“Beating up” dramaChunking Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” for meaning
Beating up drama• “[Beats are] Changes within the scene, signaling that some kind of transaction has been completed and a new one is starting--for example, a topic of conversation is changing; another attack is being tried; a new person is changing the direction of the conversation; or a new objective is being pursued.” -- Robert Barton, Acting: Onstage and Off (pg. 14)• Simply put, a beat is a meaningful chunk of a scene. Beats change when a big change takes place in the scene
First step• The first step to ‘beating up’ a scene is to find and name each beat.• Look for changes that shift the whole scene … – a topic of conversation changes – a new person changes the direction of the conversation – a new objective is pursued – a new character enters – a character’s emotional state changes (i.e. calm to very angry) – a shift in power occurs between two characters – a character finally gets what he/she wants – a character IS NOT getting what he/she wants and attempts a new approach
Example | Beat 1: Preparing for the Guests Act 1, Scene 5 | A hall in Capulet’s house[Musicians waiting. Enter Servingmen with napkins] First Servant: Where’s Potpan, that he helps not to take away? He shift a trencher? he scrape a trencher! Second Servant: When good manners shall lie all in one or two men’s hands, and they unwashed too, ’tis a foul thing. First Servant: Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look to the plate. Good thou, save me a piece of marchpane; and, as thou lovest me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell. Antony, and Potpan! Second Servant: Ay, boy, ready. First Servant: You are looked for and called for, asked for and sought for, in the great chamber. Second Servant: We cannot be here and there too. Cheerly, boys; be brisk awhile, and the longer liver take all.[Enter CAPULET, with JULIET and others of his house, meeting the Guests andMaskers] Why do these lines make up one beat? What change will introduce the next beat?
Example | Beat 2: Let’s Party!CAPULET•Welcome, gentlemen! ladies that have their toesUnplagued with corns will have a bout with you. Why do these lines make upAh ha, my mistresses! which of you allWill now deny to dance? she that makes dainty,She, I’ll swear, hath corns; am I come near ye now? the second beat? WhatWelcome, gentlemen! I have seen the dayThat I have worn a visor, and could tellA whispering tale in a fair lady’s ear, change will introduce theSuch as would please: ’tis gone, ’tis gone, ’tis gone:You are welcome, gentlemen! Come, musicians, play.A hall, a hall! give room! and foot it, girls. next beat?[Music plays, and they dance]•More light, you knaves; and turn the tables up,And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot.Ah, sirrah, this unlook’d-for sport comes well.Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet; How does the name of theFor you and I are past our dancing days:How long is’t now since last yourself and I beat help you to determineWere in a mask?Second Capulet•By’r lady, thirty years. its job?CAPULET•What, man! ’tis not so much, ’tis not so much:’Tis since the nuptials of Lucentio,Come Pentecost as quickly as it will,Some five and twenty years; and then we mask’d.Second Capulet•’Tis more, ’tis more, his son is elder, sir;His son is thirty.CAPULET•Will you tell me that?His son was but a ward two years ago.
Example | Beat 3: EnchantmentROMEO•[To a Servingman] What lady is that, which doth Why do these lines makeenrich the handOf yonder knight? up the third beat?Servant•I know not, sir.ROMEO How does the name of•O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night the beat help you toLike a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear;Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! determine its job?So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.TYBALT•This, by his voice, should be a Montague.Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slaveCome hither, cover’d with an antic face …
Second step• The second step for each beat is to identify character objectives• State each character’s objective(s) using this model: character wants to strong verb + receiver + desired response. Character Objective/Verb Receiver Desired responseLord Capulet wants to convince Paris to woo other girlsTybalt wants to defend Capulet family honor other girls rivalBenvolio wants to show Romeo RosalineMercutio wants to enjoy friendly company
Who cares?• Beats help readers think about chunks of a scene. Use additional reading strategies in one beat to make meaning from what you read. – Identify and define key words: identify and define the key words found in one beat – Visualize: picture yourself as the director of the play. What would your actors need to do to show each beat? How would you use lighting, movement, volume, or set changes to move between beats? – Shrink a beat: clarify main ideas and details; summarize the meaning of a beat in ten words or less
Watch• Watch one interpretation of II.iii (Act 2, Scene 3) by the BBC with closed captioning – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWgrU1MXhRU&featu• Answer – What does Romeo want from the Friar? – Why is the Friar concerned about Romeo’s love for Juliet? – Why does the Friar agree to Romeo’s request?
Practice• Step one: Beat up II.iii – Find and name each beat• Step two: assign character objectives – Use the model: character wants to strong verb + receiver + desired response• Check and debrief
Independent practice• You’ll be assigned a small group – Period 1 – Period 2 – Period 3 – Period 5bc – Period 7• In your group, you will read through II.iv (skipping lines 50-134) and beat up the scene together• Name each beat in the scene. For each scene, create character objective statements. Submit this sheet as your exit ticket with all group member names
Period 1 groupsGroup A Group B Group C Group DShawnee L Jasmine B Alana B Ebony MJoshua A Taiha G Dwayne J Kalia HBlake B Alonzo C Justen W Sylvia SAmir P Mia S Stephen T Wayne SWilliam S Dante’ D Arnezjah C Chris P
Period 2 groupsGroup A Group B Group C Group D Group EYasmine T Sharief C Precious I Jada G KeSean SJohnathan B Rayonna M Tatiana M David C Teddie SPrincess I Scottie L Thomas H Lesly A Jalen DJocelyn P DaShane’ Julian N Carter K Bederlin LMessai T Sam W Miracle A Ray B Ryla V
Period 3 groupsGroup A Group B Group C Group DAustralia Hazzard M Joshua P Shannon HJeremy F Alexis P Crystal T Elijah BToshiro J Imani R Christian B Gregory JTaylor R J’Von W Dynara D Laura C Wynter S
Period 5bc groupsGroup A Group B Group C Group D Group EKareem G James M Astrid O Matthew C Steve WDana P Nicholas O Antonio D Cameron G John RMaurice H Jada M Sarah M Johnae C Jahmai GJohn T Alaysiah F Devin B Margarita M Briana SJanell W Jynea J Donte’ M
Period 7 groupsGroup A Group B Group C Group DAdrian S Kevin G Tyron F Dayonna PJalyn W Katherine C Ronald H Malik SCashmire R Pedro G Samaya M Endia OJustin C Daja’ C Treasure G William KDavon V Ja’Nai H
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