Negotiations and Gratitude

Note: In the process of submitting this, I ran into quite a bit of problems actually, long story short; edublogs lied to me when they saved my draft and lied to me telling me that my blog was published. I spend a good 15 minutes panicking because I discovered this 40 minutes before midnight. However because of my vast knowledge in tech support (I know literally nothing about computers) I somehow was able to get this back, please let me know in the comments if something is jumbled up because a lot of this was copy-and-pasting back and forth from Word to WordPress.





I had a discussion with one of my teachers about literature and how it influences an individual. My take on it was to understand the text and to feel the emotions meant to felt and to completely embrace it. This teacher had said something rather interesting, something which I had failed to see in the past year; she said literature is a negotiation. A negotiation of the text and story with the reader’s feelings, emotions, intellect, intuition and imagination. literature is not something that you should have to cross the entire world to find out, because if that were the case, illiteracy would be more common than the amount of times Lucas and do something characteristically idiotic and Areeb shooting judgmental and disapproving glances at us. I was taught that you must meet with the text at a certain place in the world you share with the characters and the story in order to fully understand it.

The production of Richard III had this sort of impact on me. Reading and studying the play had only provided me with the knowledge I was able to acquire with the best of my ability. I was traveling the world searching for answers and the epiphany that I was chasing. Little did I know it was chasing me as well. Sitting in the theater had given me a chance to see Haysam Kadri’s Production of Richard III to finally catch up to me. It was an interesting experience , to see something that I’ve been trying to understand for so long finally unravel itself literally in front of my eyes, there’s nothing quite like it. However while watching I noticed things, noticed things that I typically wouldn’t see in the play, or my imagination for that matter; the set. Everything from the actors’ performance (I had found Queen Margret’s character rather terrifying), to the deformity of the set itself to parallel the, to parallel and suit the production.

The throne in particular had been a rather interesting, it seemed to me, to be the most deformed thing on set aside from Richard himself. When many people imagine a throne, a great and big lavish chair, made of gold radiating supremacy and majesty comes to mind for most people. However the throne in Director Ron Jenkins’ adaptation of Richard III had none of that present, to me the throne looked uncomfortable and unpleasant and I often wondered while watching, why people would risk so much for the skeleton of a seat called the throne. Compared to other thrones it wasn’t lavish or grand it radiated deformity and death, it brought those very things upon the story as well; the struggle for power is depicted as the struggle for England’s most uncomfortable chair. However in all the darkness and death this throne brought upon, in all the deformity and bareness it radiated, was it not fit for a king of equal deformity, who is devoid of good conscience? Seeing this throne physically and watching it influence and twist the characters it showed me something I didn’t imagine before while reading the text; that all the characters were fighting for the very thing that represents deformed power and evil, ultimately to die trying because they are not worthy of the throne’s deformity as Richard is.

Another thing I found to be particularly was the old Queen Margret. Reading, acting and studying the play I always thought of her as just a bitter old woman without power now that her husband is dead. That she may have been the voice of caution that all ignored; dismissing her because of her status. I was taken back by her portrayal. I was almost scared, first thinking her to be death itself emerging from the black curtains (in the play of course, I only fear what I see in the mirror in the morning). Every thing about Queen Margret was rather spooky, from the way she dressed, and her stage presence sent chills down to my bones. Her presence was more like that of a witch or the third fate that cuts the string of life in Greek Mythology. Her entrance was quiet and went unnoticed, and took all by surprise. Her presence seemed to inspire fear into the minds and hearts of the characters. One of her entrances in particular was especially chilling. Richard had gotten up from the throne to speak with the other characters, Queen Margret appears instances later and sits on the throne, at fist I hadn’t noticed her, I seemed to have my focus only on the dialogue when I see Margret stroking her doll and observing the characters interact as if she were to decide when was appropriate time to cut their strings. What hit me then was that the throne suited her best of all people, she sat comfortably on the throne, silently observing the chaos unfold, she sat and predicted everything that would happen, she possessed the most haunting power of any character in the play. Seeing the production greatly changed my perspective of the old queen, I saw her as insignificant and unnecessary when I was left to my own devices, however the performance had completely changed my take on her character. She had become the character I had taken most interest in.  Her role was witch-like, and in their dying moments the characters always had referred to Margret as the one who had sealed their fate.
I don’t think I have much more to say about the production other than that, the fact that The Shakespeare Company had given me greater insight into the play that I could’ve hoped to achieve on my own. Eternal thanks and infinite gratitude are what I owe to Haysam Kadri and the crew working there. The love and effort poured into this production, I believe, has greatly shaped not only my own, but many other’s perspectives on Shakespeare as well; the costumes are quite amazing, I would love to wear them in public (my fashion sense is spicy), the acting was phenomenal, Stage and set completely suited the tone and mood of the play. Mostly though, I’m glad to have seen this adaptation of the play because it completely changed my view of the play, expanding it to something much larger.

Once again, My eternal thanks for having able to see this play acted out in front of me. It is always a pleasure and privilege to see Shakespearean plays by The Shakespeare company.


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One thought on “Negotiations and Gratitude

  1. Dear Nilave,

    Thank you for posting this blog and sharing with us the wisdom of what that teacher had said. For the longest time I had only read literature as an escape from reality and to travel but through this AP class and through the words of that teacher, I now know that literature is so much more. I had never thought of it as a negotiation but after thinking about it, my view has changed; literature truly is a negotiation.

    Richard III had a similar impact on me, from what you described. Knowledge is something everyone craves and chases but to me, understanding said knowledge is what one truly should be doing. Through understanding, one is able to take back what they were chasing through literature and knowledge and twist it into something that truly matters to them.

    I loved your description of the throne and the analysis of its deformity in relation to the play and especially to Richard. “…that all the characters were fighting for the very thing that represents deformed power and evil, ultimately to die trying because they are not worthy of the throne’s deformity as Richard is. “This line resonated with me as it connected everything you had mentioned in the above sentences with the play and hinted on the human condition. While reading the line it was almost like an “Aha Moment” for me as it acted as a catalyst for all of my thoughts. Thank you for that.

    Despite this piece being of brilliance, there is one thing you could work on- editing. There were quite a few instances where the flow was disrupted as a result of missing punctuation or missed words like “the” or “as”. Even with these slight errors I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post.

    Thank you for producing such beautiful work.

    Kind Regards,

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