When sourcing the information for my essay I was sure to use a wide range of resources and ways of collecting and accumulating the research, as well as using my own knowledge and opinions to support this.
Lots of my stimulus research came from articles and play reviews on past Shakespeare productions; which on one hand could be seen as unreliable or one sided, however this was unavoidable as my argument and topic of the essay is largely based on opinion and preference rather than solid fact. Moreover, the fact I balanced these opinions out with other critics and journalists gave a much wider opinion base. As some of the articles and reviews were from several years ago it is arguable that these sources are not ‘current’ enough or up to date, however I insist that it is important to use sources from a wide range of dates to show that this has been an ongoing debate for years rather than just becoming a new problem, therefore emphasising the profanity of Emma Rice losing her position at the Globe under the same bases.
My decision to conduct a public survey allowed me to collect research from a wider audience base, and get wider points of view, as the articles I used as research are likely to have been written by the same kind of people (probably theatre critics and Literates). Despite this, I know a lot of my friends and mutual friends on Facebook and other social media sights are into theatre and the arts and therefore may have more opinionated views on Shakespeare or at least hold similar views to each other, due to having the same backgrounds and training. However, by publishing my survey on my social media account and also asking my parents to share it to their friends as well, I was ensuring that I collected information from a much wider age range and diversity of people rather than just my own social community. In hindsight I wish I had added several more questions that were more specific to my survey that I could refer to as statistics in my essay, however I am confident that the research I did accumulate through the Survey was relevant and reliable and helped me get an overview of what the public feel on the matter. By using the website Survey Monkey I was also able to look at how the responses differed depending on the age range of the participant which was really useful and interesting to observe.
Specific questions on the survey also allowed my discover new information that I hadn’t otherwise been aware of, which then gave me an idea of areas I could look into further and discover more for myself. This rings particularly true with the question where I ask the participant to list the names of Shakespeare plays they have recently seen and whether these were traditional or modernised/adapted. This stimulated a wide range of responses (as the participants of the survey are such a diverse mix and are located all over the country and further afield) and prompted me to look up certain productions that I didn’t know about. For example, after reading about the production of ‘Isabella’ I was able to research this further and then use what I found about the production as fact for my essay, whilst supporting it with the opinions and responses of the public.
As mentioned before in the introduction to my research, the reason I chose the modernising and adapting of Shakespeare as the topic for my essay stems from several places. First of all, the recent media attention around Emma Rice being made to step down from from her position as artistic director at the Globe due to her modern directorial choices, really interested me as quite frankly I was shocked at this reaction to her work. It also related to me greatly as an audience member who has seen many different Shakespeare productions, which I always come away analysing and it often comes back to whether and how the play was modernised and/or adapted by the director for the audience and whether that worked or not for the play. More often than not the modernised productions I have seen have been really strong and have helped keep me engaged and invested in the story; however, there is also a small part of me that wants to be the ‘snobby actor’ who remains truthful to the original traditional ways of performing Shakespeare. Furthermore, Shakespeare is an area of acting that I have always loved (both as an actor and from a literary point of view) as the characters are so real and raw and the language is so clever and almost puzzle like – which as an actor this almost adds another layer to discovering the character, thus making it more of a challenge to achieve – and so naturally this was an area of my art form that I wanted to explore further. I wanted to ask questions about the reasons behind this and investigate the opinions of other professionals in the industry (articles/reviews) general public (Social media survey), and other aspiring actors (survey shared on NYT actors board).
So by looking into the views around modernising and adapting Shakespeare for stage and screen and how this is conventionally done, I feel I am giving myself a good insight and preparation for future projects as an actress and also when approaching my classical monologues, as I can think about the pros and cons of giving it a modern twist or taking it out of context and how well it would work for the piece and my performance overall.