give in to you?
Helmer: Good-because you give in to your husband’s judgment? All right, you little goose, I know you didn’t mean it like that. But I won’t disturb you…”
To Helmer love is about Nora’s submission and making him feel incredibly in control. It’s about Nora being dumb and playful and young so that he is the strong, powerful, intelligent half of the relationship. He really loves her on a deeper scale that’s for sure, but what is love? Is it a relationship between two people in which one always has to give in to the other? Is it one person sacrificing what they think/feel/believe to be
And to Nora, love is looking up to Helmer and letting him pretend to be in control. She saved his life by sacrificing and going through hardships and now she is in dire trouble of losing everything she most loves in her life. That’s hardly a fair situation simply because Helmer’s pride is in the way. Love shouldn’t let pride get in the way. It’s supposed to be the purest form of human existence. It has been around since the very beginning, but has the concept that it’s perfect been invented? People in love, like Helmer and Nora, never seem to actually be in love, more along the lines of simply wanting to be in love.
What’s love got to do with it?
When casting the perfect cast for my film version of The Tempest I would cast Garrett Hedlund as the dashing Ferdinand. While reading the play my idea of Ferdinand is that he is very attractive, in his early 20’s, a fast learner but not the most intelligent of men, very determined, and open-minded. Physically I imagined around six feet tall, muscular in a toned way, and shoulder length brunette hair. Garrett Hedlund would be the perfect Ferdinand if he died his blonde hair. He normally plays a character that is honest, if slightly naive. He would be the perfect fit for Ferdinand and would look good with a Miranda of a slight frame but any complexion.