Film: Oedipus the King by Sophocles
The intent of the author in the play is to reveal how human beings are victims of divine powers. King Oedipus is a victim of workings of fate and has no control over it. A deadly plague strikes the ancient city of Thebes, one which is also not the doing of the city dwellers, but works of gods. When Creon comes with a report from the oracle at Delphi on the relation between the plague and murder of the previous king, a search for murderer begins. Little known to King Oedipus, he is the murderer. And it was all planned, such that he could not evade it. The oracle warned King Laius that he would be killed by his own son. The fate was sealed. King Laius’ attempt to kill his son was futile. Instead, after being resqued a young Oedipus would indeed kill his father.
The intent of the director was to fully embrace the Ancient Greek origin and culture to come out with a play of astonishing dramatic power. The performance was typical of the ancient Greek theatre tradition in terms of both costume and style. The cast wore masks, making them scarcely recognizable as human beings, but rather scary. Perhaps this was meant to imply that the play was a rather ritual affair. Voice acting was skilfully done to maintain the tense mood in the whole performance. Consequently, the actors employed body posture in coordination with tone variation as a way of communication. The entire play was performed within a small space.
Guthrie’s choice of costume and style can be interpreted as a mockery towards the author’s belief that divine powers determine our destinies. He portrays from the outset, how the Theban king crafted his own downfall. Actually, it is evident from his portrayal of the play that what is presumed to be the workings of fate, is actually the king’s own workings. The protagonists appear to be sinister in the start of the play but at the end, forge a forgiving and regrettable tone. Thus the saying, Tell a man his future and naturally, by doing everything to avoid the outcome, he will end up making the prophesy a reality.
My response to the play and its relevance in the 21st century.
The performance was interesting but scary at first. Certainly, actors need not to have their faces visible so as to come up with a great performance. The director skilfully blended style with costume to make the play more captivating.
The play remains to be a relevant work of literature as it tries to address the question whether human beings have free will or are bound to already written destinies. Having been written almost two and a half millennia ago, it is striking that the play is still relevant in the 21st century where people still debate on whether they have control over their own destinies. While some believe that the occurrences of tomorrow are a result of the choices made today, others are of the view that our lives and destinies are predetermined and were known even before we were born.
Film: Amahl and the Night Visitors
The author’s intent is to portray how religious belief can be a source of hope for a hapless society. He shows how an unfortunate family finds happiness through divine assistance. Amahl’s family is concerned with their lack of means to support themselves. Amahl’s mother is portrayed to be worrying and caring in the situation. She worries about her son’s future and even prays to God that he does not end up in a life of begging before retiring to bed. However, luck immediately comes knocking. The family is visited by three luxurious appointed kings who bring with them lots of gifts. While the kings stay for the rest of the night, Amahl’s mother is disturbed by the thought of having a better future for her son. So she decides to sneak down the kings’ unattended treasure boxes to steal a few gold coins for her and her son. Unfortunate for her, the King’s page wakes up to find her red handed. He confronts Amahl’s mother so that the commotion wakes up the kings. King Melchior eases the situation by allowing Amahl and his mother to keep the stolen gold. Additionally, Amahl’s legs are miraculously healed for offering to give his clutch to the Christ Child.
Gian Carlo Menotti Intent is to bring out the ideal performance of the play. The entire play is composed in opera form and is one act long. The actors maintain a musical tone and blend it with intonation to bring out the ideal situation. For instance, Amahl’s surprise tone when calling “Mother” is loud and sharp while he uses a round and soft tone when comforting her mother when she worries about his future. The musical tone is used to the entirety of the performance. A young Amahl also plays the shepherd’s harp as his mother calls from inside just to maintain the musical tone.
The director’s choice of location, attire and costumes was to conform to Italian culture since the play is based on Italian folk tales of the nativity and epiphany. Especially the kings who were dressed in attires of royalty and carried with them royal items including treasure boxes.
My response to the play and its relevance in the 21st century.
The play just like any other opera play, is interesting and unique. I actually enjoyed listening to the musical performance. However, just like the director stated at the beginning of the play, some people would critic such a play. Coming in terms with a musical performance may be monotonous to some people, who prefer people talking in their normal ways.
The play is relevant in the 21st century where people in the society believe in divine powers to help them through their sufferings and ailments. Just like Amahl’s situation, most religions believe in a supernatural human who is capable of delivering them from poverty and ailments. The relevance is also evident in terms of status quo created by the society. While there is the upper class which rides in wealth and wealthy treasures, there is a class of peasants which does not know what the future holds for them. As a result of this status quo, the poor opt to steal from the rich so as to have something for them and their families.
Film: Tartuffe (1983)
Director: Christopher Nolan
In this play Nigel Hawthorne acts as Orgon, the inforbearant father held two times by Tartuffe the imposter. Steadman Alison acts as Elmire, his female spouse and cleverer whose knickers the principal wanted to acquire. Even if she attempts, Elmire could not closely move away or anger Orgons classical genuflexions for Tartuffe
Talbot Ian and Lesley SharpValere respectively, were at times in love and at other times not together; as well as Stephanie Fayerman who acts as the maid of the family and who surprisingly acts the part very well. A lady, by her low birth as well as dishonorable breeding, frequently in a bad way makes her way into almost all interactions ,which as constant as her interruptions are not in relation to father Orgon. And also there is a principal; the male to which this act provides a title: her Antony: the imposter. The highly intelligent sir Sher Antony is more brilliant just like before .Sher is with no doubt a Tartuffe that would get find love together with Moliere himself. He is at all times the well-played brilliant Tartuffe; the always well played evil and dissembling Tartuffe. He is the Tartuffe desperately stimulated by Elmires abundant merits. Fixing his eyes and other different kinds of bits upon the wife of Orgon, Tartuffe salaries all acquired currency and faith from the entire family for a little less universal inclination with regards to Elmire
Orgon is a male human of property deceived by false thoughts of the poor Tartuffe. Orgon accommodates him in his house, with a belief that he is a paragon of efficacy. Orgon commands his daughter to break up with her husband to be and get married to Tartuffe. At first the servant of the family who is called Dorine tries a plan to break the marriage; then the son of Orgon attempts. This makes Orgon very angry and in order to demonstrate paternal power, he excludes his son from inheritance and makes his heir to be Tartuffe. Then the wife of Orgon attempts to give her spouse insight, a strategy that does not succeed. With the presence of the overseer at the entrance commanding Orgon to leave his private home and the presence of Tartuffe in the court of law to establish Orgon as a traitor, there seems to be no hope. It is both a brilliant platy and a funny play which is interpreted very well by the company of the Royal Shakespeare. Since comedy at most times is the voice that the brilliant mind is in consideration, therefore in this case Antony Sher is viewed as the voice while Moliiere his muse. To sum this up, this is a very clear creation of humor.
Film: Hamlet (1991)
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Hamlet together with Gibson Mel is strong and physical as well as upbeat. We understand that there was nothing essentially askew with Hamlet up to the time everything in his life went the wrong way, when his father passed on and his mother dot married to his blood uncle very fast. This is the same prince who was of good health and contented and would have lived longer if life had been different. A part of that way could originate from Zeffirelli. The same approach also could originate from Gibson, the best humored of the contemporaneous stars, whose main style is to deviate a serious issue to a joke, and who does easily deviate into pity as well as morose sadism. He provides us with a Hamlet who soldiers on up to the time he is overpowered by sheer turn of events.
Zeffirelli directs his film in a magnificent place. A castle in a land that stands out in the North of Scotland, established above a rock almost engulfed by the sea. There is presence of mud together with mist and rain, and the actors at times looked as if they were being pulled down by the heavy weight of the dresses castle sets his film in a spectacular location – a castle on an outcropping of the stark coast in northern Scotland, perched on top of a rock nearly surrounded by the sea. There is mud here, and rain and mist, and the characters sometimes seemed dragged down by the sheer weight of their clothing.
Just at the outset, Zeffirelli together with his Collaborator on the script who is called Christopher De Vore, accept a liberty with Hamlet by way of swapping some agreement and placing in some words to make a scene which was not there in the original play: period when the father of Hamlet together with Claudius and Gertrude challenging each other in the coffin.
In terms of plays, this particular scene creates a major problem of Hamlet very understandable, and in a way fortifies everything else that follows. It creates not only sadness to Hamlet but also the strong attraction between his real uncle and his mother, which is viewed to be at the very least sexual just as it is political. The major contribution of Zeffirelli in making the play popular has been to clarify to the audience why the events were coming up as they were. This “Hamlet” at last depends on the performance of Mel Gibson and it will somehow surprise a few viewers. He hasn’t been overwhelmed by Shakespeare, neither has he been trapped into taking the role seriously and lugubriously. He has looked at the young male of the scenes in the early stages and began his performance from that point instead of allowing each minor distinction be a presage of what to come next. It is a powerful, clever performance, full of life and therefore leads this to an unexpected strong ‘Hamlet’.