Monday, January 23, 2017

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: In Learning, Language, Life and Love

IN LEARNING


Shakespeare's power of imagination was as fertile as that of any man known to history, but he had another power which is quite rare in the high tech, fast-paced world of today:  the power of absorbing or assimilating the fruits of reading.  Spenser, Milton, Burns, Keats, and Tennyson had a like power, but probably none had it to quite the same degree as Shakespeare.  In his case, as in the case of the other poets, this power of assimilation strengthened and rendered more robust the productive power of his imagination.

IN LANGUAGE

Shakespeare's readers can find themselves caught in a series of implicit choices where, for example, a particular wording or phrasing may correspond to a specific stylistic effect, which is used by the author to persuade the audience.  All of Shakespeare's plays draw on the resources of rhetoric, which is not considered as a mere method of composition, but also a tool to experiment with language. Linguistically, Shakespeare's manipulation of language serves to construct characters, conflicts, and themes.  As readers of his texts and audience members of his plays, we are challenged to analyze Shakespeare's choices at the levels of word and phrase, and at a more abstract, figurative level, specifically in relation to how those word and phrase choices reveal power or powerlessness.  In this regard, we focus on sound devices, such as alliteration and onomatopoetic phrasing, a range of metaphoric usage--chiefly metaphor, imagery, and symbolism.  Technically, we complete a simple analysis of metrical features, such as iambic meter, rhythm and rhyme.  Through the study of Shakespeare's works, we can draw clear connections between the meaning elicited from a text and how Shakespeare went about creating that meaning stylistically.

IN LIFE

Shakespeare never goes stale.  And there are good reasons for that.  Through the years, Odyssey scholars have studied the plays of A Midsummer Nights Dream, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet.  As your experience with Shakespeare's texts expand, so does your understanding and appreciation of the author's work and its connections to life.  Shakespeare has been done and redone hundreds of times in settings as varied in time and place as one can imagine.  Shakespeare had a profound understanding of human kind: our struggles, our desires, our hopes and fears.  These common sufferings and triumphs connect the characters on his stage with those people we meet in real life.  This is what it means to be universal.  No matter how old we are, where we live, or in what time, all boundaries can fade to nothing in a tale of Shakespeare.  As the characters fall in love, so do we; as they grow enraged at injustice, so do we; as they are overcome with jealousy or humiliation, we blush crimson right along with them.  The brilliance of Shakespeare comes through his mastery of the mechanics of the English language to elaborate on his intrinsic knowledge of the human psyche.

IN LOVE

Each year, the English Speaking Union invites students and their teachers/directors who share a love and enthusiasm for the Great Bard to participate in their National Shakespeare Competition.  It all starts in the classroom.  Schools all over the country conduct in house, school wide Shakespeare competitions in which scholars present a memorized monologue of no more than twenty lines.  After the school selects a winner, they are sent along with other scholars across their state, to compete at the branch level.  This time, they present their monologue and one of Shakespeare's sonnets.

The lucky scholar selected at the branch level is then flown out for a week long trip to New York
City, where they are dined, entertained, and have the opportunity to mingle with other branch winners and students of the infamous Julliard School.  The grand finale, however, is that each student gets to perform his/her monologue, sonnet and a cold read on the stage at Lincoln Center in the National competition.  The competition is stiff.  Every scholar brings with him or her a uniquely brilliant interpretation of a beloved work.  The judges no doubt agonize over their decision, but only one lucky scholar will be chosen as the grand prize winner.  This scholar will win an all expenses paid trip in the summer to study at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. A second place scholar at competition will earn an all expenses paid trip to study Shakespeare with other classical actors in Staunton, Virginia, including tuition, transportation, food, and accommodations.  The third place scholar wins a $500 scholarship from The Shakespeare Society of New York City.

We will enjoy watching the winning performance of 2016 in class.  But for our blog post assignment this week, we will watch an inspirational educational video by the creators and actors of the Oscar award winning film, Shakespeare in Love.  I promise, you will enjoy it!  It is about 45 minutes in length, so allow for some time to put your feet up, brew some tea or hot chocolate, and enjoy!  (There are two possible links--they are both the same.)  It looks at the life and art of William Shakespeare through the lens of his play, Romeo and Juliet.  For your post, please comment on the story, what you learned and anything specific that impressed you, and then see how it all comes together at the end:  summary, poetry and then...the color!  I promise, it will be worth the time...for, as we know, "Never was a story of more woe than that of Juliet and her Romeo..."





62 comments:

  1. There is no wonder why this production won an Academy Award. I loved this video! I was never a huge fan of Shakespeare, but I always had an underlying appreciation for his work. After watching this I noticed myself to become more fond of this play. My favorite part was watching Ben Affleck, but more specifically I loved the little details that were listed about his life and lineage. The more information you have from the author/inspiration the better you understand. I also want to highlight the detail of costumes. I feel that they are very accurate to the time period, but above all they were interesting to watch in the clips. Juliet's dress was extravagant but not over the top, resembling her subtle yet bold personality. I learned about the work, progress, and personality that goes into a production. In all, the movie captured immense details, dialect interpretation, and utmost importance of the play. It came together beautifully for both their focus and the vivid major motion picture. The actors hard work and dedication was evident for taking on their character roles.

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  2. I have never seen the movie “Shakespeare in Love,” but this video gave me a very good reason to watch it. It offers a view on what Shakespeare's life could have been like, especially with what little we actually know of him. I was surprised to hear how the actors in Shakespeare’s time had to memorize up to two plays at a time and had very limited time to rehearse. It was extremely unfair of them to not allow women to perform on stage, but it was very daring of Shakespeare to call that out in his plays which made him more ahead of his time. I could only imagine how entertaining it was for the audience to see Shakespeare’s plays for the first time because they were so different than what they were used to. Even when I watch a live Shakespeare performance today, I love how captivating the story is and how the actors interpret their roles. I will agree that Shakespeare is timeless and it is not meant to just be read but also studied and performed.

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  3. We see so many movie adaptations of Shakespeare's work, but it is interesting to see a movie adaptation of his life. To be able to see even just a glimpse of what his life could have looked like is incredibly interesting. We believe we know about him because we know his work, and in a sense we do, but I think we forget he was a real person. The stories he created are eternal, so to see one of his plays for the first time, would have been incredible. The performances then were as different as they always will be. I was interested in learning that their stages had only costume to enhance the performance. The actors had a space, natural light and a costume. To see performances today that would be that limited is rare. The actors were expected to memorize a play that will be put up in a week. They had to be incredible actors to do such work. Shakespeare was incredible to create such timeless work especially in his time period. I never really had a reason to learn about Shakespeare as a person not Shakespeare the plays and sonnets.

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  4. The stories that have always been told were sort of a cliche , but shakespeare in love was quite different. Shakespeare’s life was interesting, important and impactful. The things that made me laugh were the small amount of “factual” knowledge they knew about shakespeare, and the information they drew from his works instead. I think the overall execution of the play was very well done. The costuming, colors, acting and set pieces all looked realistic (as far as I know). I did know that the stages were round for a specific reason, and that the lighting was provided by the sun. It was also interesting to learn more information about the queen and dynamic of the time period. The poetry portrayed was all sound and beautiful, the actors did a good job with articulation. The story was emotional and romantic and captured the dynamic of a true shakespeare play.

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  5. I’m just going to comment on little things that stood out to me in the video:
    I am amazed that we only know 5 facts about Shakespeare. Usually, people analyzing works like to know the author’s background for context clues, but this leaves Shakespeare’s works without that advantage. I think that is part of the reason why so many different perspectives are held about him, and how his work has been recreated in so many different ways. It’s all how WE interpret it.
    It is also weird to think that the lower class paid only a penny to get into a play. I know a penny was worth more back then, but it’s crazy how much the value has decreased.
    Another thing I want to point out is how the underdogs can come out on top. You never know what the future holds. Shakespeare was not as popular in his time as he is in ours. Other playwrights were more popular then, ones you don’t hear of often today-proof that some works are considered timeless.
    I don’t understand why women were forbidden on the stage (not to mention forbidden from doing most things). If there was a female character in a play, wouldn’t casting a woman make the most sense? It should have been the first thought. What was wrong with it? For this reason, I appreciate Shakespeare incorporating this issue into some of his plays, having female characters secretly dress as males for their own advantage. Good idea.
    Here’s an interesting point: taking it from the perspective that, technically, a single person, Queen Elizabeth, kept the theater from shutting down and is the reason the plays could carry on is crazy to think about. If she hadn’t liked the plays, how would that affect our knowledge/perspective of Shakespeare today?
    Wow, Queen Elizabeth was like a child prodigy, learning all that knowledge by the age of twelve! (I also love how she reacted to the death scene in the “Shakespeare in Love” rendition of “Romeo and Juliet”)
    Overall, I loved this video. It was really interesting, and I learned a lot. “Shakespeare in Love” was such a good idea to create, and I want to watch the whole production now!







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    1. Yes! The notion that a female was the most powerful figure, really, in the world, since England was the major power in that time, yet women were not allowed to perform on stage. Talk about hypocrisy! :) She is one of the reasons we celebrate Shakespeare today!

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  6. I really loved seeing this movie, because for me, Shakespeare has always been a larger than life figure to me. But seeing him as almost a normal person gave me a deeper understanding of his life. The actors were amazing, they only had a limited time to learn the play and they really did amazing. This story also gave me a more in depth view of the society Shakespeare grew up in.

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  7. There were two things that stood out to me throughout the video. First, it was the amount of evidence pertaining to Shakespeare's life. Since there were only 5 facts, it made him seem even more mysterious. It also amazed me because it says that his plays were well known in his time, so why would the people not keep track of his life more thoroughly? When someone is well known people follow that person and want to know more about them, but that was not the case with Shakespeare. Next, it shocked me when it was said that without Queen Elizabeth I theatre might not have existed and Shakespeare would not be known. Without one person in this world, I would not be able to participate in my favorite hobby, I would not be able to feel the struggles of human nature in words, I would not know the joy I do now when I perform. Queen Elizabeth changed my life for the better. Queen Elizabeth changed the life of a teenage girl in the living in Buckeye, AZ in the 21st century. It amazes me how everyone is connected to each other somehow and this video made me realize the magnitude of it.
    It showed me the struggle of women in that time, and yet the power of the individual desire. Women changed their gender to do what they loved. Shakespeare wrote what he desired and what he knew would touch at the desires of every human. The actors in that time would make playwrights create characters with depth and charisma, making the characters that everyone knows and loves. This era is filled with desire and passion, with struggle and determination. Every word and every rhyme created a picture of dreamers. Dreamers longing for greatness, for joy, and for passion.

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    1. It is amazing how some figures have the power to transcend time, borders and gender role boundaries! :)

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  8. I was a little hesitant at first to watch something this long about Shakespeare because I had already learned so much about his accomplishments and figured it would be repetitive. However when the video started and it more about what we could learn about him from his works,it seemed more accurate then focusing on what little we actually know as it seems more honest. I also loved learning about the time period and how the Queen was the sole reason the theater remained in business. The thing that impressed me most was probably the fact that the actors had very little time to learn multiple plays that they only preformed a few times. In the end I ended up enjoying it more then I thought I would.

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  9. This video was enjoyable to watch and learn about Shakespeare in Love because I have wanted to see it for sometime and have not yet. At first it was quite slow for me since I already know a good amount about Shakespeare. Although it did pick up and draw my interest in once they began talking about the movie. I loved watching the scenes and listening to the actors explain their views on it.Learning about the history was somewhat interesting, at least the parts I didn't know since I was familiar with a lot of the information. The movie seems quite good and I am intrigued to see it for sure!

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  10. When I was watching the video, one line really stood out to me. It was what the owner of the Rose Theatre said. "Allow me to explain about the theater business.The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles, on the road to imminent disaster. Strangely enough it all turns out well... It's a mystery." As an actress (and a one-time director) this really rang true. In theatre, anything that can go wrong, will. It requires everyone to have an amazing adaptability, perhaps more so than some other careers or hobbies. I think that really characterizes Shakespeare. His ability to create characters that, while appropriate for his audience, stand the test of time. His ability to bounce back after set-backs. And finally, his own heart to see into the ever changing human condition.

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    1. That was my favorite quote, as well. It truly is a mystery, and shows how if there is enough passion in the artist, it will all come together!

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  11. What really took me by surprise is the insane fact that if it wasn't for Queen Elizabeth enjoying theater, theater very well could of been shut down. This would of prevented us from receiving the Shakespeare's of the world and we may of never heard about him or any of his genius plays. It's insane how little decisions and preferences like that have such a long lasting impact.

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  12. I enjoyed watching this video about Shakespeare and his works. I did not know that we only know very little facts of him, but he did leave his literature in which we interpret him as an artist. It is crazy to think that the subjects he wrote about are the stuff of today's headlines power, war, violence and passion.

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  13. This was such a fascinating video to watch. I have a strong and ever-developing love for Shakespeare, and Shakepeare in Love is one of my favorite films of all time. It's such a creative twist on the life of Shakespeare and the stories of his plays. Watching this video and hearing the language and discussion about it made me fall in love all over again. I've never understood how anyone could find Shakespeare boring. Of course, I'm strongly opinionaed, but his writing is incredibly beautiful, captivating, and timeless. He himself is also a fascinating figure, due to the mystery surrounding him.
    Hearing about the life of Queen Elizabeth the I was really interesting, as I only know basic facts. Her decision to never marry made me wonder whether or not she wanted to marry or had ever fallen in love, but chose duty to her country and people over her personal desires. That would be such a tragic element and would fit well into storytelling.
    I loved getting to see behind-the-scenes of this film. I always enjoy watching that kind of stuff because this is what I want to do in life and getting to see the process makes me so excited. I also loved the cast readings of the balcony scene and the ending scene. Despite having seen Romeo and Juliet, read it, performed it, and seen this movie more than once, watching the ending scene from the play is so heartbreaking and touching each and every time.

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    1. I believe that I read she did supposedly have a love/lover, but Elizabeth never married because that would be handing over her power, and she was a very good and fair ruler. She did what was best for her and her country in the end.

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  14. Before watching this video, I heard of Shakespeare in Love and the plot and though that the movie must have been terrible. Upon seeing the purpose of the movie and how each of the actors understood so much about Shakespeare and his life, I changed my mind about the movie. I would love to watch it! I find it very interesting that they based his whole life off what they knew for other historical accounts about the time and who Shakespeare was according to his writing.

    From this video, I learned we know less about Shakespeare than I thought. I knew there many rumors about Shakespeare, but I didn't realize only five things about his life are know, for a fact, to be true. I would have thought we would have stories about him, his own written accounts, or even his children's accounts of him, but I was wrong.

    I found the costumes used both during the time and for the movie very impressive. During the time period, clothes took a long time to sewn together and look nice. It must have taken them so long to create everything and yet they only had one week to get everything done and perform it before they moved on to another play. That is amazing. The costuming of the movie was impressive as well. I love the way they portrayed the Queen through her hair and make-up it fit her perfectly displaying how she didn't take anything from anyone and often had to show herself as more fierce than normal to earn respect.

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  15. I was skeptical about the video at first because I thought it was going to a a boring biography repeating itself and all the random facts about William Shakespeare, I can confidently say that The video was the complete opposite and I learned quite a bit from it. For example, who knew that the color you wore depended on your status? I clearly understood by the way they dressed, but never really noticed that most royalty wears purple. It was also interesting to learn that Queen Elizabeth I was never married and this actually helped her be a better ruler when it came to her foreign policies. In a way it has inspiring and, because she proved that she could manage such a demanding role without a man.

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  16. The thing that impress me the most is that William Shakespeare’s writing is read all over the world every year but the background knowledge on the genius himself is known next to nothing. 5 facts was all they know about the Shakespeare’s life. I don't blame them for not having much information, it was the 15th century. I didn't realize all the events that were happening in that time period could/ did affect they way of play writing was written. Who would imagine Queen Elizabeth would be such an important role for the creation of early entertainment. My favorite part was the ending, seeing everything come together was breathtaking.

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  17. This video was incredibly interesting. My preconceived notions of Shakespeare before I took L&L last year and read "Taming of the Shrew" was that Shakespeare was boring and took too much time to decipher. "Taming of the Shrew" was the first play I actually understood, and watching the performances done by the school have also helped me become more intrigued in Shakespeare and his writings. This video helped a significant amount as well, as it took the sections of "Romeo and Juliet" section by section, explaining its significance as well as explaining the cultural significance behind it. The most fascinating part of the video to me was when they showed the "plain English" version and then the "poetic" versions of the ending of "Romeo and Juliet". It really broke it down of how the audience reacted to the performance through the use of language. Additionally, I found it incredibly interesting that Shakespeare is known as the one to combine the Comedy and Tragedy genres with R&J. As a whole, I really liked the style of this video, as well as the content it portrayed.

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  18. I thought at first that this video was going to be long and boring but it turned out to be very interesting. Plus the people that were explaining everything had really soothing voices. Anyways, what I learned was that Shakespeare is known all over the world however there is little to no information about him. And what impressed me was that there was so little information, yet they still made a movie of Shakespeare's life and how it would have looked like. They interpreted his text and language to create a film and it honestly looks really nice. Once the language, the set, poetry, everything came together, it looked very life-like. Like if you were dreaming something in a different perspective, however it still affected you because it is like if you were there. It becomes emotional and dramatic, it's truly amazing.

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  19. When my classmates warned me that we had a lengthy video in store for this blog post, I was afraid it would seem to drone on as many educational videos unfortunately seem to do, and I settled in with my popcorn and tea ready to bear it out. But I was so impressed! It was actually very engaging and informative learning not only about Shakespeare himself, but the time, context, and struggles that he faced. The movie clips served as very detailed, understandable examples that were often very entertaining. My favorite parts were those where they discussed the costuming (no surprise there), but also as they delved into the feminist views of the time. It was especially interesting how, as the actors pointed out, despite the existing patriarchy of the time, the Queen was ironically the one who held the most power. I had no idea the struggles she faced, the duties she bore, and the wit with which she conducted her role. From what I learned today, Queen Elizabeth seems to be quite a person to look up to! After all, without her, the theater allegedly wouldn't have stood a chance.

    Some other quotes I found of note:
    "But when you compare theater to other popular entertainments of the time, like public executions and witch burnings, the city fathers seemed to have been over-reacting a bit." (I found this hilarious, classifying theater among such pastimes that we now consider today to be quite *ahem* unorthodox.)

    "Now, you'd think by telling us how the story ends right at the beginning he'd ruin it for us, but just the opposite happens." (I never noticed this part of "Romeo and Juliet",or I had forgotten it in the years since we last studied it, but this actually made me think of what Zusak did with Death's narration in The Book Thief. Perhaps he drew inspiration to this method from The Bard himself?)

    Finally, I found the portrayal of Shakespeare's work to be quite gripping. Since I'm always behind the scenes ensuring that productions go smoothly, I rarely get the chance to witness the magic of theater unfold on stage, even during practice. Being able witness this work (and by wonderfully skilled, professional actors, no less!) was very inspiring to view. I could only imagine the work that went into such an engaging production. Thank you for showing us this lovely analysis of Shakespeare, Mrs. Caraway!

    "We know what we are, but we know not what we may be"
    ~William Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

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    1. Yes, there truly is magic in the act of bringing a story to life!

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  20. Before watching the video I imagined my worst case scenario, being that I wouldn't have the strength to focus throughout the whole video. However that wasn't true I felt like I was watching those little independent films from the Sundance Film. The video consisted of a captivating analysis on the motives seen, the work that had to be done to really make the movie, and lots of information about Shakespeare. I love watching videos that explain why they did this, or why that had been portrayed this way!

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  21. What impressed me about this blog video was that we know so little about the worlds most famous writer. Only knowing 5 facts about Shakespeare (Not counting what we learn from his work) I think makes his work even more intriguing because we want to learn where this, as some may say, “miracle/genius” comes from. I have never seen “Shakespeare in Love”, but it just from the scenes makes me want to watch it, as well as seeing who is incorporated in the movie! I love Ben, Gwenyth, and Joseph! My favorite part was of the Juliet monologue at about 35 minutes and then the “translation” of the monologue and connecting it to the colors. I love the way the monologue was said, to me there was a connection from the passage to the performer. I feel like everyone can relate to a piece made by Shakespeare. Watching this video, I believe everyone in it and that helped produced it had a connection to Romeo and Juliet. But, of course, my all time favorite was watching everything come together. It was one of the most amazing scenes I have ever seen. Joseph said it was compressed, but I cannot imagine how amazing it would be in full length within the play!

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    1. It's beautiful. But I think most theater gets its beauty from its reflection in the audience. Their emotional response to what was happening on stage is what really got my heart!

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  22. I found it crazy how little amount of facts there are about William Shakespeare, yet we feel like we know a lot more because of his plays. I love how in depth and fascinated the actors were when involved with this video and the movie in general. The way they spoke and interpreted everything was so interesting and made me intrigued - they taught me many things I didn't know about that time period. It also made me want to watch Shakespeare in Love.

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  23. I know that for many William Shakespeare is very special to them, and that reading and performing his plays is a passion. I admire this greatly, however have never had the same level of passion. When I saw the video was on Shakespeare (and more specifically Romeo and Juliet), I was unsure if my interest was going to be captured. Needless to say, I was completely wrong! This video gave me a whole new perspective on Shakespeare and his play Romeo and Juliet. What I was most impressed with when it came to the video was the cast's ability to explain and demonstrate the passion and detailed imagery William Shakespeare had. Not only were they able to explain to the viewer the intense meaning and feelings behind his work, they were also able to demonstrate it. I was able to learn how much like us William Shakespeare was, and how he captured what people (no matter what time period they live in) feel and can go through. He captured emotion so vividly that not only are his plays entertaining, they are relatable and can connect with several different audiences. As for Romeo and Juliet, the play was no longer a common tale that I had heard about over and over, but a story of how emotions and feelings can become such a powerful, driving force in someone's life.
    After watching the different aspects of the play come together in the end, I really saw how much work and detail went into Shakespeare's plays. I believe this really showed how detailed Shakespeare was and how we was attentive to every single piece of his writing. In the end, I found a new admiration for Shakespeare and his writing, as they really showed the power of human emotions and experiences. Along with this, I found an even greater appreciation for plays and all aspects of performing a play (from the actors to the costumes and setting). I can now say I have a greater passion and admiration for Shakespeare (and plays) than before.

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  24. I ran into a dilemma. I heard the video was 45 minutes long, I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it, but then I heard it was on Shakespeare and I said, “Now I have to watch it.” So, I did. As I watched, some things stood out to me. For example, no one knows a lot about Shakespeare-- only 5 facts!! Men padded their belly to look wealthy--Peascod Belly--, now compared to today’s world, guys are photoshopping themselves to look skinny or buff. Back then they took rank by colors it was illegal to wear purple if they were under count or countess. Another fact is back then people were bribed with quote on quote big juicy parts with bling in plays, now, they are bribed with more money. Plays were often put up in a week compared to nowadays where plays are put up in three to four months. To conclude, Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite plays by Shakespeare, I am just very fond of this play.

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  25. Wow! This video truly did change my opinion on Shakespeare. Like many I didn't think that this video would be of my interest, I thought it wouldn't be interesting at all but it proved me wrong this just made me more curious and interested in watching the movie. What most impressed me were how each character demonstrated their passion and what Shakespeare is all about, the feelings and meaning of his work. I learned many new facts about Shakespeare I didn't know and this truly gave me a different view of his plays I also felt that this connects to many different audiences because of what he writes and how he writes; in many common and intriguing genres like love and tragedy. In conclusion, I could say that this really changed my point of view and made me appreciate even more all the works of Shakespeare and what it teaches us.

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  26. I was unsure about the video at first because I was almost positive it would be a boring, hard to understand biography about William Shakespeare. But within the first minute I could tell it was going to be a very interesting video about Romeo and Juliet and William Shakespeare himself. In the beginning a question was asked by Judi Dench , about why we are still so fascinated by Shakespeare's works that were written so long ago. After she had asked that, I had to pause the video and think to myself why it is still so interesting and important. It was said that William Shakespeare had this talent of understand human relationships, and was able to portray it so realistically in his plays. I believe that it is true. Although his plays have comical parts to the relationships, it is very real which makes the audience able to connect to the play.

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  27. When first hearing about having to watch a video of Shakespeare, and hearing that it was almost an hour I was dreading to watch it. But, as I watched the video I was pleasantly surprised, finding a deeper connection to theatre and the written word, and even as I appreciated the literature I begin to grow a deep respect for Shakespeare. The way that we are able to learn so much about a man through his works, but only truly know five things about him. It is incredible how he truly put himself into these plays. And when learning more of the deeper layers of the performance, that I never thought could possibly be before, I can say that I truly appreciate what actors do. In all of this I found that the video flew by and in a flash it was over, and now I have a hunger to know more. So in conclusion I find myself wanting to find more and will likely look into similar ones to that of the story of Juliet and her Romeo.

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  28. With the little amount of time the actors had to prepare for the role, I was greatly impressed. They made everything come to life, and it was honestly really interesting to watch. When I first sat down to watch the video, I thought it was going to be somewhat boring, and not as fascinating as I thought. But from the very beginning, I was instantly intrigued. One thing in particular that stood out to me was different facts about Shakespeare's personal life. We are always taught about Shakespeare and his amazing work, but I've never been in the position that causes me to think about Shakespeare and his life. Hearing about what he's like as a person and things that he went through in life really made me think about how this impacted his work. I really enjoyed the video and the blog this week.

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  29. First off, I found the story of both Shakespeare as well as Romeo and Juliet engrossing. I can definitely say that I went out of that video knowing more than I did going in. For example, I never knew that we only know five concrete facts about Shakespeare, and the rest of his life is left to be gleaned from his plays and poetry. Furthermore, regarding the history on theaters and plays back then, I found it very interesting, especially concerning the whole social honor dynamics that occur when they would go to the theater. Where you sat at the theater determined social status, what you wore and its color determined status, HOW much you wore determined status. How fat you looked determined status. That stands in stark contrast to today's society, where sitting in the bottom rows of the theater just means that you're irresponsible with reserving tickets, and that looking in-shape is a strong reflection of social character rather than social honor. But, similar to today, watching a film/play has the effect of making everybody forget their own lives and personal status and simply become enraptured by the strong portrayals of emotion and the human experience.

    Something fascinating to me are all the old-timey politics which occurred back then, like women not being allowed on the stage, theaters being shutdown and the ensuing financial troubles, and competition to get the best plays through both playwrights and actors. What was very surprising to me was the part about how some play critics weren't impressed with a play without a good, solid stabbing in it. I found that humorous, because it seems similar to today where many critics prefer some instances of slapstick violence in their movies.

    Finally, what most impresses me about Shakespeare is that he is such a skilled wielder of words, that nearly half an eon later, even we garish users of English can understand what he means when hearing those sophisticated sentences. As Joseph Fiennes was saying at around 35 minutes, "It's the color Shakespeare puts into the words that raises them above ordinary conversations."

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    1. Yes! Wasn't it great to see the story told first in normal language, and then re-interpreted with all the poetry and color onstage? Gorgeous!

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  30. I thought this video was very interesting in talking about the history of Shakespeare because I was unaware that so little is actually known about him and his life. The video was also entertaining because we learned about the director's vision for Shakespeare in Love and the actors' roles in it. Overall, the topic was interesting because we know so little about the man himself, but we have learned so much about his works from studying them in class at school.

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  31. What I thought was pretty cool and impressive was how well the actors of that time did as actors. They were like the Spartans of acting, the best. It was very impressive to learn that the actors had so little time to prepare for their performances, and that the performances of each of those plays that they prepared for were only performed a few times before being replaced by a different play already, in so little time. The actors of that time had to have been so passionate about theater and performance if they went through the non-stop memorization and performing of plays in those relatively rugged environments. And if the actors are any indicator to the hardiness of the theater "industry" of that time, then one can assume that the playwrights of the time were also just as impressive, if not more so. The actors may have had to memorize hundreds of lines a day, but the playwrights like Shakespeare created and thought through each and every one of those lines, and in so little time! Talk about true creativity, talent, and extraordinary work ethic to follow through with the passion they had for the art and the business!
    The video also really puts into perspective what it must've or could've been like back then, what with the social and gender inequality, and especially things like the Black Plague floating around, and it really makes one appreciate what we have today in places like the U.S.
    Lastly, the video helped me really appreciate Shakespeare's passion for the art and how his mind worked and operated in a society like that. I definitely appreciated how he recognized the gender inequality in his society and made remarks about it through his plays, something I'm guessing many other playwrights didn't have the guts are thought to do themselves, which is probably just another thing that made Shakespeare special and rise above the rest.

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  32. I enjoyed the video a lot. It was nice to have the background of the time period of Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth and information about them as well. It helped make sense of why things were the way they were and why Shakespeare was such a great playwright. I definitely thought it was impressive how much of an education Queen Elizabeth had especially being a women in the time period she was living in. I was never quite sure if Shakespeare had ever gotten married or had any children so finding out he had was pretty cool. I liked how at the end of the video they did the comparison of the scenes of the play being described and the scenes actually acted out. It made the play seem more profound and realistic.

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  33. When I first heard of Shakespeare in Love, I actually though it was a Shakespeare play or at least a true story. So I was pretty disappointed when I finally saw it and realized it wasn't a play then I learned about Shakespeare in school and found out that the whole "love" part was made up, so for the past couple of years I've been pretty upset with this movie. Even when I clicked on the link and realized that the 45 min video was about Shakespeare in Love, I was a little annoyed. Honestly, for the first 10 minutes I just nitpicked the video like how I though Gwenyth Paltrow sounded like a robot and Joseph Fiennes was being too extra and how I didn't even remember Batman, Ben Affleck, being in the movie, but after that I actually learned a few things. Some thing that struck me was how much Romeo and Juliet impacted Shakespeare's career. I always though Shakespeare was the great SHAKESPEARE but there were other play writes and actors more famous than him before Romeo and Juliet. Something I also didn't know was that some of the characters were real people. I also liked the end where they talk about the end scene of Romeo and Juliet scene. Both of the performances in the movie were so touching and beautiful. After watching the video, my detest for Shakespeare in Love as been expunged and I have to watch the movie again sometime.

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  34. I had a couple of "significant reactions" in a sense from this video. One being "wow I actually didn't know we have so little concrete facts about Shakespeare's life" and two, "and we think play productions now are a nightmare." I was really surprised by how little time actors had to practice their parts. I suppose it gave them a lot more motivation however, being they have so little time to make their mark on the world. I find it also interesting that most of what we know of William Shakespeare was from his works that he left behind, his amazing insights in society and relationships between humans today or of any time period for that matter.

    Another thing I really found surprising was that lower class citizens weren't allowed to wear certain colors, specifically purple or flashy colors. When we think about color now we don't really associate it to that of status. The closest we get to this is the traditional colors of a wedding dress and tuxedo. It's really interesting to see how something that held such importance in the past, almost has no significance now.

    Overall I really enjoyed the video. It provided an insightful account into the bard's life as well as societal norms of that period. I enjoyed learning about the irony of gender norms as in women had a low status in society although their queen was a woman. They provided an interesting analysis of how Shakespeare played on women's roles in society in his plays as well. After watching this video I do have an interest of seeing Shakespeare in love so I can take what they've talked about here and see how they translated that into a production.

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  35. In the beginning I was shocked that I was about to watch a 45 minute long video about the least comprehensible subject for me… Shakespeare, I wanted to just forget about the blog response and go to bed. But when I started the video and saw the first couple of minutes, I thought to myself “What!? Gwyneth Paltrow!!! I love her!”, but really, the accents! Now seriously, I really did enjoy the listing of facts because I LOVE lists and I liked the analyzing of kow little “facts” there are about him but so many pieces of works. I notice in the movie their extravagant, elegant and very detailed costumes, which were just lovely and colorful, it was very pretty. I also didn’t know how hot the guys in Shakespeare, but I also kind of figured out why it was a little awkward when Gwyneth came out on stage, it was because she was a girl, not a guy dressed as a girl. I just loved the purpose of this play and the reason these actors and actresses performed it. Even though this probably didn’t happen in the Shakespearian era, I enjoyed the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow to perform at the end even though she was a women.

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  36. Some things I found very significant about this video is that Shakespeare's life is still a big mystery. The only real opinions we have are based of of his writing. I found it interesting that there are no props except for costumes but Shakespeare's writing still keeps the story interesting and exciting. Other than the fact that the video was very long, I did enjoy the video. I thought it was very interesting how these productions work and how much skill these people need to have in order to pull a play like this off.

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  37. This video was fascinating! I'm going to be completely honest and say I've never been a huge fan of Shakespeare (please don't offended) I love what Shakespeare did for the rest of the world and the impact he had on all of us, I just particularly like performing (unless it's Twelfth Night and i'm Toby Belch then I love it!)
    When I watched this video I was kinda sad that it wasn't the exact movie, but little snippets instead. I didn't like the way Gwenyth was talking (she was a tad boring). My favorite part throughout the whole thing was how they portrayed Shakespeare as a struggling actor. I think it's much more tasteful than always just praising/worshiping him for him work. I mean he was a genius but it's nice to once in a while to think of him like a struggling person just like the rest of us.

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  38. This video was very interesting! I enjoyed the section where Gwenyth Paltrow was talking about the Elizabethan costumes. I also found it interesting that the amount of colors on your clothes indicated your social status. It was also interesting learning about the reputation of the theater, and that the city thought of it as a "moral disease". It is also interesting that during that time, the actors where highly popular. For some reason I never thought that these actors and actresses were famous, or popular with the public. It was also interesting that the writer Christopher Marlow was more popular that Shakespeare, but I have never even heard of that man until this video. That goes to show how things change with time! I really like how the video discussed the struggles of Shakespeare and how he differed from those during his time period. I also really enjoyed all of the facts and connections made throughout the video.

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  39. I will start by saying that this movie opened my eyes to the beauty of Shakespeare. I always had a certain respect for him and his works, though I would say that is simply because my teachers and mentors had respect for him and because I believe anything older than you deserves some form of respect. Now I truly have a profound respect for Shakespeare. Reading his works always seemed like a real chore because his vernacular was just far and beyond mine and because I already knew the general story as they had become common knowledge amongst society. Now I feel as though I'd really like to sit down and read his works and experience what the movie made me experience. I want to get invested in a Shakespeare work like I would any other novel. This time around, hearing those common place lines from Romeo and Juliet moved me in a way they hadn't before. That could be because they were played by a team of A-list actors who have a natural aptitude for these things. The meaning of the language was no longer an enigma to me. It flowed through my head smoothly and evoked the emotions I'm sure that Shakespeare intended them to. I have to say now that this movie has helped me learn just how much praise Shakespeare deserves.

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  40. Like many others, I was unsure about watching this video when I found out it was 45 minutes long, but I was very glad that I watched the whole thing! I was very impressed with all aspects of the video, but I completely amazed that there are only 5 facts known about Shakespeare! In today's world where everyone is sharing who they are and what they are doing at all times of the day, it's hard to imagine that we know so little about an iconic person that many admire. Having said that, it's also amazing to see how much we feel like we know about who he was through the art he created. We always think about Shakespeare as an almost unreal figure, forgetting that he is an actual person, and seeing details about his personal life gave a deeper understanding to his work. Overall, I really loved watching this video and found it very intriguing.

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  41. Wow! I really enjoyed this video! It has given me a whole new perspective on Shakespeare and his works. Although I have seen the actual movie Shakespeare in Love, it brought a whole new understanding and allowed me to connect the ideas brought to life by the actors. I also find that there is a certain beauty in the fact that we know so little about Shakespeare's life. Today we are all so focused on finding out as much as we can about a person, so it is refreshing to learn that someone so well respected throughout history also remains a mystery. Watching this video made me want to watch the actual movie again, and read Romeo and Juliet again too. I must admit, from watching this video I understand the language better. Before, I was able to read it and understand the basics of what was going on, but now I can see the beauty in Shakespeare's metaphor and imagery.

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  42. Whenever I first read that the length of the video was 45 minutes long, I did not want to watch it at all. However, I watched the whole video, and I am delighted that I did! I found many aspects of the video very fascinating and interesting. Even though I have studied Shakespeare in past English classes, the video taught me a lot more than I had already known. One thing I thought was very interesting was the fact that we only know five true facts about Shakespeare. This seems odd, because he is so famous. Nowadays, we know so much about famous people such as celebrities and authors, but we barely know anything for sure about Shakespeare, who many say is one of the greatest playwrights of all time. I found the idea of a peascod belly very funny. I never knew that people tried to show that they were wealthy, even though they may not be, by making their stomach appear fatter. Nowadays, all you see are people trying to get in shape and have a flat stomach or defined abs, which is why the idea of a bigger stomach to make you more appealing is odd to me. Another thing that I found interesting was the fact that color differentiated who was in what class and that it was frowned upon for a person of a high ranking to wear a certain color. Whenever the theater got closed down because a woman was playing a character on stage, I was reminded that that used to be a real thing. We have come a long way today, and the thought of men playing all roles, including those of women is weird. I loved that we were able to see parts of the movie to show just how great the actors portrayed the characters. Overall, this video was great, and it has even given me a greater respect and understanding for Shakespeare.

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  43. Telling the truth, having to watch 45 minute video about Shakespeare didn't put a smile on my face. Maybe I don't have the skill or patience to interpret his poetry into actual meaning and frankly I find the guy a bit overrated. I did, however, see the value of discussing his most famous plays. The video definitely gave us insight on English society by examining how his plays were cast (no females), what kind of people attended the shows, and who opposed the theaters. I found it fascinating that people of all classes (workers to queens) paid to see performances. The fact that we knew very little of Shakespeare was surprisingly unimportant as much of his significance is grounded in his writings and not necessarily himself.

    As a visual learner, I was pleased to see the confusing writing turned into a high budget Hollywood film. Having Ben Affleck teach me about Shakespeare obviously made the material more engaging. I think as Shakespeare plays are adapted to film, a broader amount of people can begin to understand the significance of his work. The emotion in the plays are centuries old, yet, if they are processed to appeal to a broader audience, they can still bring the same feelings of love, tragedy, hate, and suspense for generations to come.

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  44. Not going to lie, the length of this video was a bit intimidating. I thought that this would be a very long and boring video, however it wasn't. This really taught me a lot more about how Shakespeare worked in his plays, or the way that he carried them out. For example, women were never in the plays. If there were roles where a woman was needed, it was actually a man that would play a woman. I also really like the fact that while we know so much about everyone in our society, and there is still so much that we do not know about Shakespeare.

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  45. I found the video to be very intriguing and different than anything I've seen before. We hear so much about Shakespeare, that we tend to forget that he's an actual person. We know so little facts, and I find it impressive how people can connect them to his work. The video was very interesting, it taught me a lot about the man behind all these timeless plays. Its hard to think about Shakespeare and his life, but after this video, I have more of an idea about Shakespeare the person, not the play writer. After this video, I have a deeper appreciation for Shakespeare and his work.

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  46. I thought it was cool how the actors gave the history and their opinions on the play and other details like that. It was almost like a little history lesson. I thought that the guys had nice beards and that they were extremely fine and precise. I have never really had a deep interest in Shakespeare because of the language that they use. I thought that the video was a little interesting but it was just too long to watch again.

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  47. One of the main things that stuck out to me while watching the video was how Shakespeare made his work contemporary (whether he meant to or not). It was mentioned how Shakespeare had such an advanced understanding of individuals and human nature in general especially for his time period. It's fascinating that one can make his plays, that were written hundreds of years ago, applicable in all kinds of societies, cultures, and time periods. One of the actors was able to even relate individual plays directly to different parts of out current society and community.

    I also have never seen the movie Shakespeare in Love, but thought the concept/story line was very interesting. The fact that the movie is about Shakespeare and his lifestyle while writing his very well renowned, Romeo and Juliet, I think, is extremely impressive considering we know hardly anything about him. We don't even know his official birthday; we barely know five simple facts about him (another thing I thought was really interesting) which leaves a lot open to the director of movie and the interpretation of his elaborate plays/writings.

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  48. Shakespeare truly is a fascinating individual. I never heard of the movie "Shakespeare in Love" but the story-line was rather intriguing. I'd probably watch it if given the chance. His works stay amazing, even through the centuries. Interesting video, I enjoyed it very much.

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  49. I have never heard of "Shakespeare in Love" but this video gave me a really good incentive to wanting to watch the movie. I found it interesting that the clothing gave such an importance to the status of the people as well as replacement of the props. Honestly, I never realized that Shakespeare hadn't used props. I would think that the props would have gave a more realistic imagery for the audience. Instead, without these and only defining through clothes the story line was still very interesting from the audiences view.
    I am currently writing an essay on Shakespeare, specifically his play Romeo and Juliet, and I found it interesting that the actors presented their views and history of Shakespeare. It gave me a lot more insight and helped me become more open to other ideas from others which I can integrate into my own ideas.

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  50. I love the overview of this movie. This made me feel connected,drawing me in and making me feel empathy to actually watch the full movie. The design whether it was costumes or the setting of the movie also draws my interests in a way. I cant really describe it but when I was watching the youtube video, (Overiew of the play) time flied by so fast. But, I started to notice little things like its the camera is slowly drawing in closer to the actor. Which broke my train of focus sometimes. Overall I felt like they gave it there all in this play, make the characters relate to them or them being the actors that be actors?

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  51. I found this video incredible insightful as well as engaging. After watching movie adaptations of Shakespeare's plays (10 Things I Hate About You being my favorite) it was nice to see something based more off of the man who wrote them. While not using props seems a little strange in my opinion, I understand the importance of providing a more simplistic scenery. The story should have all the attention rather than what's going on around it.

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  52. First, I want to say that I am completely surprised that I was interested in this video. The reason I put off this blog post was because I honestly thought that it was going to be excruciatingly boring, and I wasn't looking forward to watching a 45 minute video. BUT, with that said, I am glad that I finally did. I was first surprised that Shakespeare in love is actually very modern, but still preform as if it was during the shakespeare era, involving things such as costumes, hair and makeup. I liked hearing the actors and the way that they felt about shakespeare, and I enjoyed the way they told the only 5 facts we actually know about shakespeare! Thats actually crazy, how someone can impact us so much today, that we really know nothing about! There are a few things I heard that really made me think, such as the costumes and how much thought actually went into them. People of certain classes couldn't wear certain colors because it could clash with their class. Also, the way that the actors looked. It was said that those who have rounder stomachs appeal more to the woman because it means that they can afford to eat more, and can provide for someone. This might sound strange, but when a modern face is put to this older language, I find it easier to understand, (weird, I know). Like I had mentioned before, having these modern actors (Ben and Gwyneth) It definitely made it a lot easier for me to feel engaged and actually care about what is going on, I didn't want to take my eyes off of the last seen! It felt so real! I felt as if I was watching it from the audience.

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  53. I wasn't very happy with the idea of watching a 45 minute video about Shakespeare like the rest of the others that were a bit intimidated or irritated with the idea. However, I suppose it was interesting to learn more about Shakespeare and how he lived his life or how people interpreted his life and how it was like. I found it somewhat interesting that they poked at the idea of why his plays were so popular today and it makes me wonder if they'll be popular for more years to come or whether they'll be slowly forgotten. It is interesting to know that his stories and plays continued to stay this popular to this day. Despite how much I'm not very interested in Shakespeare, he does have some magnificient plays that I've seen acted out and enjoyed and it's cool to see more of an insight about his daily life and how it may have been for him at the time.

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  54. I have always loved Shakespeare and Shakespearean language, so I definitely enjoyed watching this video. Learning about William Shakespeare the man himself is very enjoyable to me. He has always been a large inspiration in my life and when I am performing his works on stage are some of the times that I feel truly comfortable. Being able to learn about the man behind the plays is truly empowering and it's something I'm truly interested in. His language is beautifully complex and I think there is always more you can learn about him.

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