Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

“My Heart for Another”: an interpretation of Lysander falling in love with Helena… a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In my first “real” relationship, I was with a guy for three months. At the beginning of the relationship, I was constantly reassured over how I didn’t have to worry about this other girl. He and I broke off badly, not ever talking to each other ever again. Guess how confused I was, when I saw that person hanging out with the girl he told me to “not worry” about. I was so… confused! 10% Hurt, but 90% confused. Simply, it’s not completely about how much it hurts your heart, but more of how you’re just like, “why the face?” This situation has or will near definitely apply to anyone in college or high school—and it applies to our group’s interpretation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Below is a short film, “My Heart for Another” — my group’s interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as a K-drama (Korean Drama). It consists of five characters: Lysander, portrayed by Josh, who was in charge of set and props; Puck, portrayed by Ariana, who was also in charge of set and props; Demetrius, portrayed by Bryn, who was in charge of costumes; Hermia, portrayed by Sunny, who was in charge of music, and Helena, portrayed by me, Stephanie. I was in charge of setting. All members of the group worked on the script. Our script covers from Act 2 Scene 2 Line 108 to 152, the continues from Act 3 Scene 2 Line 122 to 280. We also incorporate a last monologue from Puck in Act 5 Scene 1, from Line 400, to the end, 416.

Our Director’s Notebook covers our explanations for staging, costumes, set and props, and music. The script is included as well.

Because my section of the Director’s Notebook was staging, all aspects having to do with the angle and placement of the camera, blocking of characters, and even some props were planned by me. I came up with a few ideas which were incorporated into the development of the characterisation for the protagonists, which lead to our chosen theme, confusion. As I stated in my section of the Director’s Notebook, “the ‘love triangle’” I incorporated, where Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander stood in a triangle to “more clearly [demonstrate] the path of love, characterising them through showing who they wanted to be with”. This characterisation then lead to helping explain the confusion in these relationships. Another example would be the use of the wall in helping “[…] [show] Lysander to somewhat ‘gang up on’ or corner [Helena],” using the act of walking forward to her until she could move away anymore. This introduced her character, and also showed confusion.

These techniques in blocking helped in many aspects of the film, but most specifically in accentuating the theme and showing characterisation, in terms of what other characters thought of a one character, and that one character’s personality.

Through my portrayal of the dorky Korean, Helena, I was able to show our planned subtext, which helped contribute to the full characterisation of this lovestruck loser. My basic, repeated movements involved often biting my lip, tilting my chin down and looking up, raising my shoulders, furrowing my brows, or holding onto my arm. My voice also changed; in some of the earlier scenes, it was slightly higher to show Helena’s nervousness and confusion, but while ranting to Hermia and some of the men at the end, it became firmer and deeper.

Considering that Helena was the one who was followed by two men who had previously never looked at her, I definitely had to bring up much more of the theme of confusion in comparison to the other actors. Besides Sunny, who was tasked with Hermia, there was no other character who more displayed their confusion after the strange turn of events. After her interactions with characters Demetrius and Lysander, Helena showed stressful amounts of confusion, which later became infused with anger. Through the (hopefully,) subtle acting of confusion in Helena, I was more able to establish the thematic issue of how betrayal in love will always cause confusion.

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Weekly Poetry: A Mix of Meanings

Since young, I’ve said I enjoy poetry, and would like to study it in college. But when peers ask me about certain poems, I feel dumbfounded. Strangely, I find that I always stay constricted in a small variety of poetry genres.

For my CREATE project, I ‘[wrote] [poems] routinely,’ (one every week), ‘over extended time frames,’ using the five school days of the week for ‘(research)’: gathering definitions of poetry styles, rhymes, or content-based research. There were also ‘shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two),’ or the weekends of each week, used write each poem. Simply, the weekdays were for research, and the weekends, for writing. I did this during the month of April, totalling to four poems. During these ‘extended time frames’ of ‘(research),’ I wrote prompts, for a ‘range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.’ They were:

1. Haiku…
To ‘write a series of haikus,’ the purpose to use ‘setting,’ describing ‘the area travelled […] during the Great Wall journey’ on my ‘Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Practise Journey. The audience was my peers on the trip.

2. Spoken Word…
To write a spoken word poem, the purpose, to ‘describe a concept though the life of a famous person in history.’ My audience was changed drastically, to a young adults/high school students.

3. Limerick…
To write ‘original humour, in a satirical tone, […] through a series of haikus.’ This was to entertain ‘older elementary school students,’ who were my suggested audience.

4. Sonnet…
The audience for this was changed again, to my ‘peers who [have] also [read] Shakespeare,’ for my task was to write ‘a sonnet,’ to ‘describe an interpretation of a scene in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’

With this variety of ‘tasks, purposes, and audience,’ I wrote many genres, with times for research and writing.

 

(Click the links to get to the actual poems.)

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Weekly Poetry 4: Sonnet

Prompt
In a sonnet, and in the style of William Shakespeare, describe an interpretation of a scene in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: the feelings of Helena when she realises that Lysander and Demetrius have fallen for her, but thinks that they are mocking her.

Audience
Shakespeare fans; peers who are reading Shakespeare.

Inspiration

  • Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
    Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
    And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
    Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
    And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
    And every fair from fair sometime declines,
    By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
    But thy eternal summer shall not fade
    Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
    Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
    When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
    So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
    So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

    • Shakespeare

Research

  • A sonnet
    • 14 lines; ab ab, cdcd, efef, gg – English rhyming
    • Each line is 10 syllables long
    • Of expressive thought or idea
  • Shakespearean words
    • Lo, spurn, perchance, chide, ye, O, erewhile
  • Shakespearean grammar
    • Have they not
    • Wherefore
    • Commas, question marks

 

Final Product

Have they not put me through great misery?
Hermia, my friend, nay, my close sister,
Lo! She is of this confederacy!
The two men love not Helena, but her,
Yet I do not chide those two while they plea
Wherefore did I have this loose forgiveness?
Perchance it may be true; my love for he,
The kind Lysander, not Demetrius
Though he too mocks me, I cannot suppress,
Erewhile he spoke none to me, but has changed
Dost he truly love me? For he has confessed
Nay, ’tis but a mockery, ’tis arranged
But my heart does waver, at his mere touch
I hath never met a man, just as such.

I got the featured image here.

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Weekly Poetry 3: Limerick

Prompt
Through a series of limericks, display original humour, in a satirical tone.

Audience
Older elementary school students.

Inspiration
A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill can hold more than his beli-can.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I’m damned if I see how the heli-can.
Ogden Nash

Research
A limerick:

  • The last word in lines 1, 2, and 5 must rhyme and contain 8-9 syllables each.
  • The last word in lines 3 and 4 must rhyme and contain 5-6 syllables each.

Jokes:

  • Selfie cracked screen joke
    • that; maniac; crack
    • phone; alone
  • Gay grammar joke
    • great; straight; date
    • commas; dramas
  • Spaghetti vomit joke
    • girl; twirl; hurl
    • tell; hell

Final Product

Selfies

Phones can take selfies like that.
They all call me selfie maniac.
But don’t take my phone,
And take selfies at home.
‘Cause the screen will eventually crack.

Grammar

In truth my grammar ain’t great.
Some people think I ain’t straight.
I forget my own commas.
Which stirs up the dramas.
Mostly ’cause I wrote ‘boy I can date.’

Spaghetti

The spaghetti said to the girl,
‘Now why don’t you give me a twirl?’
‘As you can tell,’
‘I’m tasty as hell.’
One bite and she went out to hurl.

I got the featured image here.

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Weekly Poetry 2: Spoken Word

Prompt
In a spoken word poem, describe a concept given through the life of a famous person in history.

Audience
Young adult/high school members.

Inspiration

Research
Sylvia Plath:

  • Her father, Otto Plath, died when she was eight
    • She wrote many poems after him, with one called ‘Daddy’
  • She self-harmed after not being able to meet a brilliant writer
  • She killed herself through carbon monoxide poisoning when putting her head in an oven
  • In ‘Ariel,’ she stated that ‘the child’s cry//[melted] in the wall’
  • Her husband had an affair with another woman, driving her to more depression and suicidal intentions
    • She thought Hughes had the voice like the thunder of god
Source here.

Final Product

Lady Plath

When they hear of Plath,
they think:
‘Ted Hughes’
‘poetry’
‘suicide’
and her aftermath

but I can tell you, she was a woman with a brilliant mind
with a broken heart

some fathers hurt
stress, or abandon
but I guess
Otto Plath
just at the girl’s age of eight
became inaccessible
obsolete; a myth
that couldn’t exist
without him,
daddy

but life has a constantly upgrading arsenal of pain
so she couldn’t complain
Hughes
with a voice, the thunder of god
cradling his feelings for another
and her children
whose cries would melt in the wall
enthralled her
leaving her to
confess
so as she slashed at her legs and swallowed the pills
she never once thought of what
they wouldn’t see
her brilliance
the imprint of her words
and revelation of her life
as she confessed herself through her aristotical views
transforming each and every little thing into life
twisting and turning
from nursery rhymes to novels
from pictures to oil paintings using a
pen

and for a moment,
it was ethereal
it could only ever be
her.

I got the featured image here.

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Weekly Poetry 1: Haiku

Prompt
In a series of haikus, describe the setting of the area travelled in during the Great Wall journey.

Audience
Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Practise Journey April 9-10 participants.

Inspiration

Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
with no leaves to blow.
– Natsume Soseki

An old silent pond…
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.
Matsuo Bashō

The lamp once out
Cool stars enter
The window frame.
Natsume Soseki

Research
Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Practise Journey the Great Wall hike:

  1. manure smell
  2. climbing up (gravel)
  3. dinner
  4. starry night
  5. howling winds

 

Final Product

Firstly, we wander.
The trail is behind the farms
It smells like goat crap.

At midday, gravel,
Creeps underneath his Nikes.
Zhuan Ee slips and falls.

The sweet smell of dinner
Pulls the bugs —and I— closer.
I kill them softly.

Aren’t they like glitter?
Shining, looking down on us.
I see more than stars…

Up again we hike.
The wind takes away my hat—
I find it quite rude.

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Heartbroken Helena? “SO ME!”

Have you ever just seen a person do something, and think, ‘ME’? I have, whenever Helena, a character from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” said or did something out of the ordinary. I found that though Helena has a very exaggerated personality through her infatuation and thoughts on herself, she and I do not lack to many differences. While reading this play by William Shakespeare, I found both overlying similarities and differences of Helena’s personality, how others think of her, and her overall appearance in comparison to my everyday life.

Like Helena, and many other girls, I have found myself in love (or what I think is love, in the mind of a fourteen-year-old). As I have found similar to Helena, “[…] my heart, / Is true as steel” (2.1.196-197) Our actions and opinions are  very similar, but again, are differentiated through her extraordinary actions. Helena said to Demetrius, “The more you beat me I will fawn on you” (2.1.204). I for one, have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who just so as treats me with disrespect. If a guy would smack me, kick me, or show any brutality to me or any other girl, I would not consider them at all. This has to do with the respect I have for my gender, and the little tolerance I have for horrible men, things Helena does not have.

There are also some similarities and differences between the opinion others have of us. For example, when Demetrius said to Helena, “For I am sick when I do look on thee” (2.1.210), I felt a similar connection. I know, being a Gemini, and being a somewhat arrogant, loud, selfish girl, I have been somewhat annoying, gaining myself enemies, who seem to find fault with me. Like Helena, I received the hate from people who cannot stand me. The difference is, nobody is as mean to me as Demetrius was to Helena. Demetrius said, “I’ll run from thee and hide me in the brakes, / And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts” (2.1.227-228). Demetrius was willing to do to Helena, what King Nero did to the Christians during the time of the Roman Empire. Helena and I both have people who despise us, but I have never encountered someone who have wanted me dead.

Our appearances are also somewhat similar. “No, no, I am as ugly as a bear, / For beasts that meet me run away for fear” (2.2100-101). Using this simile and hyperbole, Shakespeare displays Helena as rather ugly, through her own voice. Though I often take selfies on my iPhone, I have never been one to think that I was of a vain character. I, like Helena, am not the prettiest, and have never be known as the prettiest through appearance, but the difference between the two of us include the magnification of her ugliness. Unlike her, beasts do not run away from me.

Overall, I think that, even through her over exaggeration of character attributes, thoughts of others, and appearance, I have very many similarities as Helena, differentiating us from others.

I got the featured image here.

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

You Need to Read, Liesel. It’s Who You Are.

I wrote this persuasive monologue, based on a scene Markus Zusak‘s The Book Thief, where Ilsa Hermann sought out to stop Liesel from giving up on literature and punishing herself. This is an extension of that conversation, expressing my interpretation of Ilsa’s thoughts.

 

Liesel. When my son passed away, yes, I agree, I was pathetic. The news of his death crippled me. Though it was over twenty years ago, I can still recall it. I punished myself, succumbing to the suffering that engulfed me. I truly was, insufferable.
Just as I chose to do so, you have shown to give up. I urge you to let go. Don’t punish yourself — pushing yourself away from books and words. Don’t be like me.
When I first saw you, you were but a young girl with an admiration for books. You picked up a book amongst the pile of books to be burnt. And you left. Maybe I could have reported you… Heh, but that made me smile. That was the start of your journey.
Then came a few more — including The Whistler and The Last Human Stranger. Did you not enjoy them?
Though you say you are furious with books, you have come such a long way from where you’ve began. For you to be rid of words wouldn’t be right. The human race deserves this gift. I’ve seen many have this opportunity. Such as my husband. Blessed with an armoury of books, yet never truly interested. You are one of the few people who have really accepted this… don’t turn your back on it.
Punishing yourself won’t do you any good either. This is something I know as a fact. Don’t let the feelings consume you.
You need to read, Liesel. It’s who you are. You are more than just a book thief. You are a book reader. Taking away precious words… that would be like depriving a fish of water.
Just because a few words hurt you — doesn’t mean they all will. Yes, sometimes they’ll annoy. At times, they infuriate me (look that word up in the dictionary if you’d like). But you and I both know the power of them. Books. Poems. Heh, even dictionaries. We’ve explored so many pieces… and now you’d like to give it all up. I for one, cannot stand this. What you are doing — punishing yourself — is unacceptable. I can’t let you end up like how I was. I can’t.
Instead, change the words for yourself.
The thing is, words don’t have to be bad. The have a multitude of meanings. Remember that black book I gave you? You can manipulate words in there. Use them to your advantage. Instead of punishing yourself, Liesel, seek to better yourself.
I’ve seen how you write… You’re a great writer. A strong writer. That kind of passion is rarely seen… especially in our current circumstances. Never forget to embrace this.
Also… never forget about how they can do you good. Books are enjoyable. Massively, enjoyable. And the only way you can be sure you’ll continue to enjoy this is to take this step. Imagine that stunning entrance… the dashing character development… and the climax near the end. Imagine this heaven in which you can choose to enter.
In order for you to truly embrace and understand how words can be glorified, start to write. Write about what makes you sad, and write what make you happy. Just write.

Click here to read more

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Scaring the Brits into the Navy: A Historical Propaganda Poster

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 8.57.34 PM
The point of my propaganda poster was to persuade the audience, which was the English citizens, to enlist in the navy. This poster was set in World War II, in Great Britain, one of the allied forces. My poster incorporates the ‘book-burning’ scene from Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, as well as a menacing grin from Hitler, above a cloud of black smoke, giving him a more malevolent look. Through the use of visual techniques, propaganda techniques, and ‘The Devil Figure’ archetype, I extended the persuasiveness of my propaganda poster, which was to persuade British citizens to enlist in the navy during World War II.
The visual techniques that I focused on for this poster included colour and lighting. These techniques were mostly used to induce pathos and demonise the depiction of Hitler. On my poster, the top three-quarters represented Nazi Germany, using the colours red, black, white, and a bit of grey. At the time, Just the colours of Nazi Germany could bring fear to the allied forces, for they were considered a common enemy. As for the bottom quarter, the colours of the Union Jack easily helped evoke a sense of patriotism, which could inspire the Brits to enlist in the navy. Though this was a hand-drawn/watercolour poster, I was able to use lighting on Hitler’s face, especially that of on his forehead and nose. These were to accentuate his malicious features, making him seem more evil and scary.
The visual techniques also helped show the propaganda techniques. These propaganda techniques were appeal to fear and demonising the enemy. For appeal to fear, I made the depiction of Nazi Germany seem more scary. I paired it with fire, black smoke, and nazi symbols, to induce fear in the audience’s eyes. In addition, the text provided showed to be very demeaning and frightening. To demonise Hitler, or the common enemy, I over-exaggerated Hitler’s features, furrowing his brows and giving him a menacing grin. The visual techniques helped achieve this propaganda technique, more thoroughly demonising this depiction of Hitler. This further helped persuade the audience, by pushing them away from the idea of Nazi Germany by scaring them, or inspiring them to help their own navy.
All of these cumulated to the building of the archetype. The archetype I chose was ‘The Devil FIgure’. This is a character archetype, where the character is the most evil incarnate. Though Hitler was just considered a harsh enemy at the time, I made Hitler seem very malicious. This further induced a sense of pathos (of fear), to join the navy.
In conclusion, I developed the purpose of this poster by first starting out with a strong basis for what would drive the audience to do the task, followed by what I needed to persuade them to do. The techniques I used were common, used to persuade those to enlist.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

How did the Organisation of Early Societies Change?

As time passed, early societies had a more pre-planned and structured organisation. The Indus Valley was built very differently than Mesopotamia and Egypt. The Indus became the first civilisation to be constructed with careful planning of the city through use of grids, special materials to protect from natural disasters, and an organised sewage system. This new, thorough organisation showed to improve them. Also, the parts of building a civilisation, including advanced cities, complex institutions, specialised workers, record keeping, and improved technology, all helped further develop the Indus Valley, giving them more of an organised and strong, centralised government. Through these aspects, not only government, but trade, agriculture, and religion were very organised. The Indus used pre-planning to build their civilisation, and from there, developed them to strong centres of trade, religion, and agriculture.

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