A Midsummer Night’s Dream

(PART B OF BRONZE AWARD)

Last year, the GLOBE came to Singapore to preform Midsummer Night’s Dream in the esplanade. My Mum was very excited since the last time we had gone to see the globe, it was very good. I was excited too, of course, but maybe not as ballistic as Mummy was. Mummy bought four tickets because we never know whether Daddy would be in town; sadly he wasn’t able to make it so she asked Aunty Eileen to join us. Aunty Eileen is a good friend of Mum. She said she enjoyed these things, but I think that she either lied or maybe we just heard wrong. The seats we had were… very high up. It made me slightly unsteady if I looked down, although I don’t get vertigo. It was also quite cold but I didn’t mind. The first half of the play was great. I really enjoyed it, it was funny and well-acted in my opinion. The only problem was that we were so high up, we could quite the actor’s faces. I was glad when the lights came back on and we had a fifteen minutes interval. We walked around a bit and found out that some of our friends were there. It was a lovely surprise! Aunty Eileen though didn’t seem to be enjoying herself. She was frowning, confused and flustered. She said that she couldn’t understand what was said and decided to leave. It was childish and immature but I think it was best.

In Worcester a few months before we went to see the play in the esplanade, we saw the same play in the Commandary in Worcester. I found that it was much more confusing watching it there. For some reason it wasn’t as easy to watch as it was in the esplanade. My mum said it got boring and the people behind us started talking. I found it was not as good as in the esplanade but we had a much better view and it was also much warmer. The costumes in the esplanade were definitely better than in the Commandary but the globe had more money to use, obviously.

When I acted in midsummer night’s dream I really enjoyed it. It was fun to act as Demetrius, Titania and Hippolyta. However, the play was only 20 minutes long because we skipped the play within the play. I still think it was alright though. My brother told me afterwards that it was hilarious which it was meant to be.

The play I think is very amusing, comical and definitely entertaining but it’s not my favourite. I much prefer Julius Caesar or Romeo and Juliet. I actually find it hard to watch the play within the play because I find it very boring and embarrassing to watch. I like the romance story and the magic but everything else was I find was rather dreary. Midsummer night’s dream is definitely another brilliant play by Shakespeare but it is not, I find, one of his best.

E-TICKET for A Mid Summer Night's Dream

E-TICKET for A Mid Summer Night’s Dream

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Julius Caesar and the Globe

(Part B of Bronze Award)

During the summer of the past year my family and I went watch the political play, Julius Caesar. I can still remember the horror of it all, the blood, the violence and the torture of having to stand in the sun for three hours! Oh the pain!

Shakespeares-Globe-Theatre

It was worth it though. Julius Caesar was an excellent play about power, ambition and assassination; it was exceptional. We went to watch it in the GLOBE and I think really if you want to get the best of Shakespeare you have to watch it there. Being there and watching the play really gives you a sense of what it was like back in Shakespeare’s day. What also made it interesting was how the players actually acted all around you and since I was part of the yard I got the best of it. During the scene changes, the actors might carry the props off stage and through the yard area to the backstage. In more than one scene, actors would be around you in the crowd and shouting up at the stage. At one point, we, the audiences were shouted at to make way for the Roman senate to go past. It was truly tremendous.

While during intermission, my younger brother took the opportunity to move forward toward the stage. When the play came back on, they had a scene where a poet’s testicles were ripped by the angry mob. It was so real that my brother was shocked and he ran back to my mum. His astonished face was priceless.

copyright of The Telegraph

copyright of The Telegraph

Julius Caesar was about the power of struggle of Julius Caesar, his assassination and the turmoil that came after. Shakespeare must have adopted the play based on historical fact that he have studied in school. I was told that the Elizabethan crowd loved these bloody play. The audience in most play would actually participate in the play by booing, cheering and even throwing rotten fruits on stage. One can imagine how much more entertaining it would be in those days.

I didn’t read about the play when I went to watch it, I only had a vague idea about what the play was about. Unlike my dad who had studied it at school I was clueless on what was going to happen. However it was clear, not hard to understand, and I am very glad that I have studied the language Shakespeare used otherwise I think I would have been a little bit befuddled.

(Unfortunately, I lost our GBP5 standing tickets which we bought on a standby because we just turned up without making a reservation.)

Anne Frank

(Part A of Bronze award)

I never really thought much of Anne Frank, I just thought that what happened to her and all Jews was sad and hopefully will never happen again. Now that view has changed. I no longer feel that she was a whiny 13 year old.

Around about six months ago I was told that I was going to be acting in Anne Frank with my acting class. I was disappointed. The week later I was told that I was going to play Mr Van Dan and I was absolutely flabbergasted. I was going to act as a man, again! After I got over the initial shock I started to (although a little reluctantly) learn my line. I had a decent amount, not too many but still not too little.

Every Saturday morning I would walk down to my acting school for class. For the first few months all we really did was blocking. It wasn’t bad, actually it was fun. In the play there were many comical scenes that made us laugh silly and I got along with all the actors in the class. The only problem was that I could not grip my character. As hard as I tried I could not, at all, quite understand Mr Van Dan.

As the weeks past I started to develop a friendship between my class mates and the play was progressing well. I had memorized all my lines and all I had to do now was really try to develop my acting. It had always been fun to go to class, but now it was becoming more and more enjoyable by the week. I looked forward to it.

As the date for the production got closer I started to worry. I still had trouble acting as Mr Van Dan. Not only that but I had trouble with the laugh. I wasn’t able to force a laugh properly. This I think has to do with when I laugh, I chuckle silently. This really started to bother me and it was only around about the 2 days before the play did I actually hit a break through. I suddenly understood why Mr Van Dan did things. He was a family man, he loved his family. He loved his food and he was trying to keep the peace. The jokes and the cards games was because he was trying to constantly break the tension. What really helped when it came to lines I had difficulty with was imagining my teacher say it and trying to replicate that. In the end it worked and the play went really well and all my friends did an amazing job. It was really a great experience and I really enjoyed it. I learnt lots and I’m really glad I got a character I had difficulty acting as.

I reread the book, Diary of Ann Frank, recently and its alright actually. When I was nine, my mum convinced me to read Anne’s dairy. I got rather excited but was really disappointed. It was rather… boring. I disliked it, it was all just whining and complaining to me. Now i decided to try again after 6 months of acting as Mr Van Dan. The book was very different this time, instead of complaining, it was more like drama. I laughed a lot and as it progressed it became more and more solemn. Really I can only say that you should read a dairy of someone of a similar age to yours. If the person is much older it may be hard to understand, but if the person is much younger it may be boring. I found out that Anne was “bisexual”. She spoke about being attracted to female bodies and kissing the same sex. Although we are of the same age, these thoughts are peculiar to me and has never crossed my mind. It is good to read Anne Frank’s dairy if you are 12-16 years of age.

1000 words on confusion about William Shakespeare

(Part C of Bronze Award)

Why do people fear Shakespeare? To be honest from my point of view I think that it’s silly to be scared William Shakespeare’s writing, but I once actually feared it too.

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When I was younger I used to hate it when I had to study him. I didn’t see why people forced children to look at gibberish (Shakespearean) and understand it; was there a point to it? Did they think it would help this generation? Now we have computers and the internet why did we have to be taught how to understand it when we could just search it up?

I was really too naive at the time to understand the beauty in words; how people could shape and mold letters into stories that can break our hearts. I was lazy too. I’m not the most hardworking of people and anything that took effort I was really not bothered with.

I think it was really when I started acting did I actually start to adore and comprehend the depth and meaning of his plays. I remember that my first audition, I did a piece from Shakespeare (Richard 3rd) and I really liked it. His writing literally teaches us how we feel, how we act, how we think; and when you read it you can see how much thought he put into his characters. How much detail he puts into illustrating the emotions of the individual. How hard he works to make us understand. We cannot just dismiss his works as classics. We must appreciate them for what they are. It’s not easy to write like how Shakespeare does and furthermore he didn’t even go to university!

It is sad that most of his storyline weren’t his original creation. Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth etc. were all plays that he wrote based on tales and chronicles. Romeo and Juliet was a direct adaptation from this poem called The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet, by Arthur Brooke, written in 1562. Macbeth was based of Holinshed’s Chronicles (Macbeth). However, it is Shakespeare who passed these forgotten art and story of age to us, breaking the boundary of time.

I know that his language is hard to fathom but you must be patient when it comes to learning. It is do-able but you just need that little bit of determination. There was once when we went to watch Mid-summers Dream in the Esplanade along with a friend. While we were watching it, she was scowling the whole time! During the interval she was complaining that she couldn’t understand it and that she didn’t enjoy it. So she left. However, I on the other hand, had a very pleasant time. There are a few things you HAVE to do to enjoy Shakespeare’s plays:

  1. Try to study the play beforehand, especially if you find the language hard. This is almost essential, unlike most, these plays are in Shakespearean so without understanding the plot and the language you have little hope of enjoying it. The least you should read the synopsis. Try reading the play out loud will help you to understand the language better.
  2. Make sure you actually like the play. Don’t go to watch a play that you don’t appreciate. If you’re more into death, despair and anger, see Hamlet not the Merry Wives of Windsor. If you like happy endings, despise sadness don’t bother to see Romeo and Juliet, watch Midsummer Night’s Dream instead. If you don’t like the plot when you study it then don’t go see it, it will leave a bad impression on you and you wouldn’t want to go watch another Shakespeare’s play. Begin with a story you like.
  3. Different productions will look and feel different. You might enjoy Macbeth when you first see it in the Globe in London but think it was rubbish when it is made into a movie. Every play is different even if it has the same story. The actors will interpret it differently and there will be different props and stage. For a beginner in Shakespeare, I suggest going to a modernized version of the play. One can relate better to a familiar staging. However, I must say that watching Shakespeare at The Globe is still one of my best experience.
  4. If you have no chance to go to the Globe, try to sit as close as possible to the stage. In Tudor time, play were written like Pantomime where audiences were part of the play. Sitting closer to the stage will allow you to feel what Shakespeare had intended for you to feel.
  5. This may be the last but not the least, if you can try, act out the play. Shakespeare wrote plays not novels. Many emotions are clearer when it is acted out. The very first Shakespeare I did was Richard III. We learn the history of the story and wrote a character summery for the main roles. Finally, we acted out our synopsis through each character.  It was fun!

quilhand

There is a theory that maybe Shakespeare was not the real playwright. There were many people who were suspected to have written ‘Shakespeare’s’ plays, including Lord Francis Bacon , the Earl of Essex, Christopher Marlowe, the Earl of Derby, the Earl of Rutland, the Earl of Oxford, and even Queen Elizabeth I herself. Supporters to the idea that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays claimed that first and foremost, he was not as educated as his fellow playwrights. He came from a middle class, trader family. His plays consists of many reference to the upper class.  I like to think that Shakespeare did attend a Grammar School and though he did not go to a University, it does not prove that he could not write like his peer. His short job experience at a notary would have given him many opportunity to understand the law and upper class systems. Furthermore many plays were actually co-written so it wasn’t all Shakespeare’s individual creativity.

Shakespeare was well known as a playwright but he was also an actor and a successful businessman. William Shakespeare had to leave education early in his youth because his father had failed in his financial affair. He went to London and started out as an actor. This allowed him to build a fantastic relationship and understanding with the actors. When he writes, he wrote each part for a specific actor, bringing out their acting personality and ability. In time, as theatre become more permanent structure, he invested and became one of the theatre owners.

I believed that it is because he was a successful man that he became so well known. There were many famous playwrights during his time such as Christoper Marlowe. However, one can imagine Shakespeare’s success as a person has many reasons for him to become an inspiration to others. One of the main reason for his popularity even until today could all come down to the hard work of famous English actor, producer and theatre manager, David Garrick. We could say that he was the BIGGEST fan of Shakespeare. He staged the Shakespeare Jubilee in Stratford upon Avon in 1769 which cement Shakespeare as England’s national poet.

Garrick-as-Richard-III

David Garrick as Richard III

My family and I went to Stratford Upon Avon in July 2014 to visit Shakespeare’ birthplace. So what is so great about William Shakespeare? Shakespeare was born in the time when England was emerging from its dark age. His success as a person is an inspiration to many. His plays still struck a core in our heart. His contribution to the English language remain important till today. I cannot end this better than quoting Shakespeare.

Learning about Shakespeare in Stratford Upon Avon, July-August 2014

Learning about Shakespeare in Stratford Upon Avon, July-August 2014

“Love Me or Hate Me, both are in my favor…If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart. If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind.”

To find out more Shakespeare’s biography please visit these websites:

http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/shakespeareparents.html

http://www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakespeare-biography-brothers-and-sisters.htm

To learn more about David Garrick, please visit these websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Garrick#An_easy.2C_natural_manner

Book review – Insurgent

(Part C of Bronze Award)

Title: Insurgent

Author: Veronica Roth

Date: 26/8/14

Pages: 525

3.5/5

Review: The fractions are falling, people are dying and the world is deteriorating. Tris is in the midst of this chaos, trying to fight and survive for what is right. With all her family dead except her brother, Caleb who has turned traitor, Tobias is the only one she has left but she has to go against his side and lose his trust to uncover the truth of what lies behind the fence.

This was a very good book. It is action packed and full of thrills and surprises. Tris is racked with Grief and regret. It almost destroys her. But her bravery is within her all the way until the last page. She is a truly amazing person. I’m glad that this book was not as confusing as Divergent. I found that the last book had sentences structured in a way that made it hard to get its meaning but this book does not have any of those so it easier to read. It is definitely well written.

The cover is a really nice one. It has a girl standing on a ledge look at a stream and mountains. The most obvious thing about the cover is the three burning leaves next to the girl. I really like the title. It is golden surrounded with a set of purple wings, it’s simple but nice. I also like how the cover is purple, everything from the stream to the sky has this purple tinge to it. Even the burning leaves are kind of purple.

insurgent1

There is a part of the book where she turns herself in to Erudite so to save other people from dying. And she has to be examined and tested so they could find a simulation that works on the Divergent but when they fail, her execution is advanced to the next day but she is saved by Peter which was a surprise since he tried to kill her once. It shows that you never know who will help you, it could be your worst enemy.

I thought this was an awesome book and I really enjoyed readying it. It was exciting, action pact, slightly psychopathic and anything but dull. I really think it is good and should be read by everybody.

Fighting for survival in a shattered world, the truth is her only hope.

Book Review : The Witch of Salt & Storm

(Part C of Bronze Award)

Title: The Witch of Salt & Storm

Author: Kendall Kulper

Pages: 373

Date: 10.02.15

4/5 stars

Review:

All Avery wants is to become a roe witch and make charms to keep the sailors safe at sea; but her mother despises the very thing that makes them different, special. When she was twelve years of age, her mother dragged her away from her grandmother’s before she can unlock the magic within her. She hates her mother for doing so. That was four years ago and now she is even more desperate than ever because you cannot kill a roe witch; and Avery has foreseen her own murder.

This really was a very heart-warming tale capturing not only the desperation of a girl trying to become what she is expected of but also the agony of heartbreak. Even before she dreams of her murder she was already at the end of her tether to become a witch, the dream just made her even more frantic and got her to spin into action. It was also interesting to see as you read this girl turning from a grumpy sixteen year old with no freedom, into an independent, deeply in love woman.

The cover really suits the book. It has a silhouette of a girl being weighed down by an anchor. It summarizes the feeling of the book. The anchor representing the sea, her magic, Prince Island and other things in the book. It’s quite simple and basic but that in this case is a good thing.

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My favourite characters are Avery and Tane. At first I didn’t think much of Tane, just an ordinary sailor with tattoos. I actually kind of disliked him! But I think as the story progressed I started to fall in love with him and in the end I was silently dying inside. It didn’t affect me at first but it started to dawn on me and I kind of got obsessed with it. My favourite part I think was really the first time he tells Avery his dream. That first dream was amazing.

Kendall is a great writer and told an absolutely fantastic story filled with a painful magic that controls the sea. I would definitely buy the next book and go through the storm of emotions all over again. It is truly a heart-warming and heart wrenching tale.

This book was sent to me by Hachette Children’s Book.

Book Review – Purple Hibiscus

(Part C of Bronze Award)

Title: Purple Hibiscus

Author: Chimamanada Ngozi Adichie

Pages: 307

Date: 5/1/2015

Rating – 4.5 (out of 5)

 

Kambili’s father rules over her family with an iron fist; punishing any of them, including his wife, violently if any sin was committed. Her life is like a large schedule, asking the same questions, doing the same things all day every day, but this all changes when she stays at her auntie’s house for a week. There she discovers the freedom of laughter and love and slowly but surely she becomes a happier person.

This was a lovely book to read. It is very well written and the author really goes into detail when she describes the life style of Kambili. It takes me right into the life of a Catholic and was a real eye opener. I was almost in tears when I was reading one of the punishments, it was just so vivid and terrible. I laughed and smiled when she did and I enjoyed this tale thoroughly.

The cover is nice. It’s very simple but also goes with the book. There is half a girl’s face, cutting of just above the mouth at the top. And at the bottom of the cover there is a pink hibiscus. The title is placed just above the middle of the page and it is in pink, the same pink as the hibiscus. I like it because it’s not distracting and really suits the story.

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Kambili has a very quiet personality at the beginning of the book. She stutters and spends a lot of her time trying to make her father proud. At first she was quite frightened to go to her auntie’s house because it is different with what she is used to. After a while though she opens up and becomes really happy, not scared to smile and laugh and be free.

This was an extremely heart-warming book and although it did make me cry, I loved reading every bit of it. One thing it does do is leave you with a question, why? Why did her mother do what she did? Although after it all life didn’t go as perfect as it seem it would, it still had a happy ending.

The girl who discovered happiness with the purple hibiscuses.