B. Text to Film Comparison (22 minutes)
- Invite students to turn and talk:
* “Should a director have the freedom to change a book or play when making a movie out of it? Why or why not?”
- Cold call a few students to share what they discussed with their partners.
- Explain that students will now view the film version of the same scene they have just read. The film will not only advance their understanding of the scene, but it will give them insight into how a director and actors interpret writing to create a visual representation of a story. Tell students they will use a note-catcher to track and evaluate the similarities and differences between the film and the play.
- Distribute the Text to Film Comparison note-catcher and display a copy using the document camera. Remind students that the first learning target was about comparing and contrasting the text with the film.
- Tell students that before they watch the film segment or work with this new note-catcher, you will orient them to the columns of the note-catcher. Focus the class on the second column and cold call a student to read the questions in that column aloud:
* “What is the same? How does the film version stay faithful to the novel?”
- Ask students to think and then talk with a partner:
* “What do you think ‘stay faithful’ means?”
- Cold call a student to respond. Students may connect staying faithful to their religious faith or remaining faithful to a friend. Clarify as needed: Be sure they understand that in this context, to stay faithful means to stay the same, to stick to the original.
- Focus students on the third column and call on a volunteer to read the questions in that column aloud:
* “What is different? How does the film version depart from the novel?”
* “What do you think ‘depart’ means?”
- Call on a student volunteer to explain that to depart means to change or go away from.
- Read the question in the last column:
* “Evaluation: Do the choices of the director or actors effectively convey the central message of the text? Why or why not?”
- Clarify that the central message of the text is the same as the theme. In this case, the concept of control is part of the central message of the scene. Remind students that Peter Quince’s and Bottom’s attempts to control the scene, as well as the production of Pyramus and Thisbe, is the central message of this scene.
- Remind students that when we read, we often get an idea in our minds of what characters look like or how they are supposed to act. We imagine scenes and settings. Directors, actors, and even the screenwriter make decisions about how a play or story is going to be portrayed onscreen, including changing things dramatically on occasion. The director also uses music, lighting and camera angles to tell the story. After identifying what is the same and different, students will have to determine if the film stays true to the central message of the scene and evaluate the choices of the director or actors in conveying the scene.
- Invite students to be seated with their Syracuse Discussion Appointment partners before viewing the film.
- Show the film, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (beginning at 15:05 until 22:31). Note that the dialogue from Act 1, Scene 2, lines 1–107, begins at 15:54. Before then, the film provides a brief introduction to Bottom before he meets with the other workmen.
- Refer to the Text to Film Comparison note-catcher (for teacher reference) as needed to see possible student responses and to help guide them through the organizer.
- Have students jot down their answers in the first two columns of the note-catcher. Invite them to turn and talk with their Discussion Appointment partner as they work. Then cold call students to share details. On the displayed note-catcher, model adding these notes on the “same” column. Details include: characters, almost all lines, and the comedy/characterization of Bottom as the “fool.”
- Call on students for details to add to the “different” column on the teacher model. Details include: the introduction scene in which Bottom flirts with the women and hides from his wife; lines eliminated from the end of the scene, around line 85; and the final scene at Bottom’s house.
- Tell students that before they finish the note-catcher, they will watch the film clip again, focusing on music, lighting, and the actors’ choices. Explain the actor’s choices can include how he delivers the lines, his tone, his gestures, and his facial expressions. Reinforce that the choices of the actor can make or break whether or not the film stays faithful to the original play. Students will evaluate the choices made by the director or actors and the impact those choices have on the scene.
- Tell students that in this scene, the director has chosen to play an Italian operatic song called a “Brindisi,” a type of song that encourages listeners to drink wine and be joyful. Ask:
* “Why might a director want to use this type of song for this particular part of the movie?”
- Cold call students to answer and listen for them to say that it shows how the workmen provide the comedy in the play, especially in this scene. Some may also say that the song signifies a lighter or happier mood, since the previous scene was more serious.
- Ask students to pay special attention to the music as they watch the scene again, especially toward the end of the scene, when Bottom returns home.
- Invite them to consider the lighting and shadows of the scene as well, which also change when Bottom returns home. Ask:
* “What are some words we could use to describe the lighting in a particular scene?”
- Cold call one or two students to answer the question. Words could be: “bright,” “soft,” “dark,” “shadowed,” etc.
- Show the same film clip again. Invite students to respond to the final question on their note-catcher. Then have them share with their partner.
* “Do the choices the director made effectively convey the central message of the text? Why or why not?”
- Remind students that as they fill out this section of the note-catcher, they should think about whether the director’s portrayal of Bottom and his desire to control the scene are faithful to Shakespeare’s original text.
- Circulate around the room and probe with individuals or pairs to be sure they are actually evaluating. Probing questions might include:
* “What does the audience get out of the additional scenes the director chooses to add?”
* “Does the scene depart so much from the play that it changes the message?”
* “Why do you think the director decided to cut those particular lines?”
* “How does the scene in the film help you better understand Bottom?”
* “How would you describe the music/lighting at the end of the scene, when Bottom is at home?”
* “I noticed Bottom and his wife don’t talk to each other during the final scene at their home. What do you think that means?”