UNDERSTANDING SHAKESPEARE DVD
- Code V19
- DVD Video
- Filmed on location in England
- Produced >20 years ago
- Suitable ages 11+
This DVD contains 2 programs
UNDERSTANDING SHAKESPEARE: HIS STAGECRAFT
This program begins by looking at the differences between modern and Elizabethan theatre, primarily in the area of stage design, lighting and sets. The program shows that, for the majority of people in Shakespeare's day, strolling players were as close as they got to a theatre while inhabitants in London had the choice of several purpose-built theatres on the Thames' south bank. It shows how these theatres copied aspects of local inns where the strolling players often performed by having galleries, windows and an inner stage. It also shows how Shakespeare managed to get around the fact that there were no sets or stage lighting in his theatres.
The program then examines the running of an Elizabethan theatre showing the job of the Book Holder, the use of costumes and props and the fact that young men played female roles. It shows how Shakespeare was able to draw every bit of versatility from the Elizabethan theatre and how he used asides and soliloquies for dramatic effect. The program contains many excerpts from Shakespeare's plays to illustrate how the physical nature of the Elizabethan theatre influenced his work.
UNDERSTANDING SHAKESPEARE: HIS SOURCES
This program begins by asking how it was that Shakespeare could write plays that dealt in detail with English folklore, different historical periods and different countries. To explore this question the program first shows his childhood in Stratford on Avon and the influence of the surrounding countryside, his teachers and the yearly visit of strolling players. With his retentive memory he picked up folklore from farm workers, themes and plots from the strolling players and an intimate knowledge of nature from the fields and forests of his native Warwickshire.
The program then shows Shakespeare arriving in London which introduced him to a rich tableau of characters including the inhabitants of London's taverns and sailors from distant lands. Access to the library of the Earl of Southampton allowed Shakespeare to read historical works like those of Plutarch giving him the foundations of his historical themes. It also shows how he borrowed from rival authors, or as in the case of Hamlet, from traditional plays. Contains excerpts from his plays to illustrate these points.
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