|Friday of week 7
|Between 1400 and 1500 words.
For the next assignment, you will be asked to submit a
comparative review of two video performances of a play by Shakespeare. You are encouraged to make this a group assignment, working on it with up to three others in the class. If you are unable (or unwilling) to work with others, however, you may submit the assignment on your own.
The plays on video
The list that follow includes all plays in the course, but you should write your review on Hamlet, Macbeth, or King Lear. The MacPherson Library has a wide selection of performances of Shakespeare's plays, many of them bought specifically for this course. You will be able to borrow most of these tapes for home use. You may also be able to get some videos from your local video store.
Romeo and Juliet (not to be used for the assignment)
- Romeo and Juliet (1968). Director, Franco Zeffirelli. Principal Actors: Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting, Milo O'Shea, Michael York, John McEnery, Pat Heywood, Natasha Perry, Robert Stephens. PR2831 A3Z4.
- Romeo and Juliet (1978). BBC. Principal actors: Celia Johnson, Michael Hordern, Joseph O'Conor, Anthony Andrews, John Gielgud. PR2831 A2M475. Made for television.
- Romeo + Juliet (1996). Directed, Baz Luhrmann. Principal actors: Leonardo di Caprio, Claire Danes, Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, Diane Venora. PR2831 A2L84.
Henry IV, Part One (not to be used for the assignment)
- Henry IV, Part I (1979, BBC). Director: David Giles. PR2810 A2M4. Made for television.
Cast: Jon Finch, David Gwillam.
- Falstaff: Chimes at Midnight (1967). Director: Orson Welles. PN1997 F323. Black and white film.
Cast: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford, John Gielgud; narration by Ralph Richardson.
Hamlet (may be used for the assignment)
- Hamlet (1948). Director: Laurence Olivier. PR2807 A2 O55 1988. Black and white film.
Cast: Laurence Olivier, Basil Sydney, Felix Aylmer, Stanley Hollaway.
- Hamlet (1969). Director: Tony Richardson. PR2807 A2R53. Film.
Cast: Nicol Williamson, Anthony Hopkins, Marianne Faithfull.
- Hamlet (1980, BBC). Director: Rodney Bennett. PR2807 A2M4. Made for television.
Cast: Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom.
- Hamlet (1990). Director: Franco Zeffirelli. PR2807 A2Z44. Color Film.
Cast: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield.
- Hamlet (1997). Director: Kenneth Branagh. Color Film.
Cast: Kenneth Branagh and just about everyone who is anyone.
- Hamlet (2000). Director Michael Almereyda.
Cast: Ethan Hawke and others.
Macbeth (may be used for the assignment)
- Macbeth (1948) Director: Orson Welles. PR2823 A2W425. Black and white film.
Cast: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O'Herlihy, Roddy McDowall.
- Macbeth (1971). Director: Roman Polanski. PR2823 A2P65. Color film.
Cast: Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, Martin Shaw.
- Macbeth (1988, HBO Video). PR2823 A2W34. Made for television.
Cast: Michael Jayston (Macbeth), Barbara Leigh Hunt (Lady Macbeth), Gary Watson (Macduff), David Weston (Malcolm).
- Throne of Blood (1957). Director: Akira Kurosawa. PN1997 K856 1987. A film adaptation of Macbeth; Japanese with English subtitles.
King Lear (may be used for the assignment)
- King Lear (1953). Director: Andrew McCullough.
Cast: Orson Welles, Natasha Parry.
- King Lear (1982 BBC). Director: Jonathan Miller. PR2819 A2M56. Made for television.
Cast: Michael Hordern, Anton Lesser, John Shrapnel.
- King Lear [1990, from an earlier film]. Director: Peter Brook. PR2819 A2B69. Black and white film.
Cast: Orson Welles, Arnold Moss, Beatrice Straight, Margaret Phillips.
- King Lear (1984). Director: Michael Elliot. PR2819 A2E538.
Cast: Laurence Olivier, Colin Blakely, Anna Calder-Marshall, John Hurt, Jeremy Kemp, Robert Lang, Robert Lindsay, Leo McKern, Diana Rigg, David Threlfall, Dorothy Tutin.
- Ran (1988). Director: Akira Kurosawa. An adaptation of King Lear. PN1997 R235. Film; Japanese with English subtitles.
Othello (not to be used for the assignment)
- Othello. (1993 Academy Entertainment) 93 min. Black and white. Director: Orson Welles Originally produced as a motion picture in 1952. PR2829 A2W45. 2 copies.
Cast: Orson Welles, Suzanne Cloutier, Micheal MacLiamoir, Robert Coote.
- Othello. (1981, BBC). 204 min. Director: Jonathan Miller. Produced for television by the BBC. PR2829 A2M55. 2 copies.
Cast: Anthony Pedley, Bob Hoskins, Alexander Darvion, Anthony Hopkins, David Yelland, Joseph O'Conor, Penelope Wilton Rosemary Leach, Tony Steedman.
Antony and Cleopatra (not to be used for the assignment)
- Antony and Cleopatra. (1993 Live Home Video) 161 min. Director: Trevor Nunn. A Royal Shakespeare Company [stage/television] production. PR2802 A2S39. 2 copies.
Cast: Richard Johnson, Janet Suzman, Corin Redgrave, Patrick Stewart.
- Antony & Cleopatra. (1981 BBC) 177 min. Director: Jonathan Miller. Produced for television by the BBC. PR2802 A2M55. 2 copies.
Cast: Colin Blakely, Jane Lapotaire.
One of the objectives of this course is to help you become "aware of the ways in which different readings and performances of the plays interpret, illuminate, or modify our understanding of the text." An ideal way of learning of differing responses to the plays, and to learn how to integrate the flexibility of readings available, is to work with your fellow students and to learn from them how they respond.
A further advantage of working in groups in this particular course will be that you will have an opportunity for more contact with your classmates, since you do not have as much opportunity to meet them as you would in a normal lecture class.
- Buchman, Lorne Michael. Still in Movement: Shakespeare on Screen.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. PR3093/B83.
- Bulman, J.C., and H.R. Coursen, ed. Shakespeare on Television: An
Anthology of Essays and Reviews. Hanover, NH: University Press of New
England, 1988. PR3093/S54.
- Donaldson, Peter S. Shakespearean Films/Shakespearean Directors.
Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990. PR3093/D66.
- Eckert, Charles W., ed. Focus on Shakespearean Films. Englewood
Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1972. PR3093/E25.
- Kliman, Bernice W. Hamlet: Film, Television, and Audio Performance.
Rutherford N.J: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1988. PR2807 K56.
I will be looking to see:
You will be graded on these specific points, and (as in all English courses) on your general command of written English.
- A concise statement of the overall approaches of the productions.
- An assessment of the relationship between the productions and the text.
- An awareness of the difference between page, stage, large (film) and small (TV) screen, as it influences the productions.
- A critical discussion of both strengths and shortcomings of the
production, referring in detail both to selected scenes, characters, business, setting, and so on, and to the text of the play.
The percentages here are intended to give you a clear sense of the emphasis I will put on the various components of your work. I will not actually break the mark down mechanically by each category, but will consider the assignment as a whole, with these categories in mind.
- Overall approach
- Production and text
- Awareness of the medium
- Critical discussion
Members of the group may choose to submit a single review, in which case a single grade will be assigned, and all students in the group will receive it. Alternatively, members may wish to work as a group, then submit individual reviews, to be graded separately.
This page last updated on 28 December 2002. © Michael Best, 2000.