Compared LLL displayed by the Globe stage version and Kenneth Branagh’s musical film:

Placeholder ImageIn the Globe stage version, these four lords look like they are more like friends rather than a Duke and his followers. Longaville pretends to cry when he signs his name on the schedule when he heard Dumain “pine and die” (1. 1. 31) in “love” (1. 1. 31), “wealth” (1. 1. 31) and “pomp” (1. 1. 31). When Dumain goes to sign the schedule, he kicks Longaville and then Longaville gives him a playful punch. The director gives a close-up on Berowne when he reaches out and commands that Ferdinand “give [him] the paper” (1. 1. 116). The director also gives a close-up on Ferdinand when Ferdinand shows a child-like victory and satisfaction when Berowne says he will write his name on the “strictest decrees” (1. 1. 117). These close-ups make audiences realize the child-like interaction between Ferdinand and Berowne. The director gives a close-up on Costard to make audiences clearly see the girlish gesture of Costard when he describes what “manner” (1. 1. 200) is. Costard even jumps when he tries to defend himself. Therefore, Costard didn’t realize the authority of these four lords in the Globe version. The close-up on Costard’s girlish gesture also makes audiences realize the Costard is a cunning person. Therefore, the Globe version describes a friendlier relationship among these four lords and a nearly equal status between the four lords and Costard.

In the Branagh’s musical film version, these four lords also show their close friendship. The bright background music of Berowne’s quibble scene shows these four lords can cooperate to discuss a question. Their uniform dance and stage movements show their consistent ideas, and it implies all four of them fall in love and break the oath later. When Costard is taken in front of the king, the king refuses to accept Costard’s perspective of events. The other three lords keep silent and stand behind of the king. The king shows impatience and is not too interested in Costard’s dating opinions. Berowne describes the story as a “forbear hearing” (1. 1. 190). Costard stands closely to the king and quibbles all the time. The director uses a deep focus to show the king’s status and authority when the king announces Costard’s “sentence” (1. 2. 271). When the king denies Costard’s arguments, audiences can see Dumain and Longaville standing behind the king with a respectful attitude. Therefore, in this version, the king and the other three lords are close friends when they are in a place of privacy, but they are a Duke and subjects in front of other people.

Shakespeare prefers to create a comedic effect by creating a dramatic reversal. This story tells how four lords break their oath, which leads to funny events happening. In the beginning of Branagh’s version, all the people seem sincere and enthusiastic about the oath except Berowne. When Berowne complained about the terms of the oath, describing it as “barren tasks” (1. 1. 47) and they are “too hard to keep” (1. 1. 48), Ferdinand criticizes Berowne that his “oath is pass’d” (1. 1. 49). Longaville also criticizes Berowne that he is breaking the oath because he “swore to that” (1. 1. 53). In the playtext, Dumain criticized that Berowne “stop[s] all good proceeding” (1. 1. 95). When Berowne shows he will follow the oath to stay with Ferdinand, Ferdinand thinks the “yielding rescues [Berowne] from shame” (1. 1. 118). Therefore, Branagh’s version is more persuasive. In the Globe version, the director gives a close-up on Longaville who pretends to cry when he is signing his name on the schedule. The close-up shows that Longaville didn’t sincerely swear or enthusiastically sign his name on the schedule. The director gives a deep-focus to show Longaville crying again when Dumain shows that he will explore the secret of “living in philosophy” (1. 1. 32). The deep-focus shows how Longaville is reluctant to follow the oath, and audiences can clearly notice that Berowne, Ferdinand and Dumain don’t treat the oath seriously.

Both versions effectively stage the scene. In the Globe stage version, Ferdinand throws the paper on the ground and tries to take it back after Longaville comes. During the process of taking the paper back, the actor who portrays the king displays a series of funny actions. When Longaville stands in front of the king’s love sonnet, the director gives a close-up on the king. Audiences can see that the king’s facial expression conveys the message “Oh, no! He will find my paper.” The close-up successfully displays the reason that the king expresses that he hopes Longaville is “sweet fellowship in shame” (4. 3. 42) in love. Longaville doubts whether he is “the first” (4. 3. 44) that has been “perjur’d so” (4. 3. 44). The director used a deep focus to make audiences notice the reactions of both Berowne and the king. Berowne gets afraid and the king slips down when they heard Longaville’s doubt. The director used the deep focus to show these three lords are all hypocrites. Then, the king rolls behind Longaville and takes back the paper successfully. Longaville still doesn’t find the king is on the ground. Although, he almost sits on the king’s head, because Longaville is entangled with the question of whether he should “lose the oath” (4. 3. 66) and “win a paradise” (4. 3. 66). The director used a close-up to show the awkward moment to make audiences see how the king is trying to continually be a hypocrite.

Kenneth Branagh’s musical film shows these lords are sinking into their thoughts about love, which is shown by their dances and songs. Instead of the love sonnets, the director used photos of these ladies. In Branagh’s version, the king is hiding under a table when Longaville comes. The director used sweet and dreamy music to show how Longaville is sinking into the daydreams about love. Longaville’s stage movement shows he thinks he is the only person in this place, and he enjoys this moment of feeling love. He lies on the table that the king hides under, in contrast with the Globe stage version where the king tries to hide behind Longaville to grab the paper. The music and dance arrangement makes these four lords in this version reveal more about showing love rather than being upsetting, compared with the Globe stage version, which does not focus on showing love as much.

 

 

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