Well, we did it! Great job and congratulations to everyone in the class that worked hard to get this project together.
Viewing the final product was interesting, to say the least. Each group approached the project in a different way, which clearly showed across all five acts. Of course, this was partly due to inconsistencies with each group’s ability to get their act recorded with the students. Our act ended up going a more traditional route by recording the script with action figures as the characters, which worked best for our group. Other groups got very creative, combining drawings with pictures and having a combination of voices from the students in our class and the students with whom we worked.
One of the most obvious takeaways is simple how hard this is to do over Zoom. Beyond the communication issues in getting the actual recordings, it was very difficult to offer any direction over Zoom during the recording process. Our group, for example, could not really see where the characters were set up in the background. It turned out to be manageable due to the circumstances, but with all of the extra time and effort we put into just facilitating the project over Zoom, I felt like we did not get a chance to get into many technical details of the production, nor were we able to explore the meaning and intention of Shakespeare’s work and our adaptation. Admittedly, after writing that, I see that it probably would have been difficult to accomplish either of those goals under normal circumstances, but I felt like we struggled to even complete the project at all. The students with whom we worked largely had to take us at our word when explaining things, rather than breaking them down.
All-in-all, the full production was about what I expected, especially given the updates last week about recording our own voices if necessary. I think it is an accomplishment to even get all of the acts together in one coherent story, regardless if we missed some details the class decided on. For example, our group found it difficult to tell the story from a specific character’s (Hero, I think) perspective when working with the children. For whatever reason, the concept just did not click with them, and we had to prioritize making actual progress over incorporating that part of the story. But, by the end, it did not seem to affect the overall production because of the varied approaches. Each act had its unique eccentricities that set it apart from others, which made for an interesting overall watch.
Getting to watch everyone’s final project was a cool moment to end this journey. I think as we all worked on our individual acts, we became so engulfed in making sure that we were reaching goals. In the end, it was nice to see all of our projects come together and create one big piece of work. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the process of explaining the plot of the play to each of our students, and what they were able to help us create based on that. One of the most enjoyable parts for me was seeing the way the kids threw typical ideas of Shakespeare to the wind and used whatever dialogue, action figures, drawings, or pictures that they saw fit to represent their story. Starting the semester with Much Ado and finishing it with our own adaptation was a great way to come full circle
I loved watching the final project all at once! I think that each act and scene was so unique, and you could really see the students’ creative freedom in each one. While our group (Act III) was disappointed that we could not get images or audio from our students, it was awesome to see the project come together as a whole.
One thing that I especially loved was changing Claudio to Claudia in the adapted version, but keeping her love story with Hero intact. It was awesome to see the kids suggesting that and running with it, I think it made the story really engaging and interesting!
Overall, this project was not at all what I expected, but in the most refreshing way. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to do this (despite COVID and all the technical/communication issues). It was such a great experience!
I can’t believe it’s finally over and I was not expecting the end product to be as entertaining as it was.
Given the amount of challenges the individual groups had and Bezio/Soderlund with communicating, I was very concerned it would not be engaging. However, the combination of peer voiceover (shoutout to Jack and Omar) and then hearing some of the kid’s enthusiasm was charming. Watching this out of context would have been extremely confusing, BUT we’re all experts on Much Ado by this point so it was cool to focus on how the plot translated to an adaption guided by the direction of elementary/middle schoolers. I especially loved the use of color in Act 3 settings, background music in Act 4 and the final dance scene in Act 5.
I don’t think our choice to have each act narrated by a different perspective came across entirely but this inconsistency didn’t disrupt the project. Another decision that wasn’t carried throughout the play was changing Claudio to Claudia. Again, it didn’t disrupt the play but I think would’ve been really cool to see in later acts. My favorite parts of the play are when the student’s voices/video are used. I wish I could’ve been involved in an experience like this when I was their age and it makes me happy that we were able to have JSP at all given COVID.
Overall, it was frustrating at times but the final product made it all worth it. I definitely needed the laughs to counteract the stress of finals week.