Tutor profile: Laura D.
What are some modern societal parallels between the Western culture of the 21st century and Shakespeare?
Shakespeare makes modern culture and modern culture makes Shakespeare. It will be my claim that Shakespeare and "Shakespeare" are perceptually and conceptually the same from the viewpoint of any modern observer. Characters like Romeo, Hamlet, or Lady Macbeth have become cultural types, instantly recognizable when their names are invoked. As will become clear, the modern versions of these figures often differ significantly from their Shakespearean "originals": a "Romeo" is a persistent romancer and philanderer rather than a lover faithful unto death, a "Hamlet" is an indecisive overthinker, and a "Lady Macbeth," in the public press, is an ambitious female politician who will stop at nothing to gain her own ends. But the very changes marked by these appropriations tell a revealing story about modern culture and modern life. The idea that Shakespeare is modern is, of course, hardly a modern idea. Indeed, it is one of the fascinating effects of Shakespeare's plays that they have almost always seemed to coincide with the times in which they are read, published, produced, and discussed. But the idea that Shakespeare writes us - as if we were Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, constantly encountering our own pre-scripted identities, proclivities, beliefs, and behaviors - is, if taken seriously, both exciting and disconcerting.
Subject: Film and Theater
I want to work in film or theater, how can I best prepare myself for the industry, and how can I give myself the best opportunity of success? Is acting an innate talent, or can one learn the craft of acting?
Acting is a craft that requires a degree of talent, but training is a prerequisite for even the most innately talented of actors. I want to posit a question to you: In your mind - what is acting, and what makes a good actor? Acting is truth. Acting is not lying and it is not pretending. How does one learn to portray a character they have no affiliation with in real life truthfully? - Well this is essentially the study of acting. Acting for screen and for the stage are fundamentally different disciplines, but they both require similar foundations in training. As a teacher, I provide courses, workshops, and classes on the following practitioners: - Konstantin Stanislavski's naturalistic methodologies - Sanford Meisner's method - acting truthfully under imaginary circumstances - instinctual - Uta Hagen's realism techniques - Stella Adler's emphasis upon script analysis - a detailed approach to examining script and character There are a variety of techniques and methods that I harness and draw from within my own practice. The trick is to have a strong grounding in all of these techniques and find which one works best for you as an actor. Which of these techniques best enables you to portray a character with truth and integrity?
Subject: English as a Second Language
What is a typical syntactical, or grammatical concept that non-native English speakers often struggle with when learning English?
Definite and Indefinite Articles - these are not used in 198 languages, including Mandarin. A lot of students struggle with these articles: The definite article (the) is used before a noun to indicate that the identity of the noun is known to the reader. The indefinite article (a, an) is used before a noun that is general or when its identity is not known. Using these articles correctly is a key indicator of native fluency. Native English speakers use articles correctly but unconsciously almost all the time - most English speakers will not even know that these words constitute 'articles' - they just know that it feels right and sounds right to use them. Definite Article: 'The' Indefinite Articles: 'An' and 'A' I will give you an example here of using articles: Yang asks his teacher to find a book with a red cover on it. Yang's teacher says - "That sentence is missing some articles, which book do you mean?" Yang says - "A book with a red cover on it." His teacher says - "Ohhh, so you would like me to find any book with a red cover on it?" To which Yang replies: "There is only one book with a red cover on it." Yang corrects himself to say - "I would like you to find the book with the red cover on it." When we use the article 'the' we are referring to something specific, in this instance - Yang is looking for the red book and he is already aware of its existence. If we used the article 'a' - then Yang could be talking about any book with a red cover on it.
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