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Tutor profile: Emily A.

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Emily A.
English and Theatre teacher with over 15 years experience
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Questions

Subject: Writing

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Question:

What is the impact of a simile?

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Emily A.
Answer:

Similes act as links within your audience's imagination. By comparing the concept you are wanting them to understand with a concept they can, perhaps, more readily imagine, you are conjuring imagery within their mind. For example, the phrase 'her hair was a not-quite-blonde colour, like milky tea' is far more evocative to your reader than 'her hair was not quite blonde'.

Subject: Film and Theater

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Question:

What is 'stagecraft' and why is it important?

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Emily A.
Answer:

Stagecraft is a general 'catch-all' word for all intentional choices made about things that happen onstage. It can include: acting/direction, sound design, set design, lighting, costume and props. Stagecraft choices are important because they reflect the nuance of the theatre maker's interpretation of a script or concept. Imagine a tense scene between two characters - the choice to place them within a tight spotlight in centrestage or to flood the stage with red light and have them standing on opposite sides can impact the audience's response significantly.

Subject: English

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Question:

How can I understand what Shakespeare is all about? It's like a foreign language!

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Emily A.
Answer:

Well... sort of. Whenever I start a Shakespeare topic with students that have never studied it before, there is almost always a collective groan and wails of 'but I read it over the Summer and I don't get it AT ALL!' ... and that's probably because you READ it. Shakespeare's work was rarely read at the time it was published, except by the actors that performed it. THAT'S how to start Shakespeare: watch, listen, absorb. Start by getting the 'gist' of what the play is about and the intention behind the lines. Once you have figured out the who, what, where, when and how of the piece, you can then start dissecting it and figuring out the nuance. Don't worry too much about the 'thy/thee/thou/hast' language - that will start making sense via context. There are usually many notes in the margin - use them. There is also no shortage of online glossaries for any of Shakespeare's plays or sonnets. It may be slow going, but once you realise how much the man could pack into a single couplet, he'll grow on you, I promise!

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