1. GENERAL HEADING: Video and Film Analysis
2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Closure and Endings in Shakespearean Comedy"
3. GOALS: To examine various stagings of comic conclusions, and to interrogate the relationships between humor and seriousness, and between comic form and content.
4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Any number of students.
5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: VCR; videotapes and scripts of scenes. (Alan Dessen used three versions of the last scene of Twelfth Night: the BBC video, Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company video, and a third production, taped off the air, featuring Alec Guiness as Malvolio.)
6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 45 - 90 minutes.
7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: The final scenes of several productions of the same play. Discuss the differences in staging; discuss the implications they have for the meanings of the productions.
8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION:
- Elements of theatrical meaning: design, costume, spatial relationships, props, casting, rhythm, light, sound, pace, movement;
- Elements of video: camera angles, close-ups, cuts, selection of image;
- Comic form and rhythm: theories of comedy;
- Styles of comedy;
- Malvolio as victim or scapegoat;
- Romantic expectations for comic conclusions.
9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Prof. Alan Dessen, University of North Carolina.
10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.
11. VARIATIONS: Much Ado About Nothing: contrasting stagings of
Benedick's challenge to Claudio; the exaggeratedly idyllic ending of the
recent Branagh film, with festival, dance, and cinematic arabesques.