Write on each of the five prompts below, a total of 2,000 words, approximately 7 double-spaced pages (see word count for each). The organizational (or architectural) design of a long paper on one topic is far more daunting. This project is a chance for you to demonstrate your ideas and knowledge of all the plays and watching all the films. For all questions, be sure to reference both the plays and the films, and weave in some comment about the adaptations as you explore the issues below.
Number Each passage.
Your Works Cited page should show three to five (better) secondary sources, not all on the same question, excluding Wikipedia and other non-peer reviewed articles. See info below re JSTOR, etc.
1. Approximately 1,000 Words maximum:
Looking at the four plays below, explore the complexities and ambiguities of the principal romantic relationships. Which plays feel the most authentic compared to human behavior you have observed? Which plays dramatize individual stories while also revealing universal truths about relationships and aspects of the human condition, including fidelity, the attenuation of love, or the power of denial? You may choose your own angles as you consider common love/relationship threads in these plays.
Betrayal. Harold Pinter.
Film: David Jones, 1983
Streetcar Named Desire. Tennessee Williams.
Film: Elia Kazan, 1951
M Butterfly. David Henry Hwang
Film: David Cronenberg, 1993
Death and the Maiden. Ariel Dorfman.
Film: Roman Polanski, 1994
2. 500 Words minimum:
Compare and Contrast the following plays and films. If you agree that the Albee play is greater, what makes it a better? Also consider the cinematic aspects of both films. How innovative is each director? What happens in each of the three Acts in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Not just plot, but what happens emotionally, physically, psychologically, and musically, i.e., the rhythm of the drama?) What makes this play more than just a transcription of a late-night party? Albee talks about “conducting” this play. Ask similar questions of Carnage (play and film).
The God of Carnage. Yasmina Reza.
Film: Carnage. Roman Polanski, 2011
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Edward Albee.
Film: Mike Nichols, 1966
3. 500 Words minimum:
Which of the two film adaptations of Shakespeare is, in your opinion, the more successful? Point to several directorial decisions by Whedon and Taymor. Consider the use of B&W in one, the CGI in another. Explore issues of aesthetics: what kind of beauty are these directors shooting for? When and how do they reach it? Do not forget to quote some (not too many) of Shakespeare’s lines, and discuss how the actors succeed or fail in giving them voice.
Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare
Film: Joss Whedon, 2012
The Tempest. Shakespeare
Film: Julie Taymor, 2010