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Performing Othello - Reginald Simmons

Journal one:

(aside) I have rubbed this young quat almost to the sense,

And he grows angry. Now, whether he kill Cassio

Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other,

(Here, Iago should be talking to the audience. After "he grows angry" he looks at the audience with an expression of epiphany on his face. As if he has just made a great discovery. A sly smile should spread across his lips and he should draw his words out slowly, but very clear and audibly, in a tone that makes him sound conniving.)

Every way makes my gain. Live Roderigo,

He calls me to a restitution large

(Here, Iago should change his tone to one of slight distress. He has just realized a possible slight folly in his plan, and he's thinking about the possibilities of fixing or preventing it. His face changes from one of confidence from the last line, to one of calculation and slight dismay, back to one of confidence.)

Of gold and jewels that I bobbed from him

As gifts to Desdemona.

It must not be. If Cassio do remain

( Start off this line slowly. As he continues on to "If Casio do remain", he should look down, talking more to himself than to the audience. Lower his tone down a little, but no so much that the audience has trouble hearing him. Still low enough so that none of the other cast members could hear him.)

He hath a daily beauty in his life

That makes me ugly. And besides, the Moor

(Here, a tone of indignity should take over his speech as he begins to talk more again to the audience. He spits the words out, as if in disgust, but he keeps his calm and calculating composure. He looks from side to side for one second, but then focuses his gaze once again on the audience, scanning every once in awhile to indicate liveliness.)

May unfold me to him—there stand I in much peril.

No, he must die. But so, I hear him coming.

(Here, rush a little, as if someone from the cast is coming, and may walk into hearing range. He will steady himself up as if he's about to go into a battle of words, and a false smile should spread over his face.)

Journal two:

Name a couple of important scenes that this character appears in. (You'll have to look them up, and include the act and scene numbers.)

Cassio appears in a few important scenes. One is Act four, scene one, pages 175 to 183. Also, there is Act five, scene one, pages 225 to 233. The first-mentioned scene is important because it shows one of the most important parts of Iago’s plan. He needs to show Othello that what he is saying reliable information. He plans to lead Othello to believe that Cassio is talking about Desdemona when he’s really referring to Bianca, who later arrives to confront Cassio. If Othello believes that Cassio really is talking about Desdemona, it will benefit Iago’s goal even more, because he will then want to kill Cassio. I see the second scene as important because it is the moment of truth for Iago. One of his main goals was to Kill Cassio, and this is where Roderigo is supposed to take action. We get to see if Iago’s dream will come to fruition, or whether it will all crumble on top of him. Eventually it does fall apart, but this was still a moment of suspense.

- What does this character observe first hand? (What do they see personally?)

Throughout the play, Cassio is just a piece in Iago's game. He's being used and manipulated without even knowing it, and the things he does that incriminate him are completely innocent acts. Iago’s strategic genius puts Cassio in a horrible situation. He knows exactly how people will react to what he says, and uses it against them. Cassio only sees what's happening truly when he is attacked in the dark street by Iago. He cries that he's been murdered by villains and such things, but he still does not see the acting hand.

- What does this character observe second hand? (What are they told by other characters?)

Cassio is not told much by other characters. He does work with Desdemona to try and get his position back, but she is just as ignorant as he is, so she couldn't have told him what was coming. Ultimately, Cassio does not become Othello’s officer. The only person who really knows what's going on is Iago, and he only tells his plans to the audience. Only in the last scene of the play does Cassio discover all of Iago’s lies and treachery.

- How can we understand this character's motivations better when we concentrate only on their scenes?

We can analyze exactly how Cassio reacts to certain situations involving other people and what he really wants throughout the play: to be Othello’s officer.. By studying his interactions with the people around him, we can  better understand just what he wanted from them, and how they fit into his master plan. For example, reading his scenes with Bianca would show us how he acts with and what he confides in the people closest to him.

Journal three:

OTHELLO: Othello was once a slave. He was one for a long part of his life, but he showed the skills necessary to be freed. He showed the military power and resolve that would enable him to command men in war. So he was freed and became a soldier, then rose through the ranks and became a general in the Venetian army. His strong sense of body and mind is shown through his love and faith toward Desdemona. He also shows the great reserves of anger he possesses when he's told by Iago of her infidelity. He has always been close to Iago, and has a great sense of trust for him; this explains why he believed him without much hesitation about Desdemona, despite the love and faith he knows she has for him. Othello is a very determined and motivated man, which is why Iago had only to plant the tiny seed of jealousy in his mind; he knew that it would not take too much to convince Othello that Desdemona has been unfaithful.

Journal four:

- In the scene my group was assigned, scene six, I play Othello. Othello is angry because he thinks that Desdemona has given his handkerchief to Cassio as a gift, and that is one of his most prized possessions. When he tells Desdemona the story of how he got the handkerchief, he says that it was a gift from his mother, and that it has magical properties.  Since Othello is a general, I'm going to try to be stern, but not too frigid. I'm going to try to bring that anger into his words and the way he moves.

- Since Othello goes away at the beginning of the scene so he can spy on Cassio and Iago speaking, I'm going to use my hooded sweatshirt as a costume to symbolize him hiding from them. I’ll raise the hood when I go to hide behind the pillar. The sweatshirt will be white so that I can better blend in with the pillar.

- Our group has gone through our scene very many times. We've tried it a few different ways, and we have come up with something that works for all of us. We're going to bring a lot of emotion to the stage, and we hope to make it flow nicely with the other groups' scenes.

Journal five:

-Analyze one of your lines from your scene. Quote it directly and then explain why it is important to the play, and how you showed its importance in your performance. How did you deliver this line

  • There is one line in my scene, Act Six, which is said by Othello: “By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!”. This is the point where he sees Bianca and Cassio with it. Bianca confronts Cassio about his finding it in his room and not knowing who left it there. She believes that she has been unfaithful to her and that the handkerchief belongs to another woman he’s been sleeping with. This quote is important to the play because it shows Othello’s anger at the fact that he believes Desdemona left it there while she was in Cassio’s room sleeping with him. But, however, that is not the case. It was strategically placed there by Iago to make it look like exactly that happened. It was also Iago’s plan to have Cassio and Bianc in the same room so that Othello would see them, and so Iago could trick Othello into believing Cassio was with Desdemona. This is the handkerchief Othello’s mother gave to him, and he has told Desdemona the story of his origin, so he’s furious to see it in someone else’s hands. I showed the importance of his anger by yelling the line from behind the pillar where I was hiding. I then stormed out to Iago and asked him how I’d murder Cassio, which speaks once again to his anger.

  • Did your group's performance go as you expected and planned? Now that it is over, what are you proud of? What would you have done differently in your performance?

  • I would say that it did go as we planned. I’d say it didn’t in that I didn’t think it would go by so fast. With all the scenes going on, ours, since it had so little dialogue, seemed short in comparison. But it did go well; all of us remembered our lines, and I feel like we brought the emotion we rehearsed with us to the stage. It’s different going up on a stage than it is rehearsing in the back of the room. I’m a lot more aware, and I go over my lines in my head a lot more before I have to say them. I was altogether satisfied with our performance. Our group also had a lot of fun rehearsing together. We got to try it out a lot of different ways and see which one worked best for us. That was a really fun process that helped ease a lot of the nervousness I had about performing.

  • How did performing the play change your understanding of it?

  • It helped me understand better where Othello was coming from on the whole subject of Desdemona being unfaithful to him. He is angry for this entire scene because now he’s seen some “proof” of her infidelity, and as I was trying to capture that anger, I found myself putting my feet in his shoes. I was imagining that I was him, and how I would feel if I’d been through everything he had. It gave me a closer perspective of all the characters in my scene: Othello, Iago, Cassio and Bianca. It made me better understand the perspective of Othello.

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Q4 BENCHMARK: Performing “Othello”

Haneef Nelson 


Prep Journal #1

(looks to the crowd)’be rubbed this young pimple until he’s ready to pop, (pause and looks away) And now he’s angry. (looks to crowd) Whether he kills Cassio, (little pause) or Cassio kills him, (little pause) or they kill each other, (little pause) it all works in my favor. If Roderigo survives, though, he’ll ask me for all the gold and jewelry that I stole from him and said I gave to Desdemona. (hmm, looks to the crowd) I can’t let that happen. (looks away from the crowd) If Cassio survives(pause),he’s so handsome and well-spoken that he makes me look ugly. (looks to crowd) And besides, the Moor might tell him about my lies about him.—That would be very dangerous for me. No, he’s got to die. Let it be so. I hear him coming. (puts finger on his chin and rubs it as if he is thinking)

Prep Journal #2

In Act 5 scene 2 the secondary character I chose to closely observe is Emilia, so this is “Emilia, The Story”. During the scenes that Emilia are in, first hand observes she Desdemona slowly dying and her husband, Iago lying and getting caught in a lie in front of Othello in order to keep his plot going. During the same act Emilia second handedly observes Desdemona and Othello speaking about death before and right after Othello kills his wife. We understand Emilia’s motivations better when we concentrate only on their scenes because we see how they're thinking specifically and we focus in on it, instead of reading and analyzing and searching for all the other characters wants and needs.

Prep Journal #3

Iago grew up in a one parent house, with just his abusive father. His father never had a steady house or hold hold, as in the way he ran his house. He always had a new girl friend, and lived this life style around the young Iago. Whenever Iago would mention his mother, his father would sit him down and tell him she was just another strumpet and hit him. Iago grew up with out learning how to respect women, but one thing his father did teach him was how to praise the king. He taught him to conform and not obstruct authority, but the young Iago didn't like to conform. Which is why as he aged  didn't change, he was still the same trouble maker, which is why you find him in the situation he's in now.

Prep Journal #4

My scene is the one between Emilia and Iago when she gives him Desdemona's handkerchief. A specific movement or action I have to do during our scene is wave my arms around to sell what I'm saying, and make grins as well as touch my chin as if I'm hinting things to leave Emilia on edge. It leads into the scene because she's out of the "loop" and with me hinting at things, it makes her want to know what I'm talking about, which is a part of the script. A prop I'm going to bring is a cape, because back then I'm assuming nobles wore capes. Also, I think with the way I thought of my character, Iago’s cape will go perfectly because of how I will dramatize what he's saying. I think how each of my members took on their characters personality is going to make our presentation stand out.

Journal #5

"...I will in Cassio's lodging loose this napkin, and let him find it. Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ: ..." Scene 4 Act Scene 2

In this scene Iago is explaining how he's going to go about his plan to ruin Desdemona's name and make Othello broken hearted.  This is important to the play because this single action of him putting Desdemona's handkerchief in Cassio's room made Othello think she was cheating which is the plot of the play. In my groups scene in Shakespeare's Othello, I delivered my lines in a sneaky and plotting tone but, also in an excited way because he was happy to destroy Desdemona’s name and ruin everyones happiness but also didn't want any one to find out his plan. Yes my groups performance went exactly how we planned and practiced. The consistency during practice made it easy when doing the final performance. I am also very proud of my group and I performance. We all spoke clearly, used the stage directions, and added emotion to what we were saying. I wouldn't change anything about our performance, I'm proud of our performance. Acting out Shakespeare didn't change my understanding of anything because we didn't do anything but reread it and act it out. I got all the analysis parts from reading the book the first time as a class.

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Journal #2 passage excerpts
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Quarter Four Benchmark

Max Amar-Olkus

Gold Stream 

Ms. Larissa Pahomov

Journal #1:

She that was ever fair and never proud,

Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,

Never lacked gold and yet went never gay,

Fled from her wish and yet said “Now I may,”

She that being angered, her revenge being nigh,

Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,

She that in wisdom never was so frail

To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail,

She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind,

See suitors following and not look behind,

She was a wight, if ever such wights were—


In the beginning Iago would be in a crouch position with a huge smile on his face. Possibly somewhat seductive to catch Desdemona's attention. At the end of each line he would give an arm gesture to emphasize his point. When he says the line about the woman showing self restraint he would back off away from Desdemona and almost make it seem like she is not the one he is talking to. This would show his subliminal opinions about her and also make her follow him to hear what he's saying. When he says the line that signifies the woman being too smart to do anything stupid he would be very close to Desdemona. His face very close to hers, he would then taps her on the nose to emphasize his point. Before his soliloquy gets cut off abruptly, he would be looking admiringly into the audience as if to be dreaming about this woman.

Journal #2: 

My character is Bianca.

An important scene that Bianca appears in is the one in Act 4, Scene 1. This is when Iago is talking to Cassio about "his woman", and makes Othello think he is bragging about Desdemona. This causes many problems for everyone, except for Iago. It causes Othello to further obsess over the idea of his wife cheating on him even though Desdemona isn't even the one Cassio is talking about. Problems arise for Cassio because it makes him look bad to Othello. 

At this point, Bianca has not seen Cassio for a week's time and is very irritable. She observes firsthand the end of the conversation that was previously happening about her with Cassio, Iago, and Othello. We can understand her motivations while focusing on just this scene by seeing how upset she is at Cassio for giving her another woman's handkerchief. She has motivation to break up with him if he didn't come to meet her that night.

Journal #3:

When Roderigo was just a small boy he decided that he would want to be in the military. All of his heroes were great warriors. He was a frail boy, and was always getting beat up at military school by his peers. "You can never be a great fighter," they would say to him. He wanted to prove them all wrong through hard work and perseverance. He was not able to do this. 

When he was 14, his parents' relationship became strained. They eventually split up, after about a year of passive aggressiveness. Roderigo and his sister chose to live with their father, because women had no rights in that day. His sister was older, and was never home. She was always with her new husband. Roderigo promised her that he wouldn't tell their father about her relationship. When their father finally found out, he was crushed. Not by the news of her being married, but the fact that she did not tell him. Roderigo vowed to never let this happen to another old man. This is why he wanted to tell Brabantio that Desdemona was with Othello. 

Journal #4: 

My character, Roderigo, will be portrayed as a very weak man. This shouldn't be too hard for me because I am also a very weak man. I will use a very timid voice for most of my performance. The only time I will use a different tone will be when my character is putting on the illusion of confidence and strength. Roderigo will take very small strides while walking and have an almost cartoonish and angry gait in scene two when he has to fight Cassio. I have practiced stage combat for that scene. I will bring an umbrella as my prop. In the first scene, I will use the umbrella as a complement to the surrounding and give the illusion that it is raining. I will use the umbrella in the second scene as a weapon. I think my group's presentation will stand out because we are all very energetic and outgoing. We are able to convey the seriousness of the scene without making it droll and boring. We have worked on blocking a lot as a group and I am confident that our scene will be top-notch. 

Journal Post Performance: 

“Tush! Never tell me. I take it much unkindly

That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse

As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.”

This line is important to the play because it really shows Roderigo’s character. He is weak and offended that Iago would use information against him. He does not realize the risk of dealing with a man like Iago. Iago takes advantage of almost every other character in this play and uses the things they tell him against them. This line exposes Roderigo’s weakness to Iago. This line set the tone for my character and I delivered it with a slight attitude at first. 

My group’s performance went a little bit better than expected. We had rehearsed in a different setting than the classroom stage so we had to adjust our blocking slightly on the spot. I am proud that we were able to make our performance work, and I think that it went well with the following ones from our peers. I would have liked to have memorized my lines, but because I had such a short amount of time, I could not do that. 

My understanding was changed after performing because we had the modified scripts, which helped very much. Going through the script worked better for me than reading the play. I think this is because the scripts showed the key elements to the play and drew the focus to the events that were the most important. Personally, I feel that Shakespeare’s writing tends to dance around the main idea he is trying to convey. For me, acting out the a Shakespearian play is always more helpful for my understanding. Interacting with other characters has always been an eye opener for me because I am able to actually understand where my character is coming from and his intentions or goals. I think this project was very useful for my understanding of Othello. When I first read it I was somewhat lost but by the end of the unit, I had a steady comprehension of the play.

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Othello BM Journals, Jenny Cruz


Q4 Othello BM Journals


Journal #1:


Iago:    “Now will I question Cassio of Bianca (Othello exits leaving Iago alone to. Iago begins to start speaking toward the audience.) A huswide that by selling her desires (His tone of voice twist into that od disgust.) buys herself bread and clothes. It is a creature That dotes on Cassio, as ‘tis the strumpets plague To beguile many and beguiled by one. (A smile creeps up on his face.) He, when hears of her, cannot retrain from the excess of laughter. (Collects himself before Cassio walks in) there he come. (Looks away from the audience and toward the direction in which Cassio appears.)




Journal #2:


Character from play: Bianca

Bianca doesn’t really observe anything too drastic in the play. She appears in Act 3 Scenes 4. The only thing that she was a witness to during her appearance was Cassio in possession of Desdemona’s handkerchief. I don’t think Bianca is told anything by another character though seeing Cassio with a handkerchief does bring up a suspicion in Bianca. She believes that Cassio is cheating on her, which is why the handkerchief was placed in his home. It was placed in his home to make others believe he is messing with another women, Desdemona. Bianca isn’t happy about this of course because she has feelings for Cassio and doesn’t want him bedding other women, seeing the handkerchief and her suspecting that Cassio is cheating was the other thing she could think with what evidence she had. Futher more she wasn’t in contact with another other character to be aware of what was really going on.






Journal #3:



Barbantio was a normal boy for his age and high status. He educated himself and did what he had to honor is family. Through out his teenage years he had a serious crush on a woman he later asked to be his bride. Shortly after the wedding his wife became pregnant with a child that made her ill. The women gave birth to a sickly little girl she named Desdemona. Barbantio was a proud father. Shortly after Desdemona’s birth her mother died. Barbantio grieved for his wife. He was a happy father who grew very protective of his daughter as she grew older. He became afraid some rueful man would try to steal his daughter away.  So you see Barbantio was a protective father because he was a single parent trying to raise a beautiful women. It’s his job to be over protective and untrustworthy with men because he’s a worried parent.



Journal #4:



I played the role of Barbantio, Desdemona’s father. Since he’s an older man I will be using more of a crackled voice because of his age and to express some emotion while he’s speaks. The voice gives a feel of how Barbantio is taking Desdemona’s actions. Some hand waving is to be expected and perhaps, pacing to show Barbantio’s uneasiness. Barbandito questions why he’s daughter chose to marry Othello and if it’s all a trick. He also question if Othello’s intentions are pure.  There isn’t much I will use for props just a broken umbrella to sort of use as a cane. My group’s presentation will stand out because of our dedication in trying to act these characters out well. We want to be dramatic. We’ve also talked over playing our characters to the fullest so one can better understand them through the way we act.




Benchmark Post Performance:


Barbantio: “Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see: he has deceived her father and may thee.”


This quote is important to the play because clearly when Barbantio didn’t exactly get what he had hoped for he reacts badly to others. He straight out says to Othello that his daughter has “deceived” him and for Othello to watch out because she might do the same to him. This adds up to the list in Othello’s head, his list which contains the evidence to have him believing that Desdemona could definitely be unfaithful. Just look, her father cannot trust her.


For the group performance in class it wasn’t quite expected. We were missing a group member and having to have Isabella play the missing person was a little hard to do because we had practiced it a certain way already and having to change made it a bit difficult. I do even though we were missing someone we did a good group getting it done. Something I would have done differently for my part was move around more, I wasn’t able too much because I was sharing a script but then again I could have still moved around more in general. Performing the play changed my understanding of it because you really have to get to know your character to play your part correctly in my opinion. You have to understand why they feel a certain way about things so that you can understand what is the right way to act at a certain time in the play. So with performing I really had to learn about my character more nd just really get to know them so I could play them properly.

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Benchmark Journals

Briana Bailey

Gold Stream

Journal 1: (Lines from quote in bold and italicized)

(aside) He takes her by the palm. Cassio is taking Desdemona by her hand while talking to her.

Ay, well said, whisper! They should keep on whispering. Although they don’t know (Desdemona and Cassio) it, but they are feed into my little evil plan! Because you guys are whispering things together, I can easily turned what your saying into something its not. In other words I will be able to make that action look innocent to Othello.

With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. He is talking directly about Cassio and I saying that he is trapping himself. In order to get you in on my plan (with you knowing) your kindness to Desdemona is exactly what a man like me with a plan to break peoples heart needs.

Ay, smile upon her, do, I will give thee in thine own courtship. Go ahead smile at her, make her fall in love with your gentleman like behaviors. That will make my job of framing you guys a lot easier. 

You say true, 'Tis so, indeed I’m sure you’re right, keep talking. Fill her and my ears up with charm.


Journal 2:


Act 3 Sc. 4. Bianca

"O Cassio, whence came this. This is some token from a newer friend. to the felt absence now I feel a cause isn’t come to this? well well."

"But that you don’t’ love me"

Bianca sees that her "lover," Cassio, has a handkerchief, which obviously belongs to someone else. She began to question if it came from some other woman he "loves/sleeps with." She wonders if he is giving her other lovers’ handkerchief, which would be insulting towards her.  

Cassio tells Bianca that he found the handkerchief himself in his chamber. Also she gets told that she must leave he is in Cyprus on duty as the Generals help. She gets told that Cassio loves her and will maybe see her soon. 

A way to understand this scene by looking at her key words "a newer friend." This indicates that she thought Cassio was seeing someone else. Also the handkerchief belonged to that someone else.

Journal 3:

Raised by her father, mother died during birth, Desdemona was a daddy's girl. She grew up taking care of her father the same way he took care of her, with love, patience and grief. As a child she learned to be a gentle female. She always did as told up until the point when Desdemona disobeyed her father for the love of her life. Desdemona understood why her father didn’t want her to marry a "Moor," but she didn’t want anyone to stop her from her heart being completed. This shows when she wants something she goes for it. She is determined. Although her husband is planning on murdering her because of lies he was told about her committing adultery she died loyal, and confused as to who she was as a wife to Othello. Even though Othello thinks she is cheating on him, she never did say to her “I might as well do it”. She stayed faithful. As the soft-spoken woman she is she tried to understand her husband without arguing. 

Journal 4:

Playing Desdemona in scene 4 involves her having a very soft spoken and worried voice. She is speaking with Othello about his headache that is causing him to not be present at the dinner. She presses a handkerchief upon his forehead.

The only prop I had for Desdemona was the handkerchief. What makes my group stand out is Haneef’s reenacting of Iago and Doneshas acting of Emilia. They had the connection of frustration and the painful love that they share. Also our scene is relatively short, and I think it’s the shortest scene, There wasn’t really much action we could put into our scene a lot of it was straight dialogue. 

Journal 5:

Desdemona: “How now, my dear Othello! Your dinner, and the generous islanders by you invited do attend your presence.” This line is highly important to the middle of the book. It’s the first time Desdemona is noticing that her husband is coming through something. Although she thinks he just is “not well” I sense that she knows its something else as well. I think this because I imagined her speaking to him in a worried soft voice. This line is also important because its addresses to Othello (main general) how important it is for him to be at the dinner that he set up with the people of Cyprus.

            My group’s performance sort of went the way I envisioned it. I definitely agree with the statement that was said in class “the scenes went by faster than I thought they would.” At the same time for my group (more specifically) there were only 4 characters and each character had about 3-4 lines. As a performance my group should have put a deeper thought into finding more actions to put with our words. 

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Othello project

Journal 1:

“Now will I question Cassio of Bianca, A huswife that by selling her desires Buys herself bread and clothes. It is a creature That dotes on Cassio, as ’tis the strumpet’s plague To beguile many and be beguiled by one. He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain From the excess of laughter. Here he comes”.


From this section I see that Iago can be talking to himself, and revealing his plan to the audience. I can tell all of this because he doesn't seem like he is talking to another character. Also it makes me wonder why he would be saying his plan to himself. Although maybe he wanted to get his plan in the air. Maybe he wanted to see how it sounded. So from those reasons you really can’t chose what Iago was doing. Therefore he could have been speaking to the audience, or himself. Iago is a tricky character, because he reveals his plans a lot, and when you don't know if another character is there you wouldn't know who he was talking to.

Journal 2:

Barbantio- Page 41, Act 1 section 3 

Barbantio saw many things, but on page 41 he saw Desdemona confessing to her being with Othello. He personally saw that her saying she was with Othello. Barbantio was not happy with the fact that they are together, and that they were having intercourse. He didn't like how they were together, and how they were open with it. He was told that they were doing it everywhere, and that they do stuff together a lot. He was told that they ran away together. Barbantio was mad at the fact that it was Othello, and he thought that because he was different that he forced Desdemona to be with him. Othello was african, so he just assumed he had a spell on Desdemona to be with him. We can understand how he was angry, and how he was mad at the fact it was Othello.

Journal 3:

Desdemona was a good girl, but she had a freaky side. While she was growing up every boyfriend she had was in love with her, because of how sexual she was. She made the days of many with a simple kiss. As she got older, her sexual knowledge expanded. She found out more, practiced more, and got more experienced. When she left men, it broke their heart. Not only was she a kind, considerate, and just plain nice girl, but she had a freaky side as well. When she got to Othello, she showed him a different way of being sexually active. It was so good, he fell in love. Othello knew about her sexual touch, but not her loyalty. He knew her touch was enough for a guy to go off. So thats why he believes she is cheating. So that brings us up to Othello killing Desdemona.

Journal 4:

I’m using my girly voice, and having my fake breast on. The tone i’m using is the tone of a defensive person, but a not defensive voice. I needed to be serious about my role, because we traded places. So since I was Desdemona, I needed to be super professional.


My prop was the fake breast. It made our scene look funny, but they brought out the women in me. It made me look more like a lady. They aren't really needed, but I like them.


The end scene made us stand out because nobody else ended their scene like that. The strangle scene was the best. It makes the audience understand the seriousness of the scene.

Journal 5:

"Ay my lord" Desdemona says yes my lord to Othello. Even though she knows she is about to die, she is still showing love towards him. She still addressed him as her lord. She still took pride that he was her husband. She never got loud, and tried to avoid it. She didn't try to force her way out. She could have gotten violent with him, however she didn't. She kept her cool and knew what was about to happen. She knew that Othello was losing something, and he wouldn't be able to get it back. She was saying if you kill me thats your loss. This line was important because Desdemona knew she couldn't really escape death. She couldn't escape her fate. She knew what ever was to happen would happen. Therefore she didn't fight off Othello. She tried what she wanted, but never got physical. With the line "ay my lord" she still is looking at othello as her husband, even though she knows he is planning on killing her. She knows he was tricked, but kept with it. In her eyes she was meant to die. I delivered this line fast, and direct. I did that to let my partner, who was Othello that Desdemona still loved him. I made sure that most of my lines were direct so that Desdemona was still on the defense. I made sure Desdemona was on the defense with most of the lines I said.

I think our performance went as expected. It went how we planned. I had fun doing the scene with my partner. I think we really got across the strangle part of the scene. Since strangling is so physical, and brutal I think we did a good job. We really took the roles seriously. I think that being Desdemona was fun, because I got to act different from what I would have not normally been. Normally, I would have been Othello, but because we switched I got to be Desdemona. The only thing I would have done differently was know my lines. I think it would have been more fun, not reading of the paper. For the 2 scenes where I sat there as a dead desdemona, I probably would have laughed in scene 8. Other than that I felt like my partner and I did a fine job. Shakespeare is a hard text to speak, and understand so I think we read well. We also were serious during our scene. That was due to how many times we practiced it. We practiced our parts a lot of times, and I think it reflected in our scene.

When performing it, the scene came alive to me. It made me understand how it feels to have someones hands around my neck. I know how the scene plays out. The scene was important in the story. So I'm glad I got to be apart of it. I wasn't nervous about doing the scene. I was looking forward to doing it with my partner. I like acting, so I was ready to do the scene.

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Othello Benchmark

Benchmark Journal #1 


That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
That she loves him, 'tis apt and of great credit:
The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature, 
And I dare think he'll prove to Desdemona
A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
Not out of absolute lust, though peradventure
I stand accountant for as great a sin,
But partly led to diet my revenge, 
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leap'd into my seat; the thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
And nothing can or shall content my soul
Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife, 
Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do,
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on, 
I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb—
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too—
Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me.
For making him egregiously an ass 
And practicing upon his peace and quiet
Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confused:
Knavery's plain face is never seen tin used.

I think he definitely is talking to himself, but also he is sharing his thoughts with the audience so that they know his heartfelt decisions. Making in the beginning he could be pacing around,thinking to himself, and just tapping his hand on his head. But in the middle of it, he could be looking up to the sky/.ceiling because he may be in pain at the fact that this is happening. "Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;And nothing can or shall content my soul.Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife, Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor At least into a jealousy so strong.That judgment cannot cure."Reading this quote can make me imagine his in vain at the thought of jealousy, and he can "talk to a high power" of how nothing can make him feel content with his soul. He could be asking higher power for something to make him feel a little satisfied.


Benchmark Journal #2 Investigating Perspective

When Emilia grew suspicion upon Iago's plan to kill othello, there were many ways she saw this coming. For one in the scene's of when Cassio asked Emilia "Give me advantage of some brief discourse with Desdemona alone.", she let it happen but was also curious of why he wanted to do so.

Another instance is when Iago so willingly and desperately wanted Emilia to fetch the handkerchief for him and steal it from desdemona (not knowingly) and give it to Iago.Iago takes it from her when she does see him, and she makes her swear not to tell anyone about his/her whereabouts.

We can see that in the first couple of scene's she is described as young, and she is Iago's wife. She is also the attendant of Desdemona. Being the smart intelligent woman she is, she gives much advice to her friend desdemona of the laws of relationships and men. Such as the speech she gave her. Iago uses her friendship with desdemona to get to her steal her handkerchief and later put it on Cassio's property to make it look like they had an affair and this would be "proof" that they had an "affair". Emilia didn't wanna do it, so he took it from her). 310-320


Benchmark Journal #3 Events during the Play

The Duke of Venice:

I think The duke is a wise man. He decided that instead of just sentencing Othello to death, he made the wise decision of letting Desdemona speak for herself and confess her love towards Othello. He told Brabantio that if he let her love Othello, maybe they will all be happy.There wasn't really much said of the duke, or so many clues to say who the duke was, but he also was the one who appointed Cassio Governor of Cypress since Othello was recalled from it. This shows his responsibility towards the rulership of Cypress because he knew that if Othello was going through all of these "trials" and disappointments and ups and downs in his life, then he is to busy to be looking over this area and people. This leads me to think, that he is a responsible man, (who should be since he is the duke of venice). His decisions depending what they should do with Othello in this scene is also very important, since he is responsible for what happens. He runs the house in this scene,no one else does.


Benchmark Journal #4 Actions

Im bringing Power, since The duke of Venice is the most powerful in the room. He runs the courtroom so  he has to act very powerful and high.

I would wear a cloak with a cain maybe, and also i would probably wear a fancy hat. 

To have certain gestures to show what we are doing, such as bowing down and hand kisses, and also acting elderly and old.


Journal #5 Analysis 

“What in your own Part can you say to this” Fetch Desdemona Hither”-Duke.

I thought this was very important for the play because it describes the responsibility that the Duke has. He has to sentence anyone who is unjust, and make the decisions in the court. But instead of just sentencing the Moor to death, he orders for the guards to go get Desdemona, to hear her side of the story. He wasn’t racist like everyone else int he room was, and he was definitely wasn’t drawling to conclusions. This shows that he probably has been through this before, and using his knowledge from his past experience to get to the solution of this conflict.

I wasn’t there for the performance, but when i practiced my lines with my group, I realized that the Duke is a very powerful man. He is like a judge in medieval times, but he delivered a powerful presence towards the court and the people. For me this meant that i would have to act manly(since he was a man), but a powerful man. Perhaps walking slowly with a cloak on, rod in my hand, and stroking my beard. When the Duke says “Fetch Desdemona Hither”, i imagine him saying it with a wave of his hand as if he is ordering his peasants around. Practicing it had made me realize that becoming the Duke, wasn’t an easy task. Being the Duke was fun, however, since I was the most valued in the room, I had to act like w as of high value. Changing into someone the total opposite of me is hard. Im personally to myself at times, and laugh all the time. The Duke was to be taken seriously, so i had to hide my smile and put on a facade. I was a gentlemen, who took into consideration other’s side of the story, instead of jumping to conclusions.

My understanding of my character and every other character in the play Othello, made me realize how every action and every word that someone says out there mouth is extremely important on how they act. Just the smallest gestures mean so much, a touch on the leg, a kiss on the knee, a bow... the smallest things can be considered a huge act of respect or disrespect. There are so many sneaky and clever people in the plays of Shakespeare, and the way he wrote Iago was very intriguing in a way. He always had a plan B, just incase someone said something wrong that wasn't in his maniacal plan. The language, both verbally, and bodily functions can be a big influence o how the play would turn out. Just like the Shakespeare instructor mentioned to our class when he visited said, There wasn’t any “queues” or lines that gave the “signal” to make an action. They were the professionals deciding on their own what to do, who to talk to, and where to go. Its all in the wording, and the wording is what you make of it.

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Othello Benchmark Richard V. Yoeun

Richard V. Yoeun

English Shakespeare Scenes

Prompt: One

 He takes her by the palm. “Ay, well said, whisper! With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do, I will give thee in thine own courtship. You say true, 'Tis so, indeed.” 

Notes: In what Iago is saying is that he seems to be plotting up a plan while speaking to the audience. He tells the audience that Cassio has all the needed feeling towards Desdemona to show a false show of what Othello will think is real. Also where he says "Smile upon her" it seems that he's speaking to Cassio as well but keeping it down low. To me, it just seems that he's planning out his next moves and that he now knows what he is going to do with Cassio and Desdemona. Iago also states that he can be slick because he states that he can use things to his advantage. He would switch his speaking and delivering techniques when he first starts of the monologue and then moves slowly towards himself and the audience to speak about what he can do. To all the problems that came upon this play, everything seems to easily set up for Iago to set up a plan with little action what so ever, the only time he ever done action was Stabbing Cassio in the leg and killing Roderigo.

Prompt: Two

Act 5 Scene 1 


Iago stabs and kills Roderigo

What this person had seen personally was Iago laying the final blow upon him and killing him. It was what he was last where he says Iago's name and calls him a dog. Roderigo was within Iago’s plot the whole time and now that Iago finally kills him, I find it that he is now gone for the mishaps of others. What he was told was that Iago told him that he was done here alive and with the plan that Roderigo thought Iago was just a good man. Iago now continues with his evil plan to screw over Othello and Roderigo is out of the picture. What we could understand is that Roderigo was betrayed and that he now knows that Iago was no one to ever trust in life. In the book that we have read, Iago is now a person that all the characters trust but should not be trusting at all.

Prompt: Three


Iago was growing up as a liar. He lied about almost anything and everything that his father and mother brought up to him. Soon after when he turned 7, his mother died and from there he regretted lying to her. His father was never a kind heart and when Iago would try to tell his dad the truth, he would get beat for his father thought it was a lie. Iago's father never really loved him and never paid any attention to him what so ever. Iago's father was the main reason he lies and now he grew up becoming more cunning and evil. Iago now has gone through a lot in his past and now Othello and Desdemona now believe that he is kind, honest, good, and such. He lies so well that he now has people believe in what he says with little problems.


Prompt: Four

- What specific actions, movements, and tone of voice are you bringing to your character during your performance? What I will be doing is circling around Othello and whispering when serious lines are being made. My tone will be a mid british-accent. I will get louder when I act surprised

- What PROP and/or COSTUME item is your character going to have? (It is your job to brainstorm one item that you are responsible for. Some props are clear, like a handkercheif or a wine glass. Others will take a little more creativity!) My costume is a dress shirt, tie formally dressed as a business man to shows easy lies. I will have my glasses and a book as a prop.

- What is going to make your group's presentation stand out? What have you worked on and agreed on as a group for your scene? Projection of voice and character will gives us a shocking appearance. What we agreed on is that I should be slick and sinister.


Prompt: Final

- Analyze one of your lines from your scene. Quote it directly and then explain why it is important to the play, and how you showed its importance in your performance. How did you deliver this line?

The line that I delivered was when Iago said to Othello, “O, beware my lord, for jealousy is the green eyed monster which doth mocks the meat it feeds on …” From there I feel that Iago is telling Othello that jealousy is a bad thing, but he’s pushing Othello to become jealous. The way that I showed its importance is how I put more emphasis on those lines more than any other. The way I said it was with a strong tone and quick paced tone. I was feeling when I said it and it felt really strong to get into character and from what I kept hearing with the Audio, I wanted to be Iago and give it my best. I tried to change the tone of how I spoke when I was speaking casually or when I wanted to get into Othello’s head.

- Did your group's performance go as you expected and planned? Now that it is over, what are you proud of? What would you have done differently in your performance?

            Our group did a wonderful job at performing that scene. From Alaina playing Othello, she did a little threaten when we were performing because I kept pushing “Othello’s buttons” by mocking him. I think I sold it when I threw my glasses on the floor and that’s what I’m really proud of because it went to perfectly. What I would have done differently was get more props to continue with a whole understanding of the story. I wanted to look more cunning and sinister by playing a soft-spoken villain but when needed to just go all out berserk.

- How did performing the play change your understanding of it? 

            When performing the scene for Othello I thought about how much more evil Iago could be. To get into Othello’s mind and just fill his thoughts about Desdemona cheating on him with Cassio. I understood more of Othello’s point from where he said a line about Iago repeating everything he is saying. What I find kind of interesting is that Desdemona had such little lines within this scene. After Desdemona and Othello are done speaking, Iago says “my noble lord –“ and I wonder from there does he say it with a way that he’s just coming in from another room, or is he trying to sound innocent. Because saying so, it was right after Desdemona leave Othello and I find that very suspicious of acts that iago could be planning more.

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Othello BM Journals by Nia Hammond

Prep #1:

(Act 2 scene 1)

She that was ever fair and never proud,
Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
Never lacked gold and yet went never gay,
Fled from her wish and yet said “Now I may,”
She that being angered, her revenge being nigh,
Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,
She that in wisdom never was so frail
To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail,
She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind,
See suitors following and not look behind,
She was a wight, if ever such wights were—


In the first line, Iago should be looking at Desdemona as he speaks, because she just asked Iago a question in conversation. At "ever" and "never", he should raise his voice a bit to appeal to Desdemona (and be on her good side) by stressing the complimenting words. Since it becomes apparent that Iago is using opposites to describe this woman, he should stress the opposite words and phrases throughout the rest of the soliloquy (i.e. yet never, at will, etc.). When he switches to speaking to the audience, he should face them but still kind of hint with his body language that he's speaking of/to Desdemona. If he were speaking to someone like Othello, his words would sound humbled and slowed, because he knows Othello trusts Iago and values what he has to say. In the middle, he should be more flowing with his words to a point where he's almost rushing, but not completely. As he nears the end of the soliloquy, Iago's body should slowly turn back to addressing Desdemona and finish energetically.

Prep #2:

I am talking about Cassio. 

The important scenes Cassio appears in include the scene where he is being convinced by Iago to have drinks (Act 2, scene 3), where he is trying to get his job back through Desdemona (Act 3, scene 3), and when he is speaking to Bianca (Act 3, scene 4), his Cyprus woman. In Act 2 scene 3, Cassio sees that Iago is trying to be hospitable by inviting him for drinks at a part in honor of Othello. He knows enough to refuse the drinks at first because of his actions while drunk. He's told by others (Iago) that one drink won't hurt him that much, and in turn is convinced enough to have some to drink. In the next scene, after losing his job, Cassio is giving Desdemona putting his best forward because he wants his job back so badly. In that, he is ensured that he will get his job back after Desdemona clears it with Othello. Finally, when displaying affection to Bianca, Cassio sees nothing of it, but the audience sees Iago's master plan loosening up a bit. By these few scenes, the only things that seems to matter to Cassio are Bianca and surviving on his job. By focusing only on his scenes, we don't really see much of Iago's plan in the bigger spectrum. Seeing only the scenes they are in creates a nice filter for a deeper understanding of the play. 

Prep #3:

Before the period the play was set in, Othello lived in Africa, with his mother and father, and before he left to find different paths outside of his own home continent, Othello's mother went on to give him a very valuable and magical handkerchief. He was to give it to his only love. Somewhere along the way to becoming general of the army in Venice. Before making his way up, Othello was enslaved by people who took him for granted. As many slaves were treated, Othello was treated quite harshly, and because of how badly he was treated before meeting Desdemona and becoming a general, he learned to never put people through what he went through. Only in some instances would he lose his temper and went against his promise to himself. As a person, he learned how to be gentle and love. As a general, Othello learned how to take out all of the anger (on his enemies) and frustration that he once had as a slave. That is why Othello is the way he is in the play. 

Prep #4:

As Othello, I move quickly and since I just killed Desdemona in the play, I'm also a little frantic and in fight or flight mode. With that, my speech is quicker and I act suspicious of something in front of Emilia. My emotions are a wreck. My character is going to have a dagger, because in the lines, there is talk of a sword being pulled out and Emilia's boldness against it. Our presentation stands out because, although it is a little short, it is filled with lots of detail. To me, that detail contains a coming down from the climax of the play, the climax being Desdemona's death. It stands out because of the rapid back and forth responses between Othello and Emilia, and then Othello's realization in his mistake. There is also a bit of physical blocking, which, for some people, makes it more interesting.

Final entry:

The line from my scene, originally in Act 5, scene 2, has Othello say:

“Ay, ’twas he that told me [on her] first.

An honest man he is, and hates the slime

That sticks on filthy deeds.”

This, coming from Othello, is a line explaining to Emilia part of the reason why he killed Desdemona. He’s telling her that her husband, “honest Iago,” told him that Desdemona was cheating and ultimately that lead to her own death. At this, Emilia became upset, which led to the little scuffle on stage as the lies Iago told unfolded. The alliteration in “slime that sticks” was delivered with emphasis on the “s” to make it sound like Desdemona’s “crime” was the worst possible she could have done. 

I believe that my group’s performance did well. It was good that both of the people in our scene had the power to be able to not break character and be loud enough to stress the tensity of the situation that was happening at that very moment. Besides the lack of a better dagger/sword prop, I think that everything went smoothly for our scene. Now that it’s over, I’m glad that we could spend a lot of time rehearsing to get even better than the last time we ran through the scene. What I mean is that every time we rehearsed the scene there was a higher amount of energy going into it, and so gradually we got better. So, our best performance was the one in front of the class because of that. The only thing that we could have done differently that our Shakespeare mentor suggested was going completely crazy in the scene. If we were off script completely, there could have been more action. Being that we didn’t have a lot of rehearsal time, though, it is understandable why we didn’t get that far.

Performing plays, especially those by Shakespeare, always make things more clear than just reading them. There is an altogether different interpretation of the characters, and when you study/act as one character you begin to feel how they felt in the play. It gives a higher comprehension because when you act out all the movement, blocking, and emotions of the characters it’s better seen than read. That is, because when you see someone crying in real life, sometimes you begin to feel sorry or at least concerned for them. In a book, you know why they are crying, and it doesn’t really move or impact you as much. Now, I know more of Othello’s feelings, background, and reactions to different situations. You kind of create an understanding of your character’s actions and why things played out the way they did when performing.

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Othello BM Journals - WGeary

 Wynn Geary,

Friday May 3rd 2013 

E Band



(Iago sits on the side of the stage, his feet dangling off the stage. He has a perplexed look on his face.) “I have rubbed this young quat almost to the sense,” (He brings his arms up to his face while he is saying his line and makes a face, acting as though he is popping a pimple.) “And he grows angry. Now,” (He imitates a mad Othello.) “whether he kill Cassio” He takes out a wooded dagger and acts as if Othello has just stabbed him) “Or Cassio him,” (He turns the dagger around and acts as if he is stabbing Othello) “or each do kill the other,” (He pretends to stab Othello and then acts as if he is dying as well) “Every way makes my gain.” (He smiles widely to the audience. Then suddenly, it fades.) “Live Roderigo, He calls me to a restitution large Of gold and jewels that I bobbed from him As gifts to Desdemona.” (A look of greed/plotting crosses his face) “It must not be.” (He twirls the dagger in his hands) “If Cassio do remain He hath a daily beauty in his life That makes me ugly.” (He puts his fingers up to his head to look like the devil, and makes a sad face) “And besides, the Moor May unfold me to him—there stand I in much peril.”  (He stops twirling the knife and grasps it with both hands and points it up.) “No, he must die.” (Pause) “But so, I hear him coming.” (He stands up and scampers into a hiding place).


Emilia appears in Act 2, scene 1, Act 3 scenes 3 and 4, Act 4, scenes 2 and 3, and Act 5 scenes 1 and 2. In the beginning o the play, she not only observes, but is an instrumental pawn in Iago’s plan to “dethrone” Othello. She gives Iago Desdemona’s handkerchief. Secondhand, I feel like Emilia is somewhat out of the loop in the play, She doesn’t realize how absolutely insane Iago is until like the last scene. I think that Emilia being “out of the loop” explains a lot about her “motivations”. She really doesn’t fully get what’s going on, and for anyone that’s out of the loop, not just her, that can lead to uneducated decisions being made. I think that essentially, Emilia being out of the loop shows that her actions are neither right nor are they wrong, they are simply uneducated and while they still are critical in the progression of the story, they don’t have either a positive or negative motivation behind them. If we zoom in on one of her scenes in particular, in act 3 scene 3 she picks up Desdemona’s handkerchief and gives it to Iago, if you focus on only this scene, her actions only become increasingly more disjointed.  



When Iago was a boy, he grew up in a small house in a northern Italian town called Padova. His father was a metalsmith for the army; his mother, a stay at home mom who kept watch of Iago and his brother and sister. Iago and his siblings spent their days in the woods and meadows just outside of town; Iago (being the youngest) always had to be the villain in any games they played. Some say that the oppression of his siblings lead to Iago becoming coldhearted and jealous, explaining to an extent his becoming twisted and doing the awful things he did later in life. As a teenager, Iago studied and he spent more time with books than girls - and as a result had few relationships. 

That all changed when (to the excitement of his father) he joined the army and moved to Venice. He met a girl there, also from a small town. Iago and Emilia braved the city of Venice and soon found themselves in love. Even after they were married, Iago’s jealousy showed, he would become angry with Emilia when he saw her talking to men, even in the market. After years of living together in Venice, As Iago moved up in the army ranks, he and Emilia moved to Cyprus, where “Othello” takes place. 


There isn’t a whole lot we could do with our scene, yes, 2 people die, but we just didn’t feel like we had tons of control over the way that it happened. A couple of the things that I (Iago) do are, run onto the stage panting a little bit, yelling a couple of curse words, and then doing a little choreographed stabbing of Emilia. My plan is to make a cardboard dagger, it’d be great if I could find a legitimate looking dagger, but I don’t think that’s possible given the amount of time. I also have a cool puffy white button down shirt that I think will be the perfect thing to wear during the performance. I think that the main thing that makes our group’s performance stand out is that we have the finale. Everyone except for Iago dies and I think it’s the only scene where almost everyone ends the scene lying on the floor. In terms of things that our group has planned out, the biggest thing is the stabbing, we have a little choreographed thing and it seems to run smoothly in rehearsal so, fingers crossed it goes well tomorrow. 


“I told him what I thought, and told no more than what he found was apt and true.” This is a line that brings the audience up to speed on what has happened and brings Emilia up to speed as well so that she finally realizes all of what’s been going on. In rehearsal I spoke this line with a partially guilty tone, although I’d realized that Iago isn’t guilty at all, so I  to switch it to more of a sly tone. I was really surprised at how great everybody’s performance was, last minute I felt like I totally had to step it up. I messed up once because I thought I had one more line before it was my cue. I had to fumble with my script to deliver my last line. Otherwise, I think our presentation went really well. We all remembered our lines for the most part and our choreographed stabbing went really well. I was a little lost at the end because no one clapped and we had to announce that the scene was over, but other than that I think it was great. 

I’m proud of remembering my lines, honestly, if I had one more day with my script I wouldn’t have needed it at all. There are more things that I wished I had done then hand’t done, I think we could have been more creative with our skit for sure. I think that it would have been awesome to have a full on long rehearsal before the real performance so that we could have noted what other groups were doing and had time to make some minor edits to our own skits. I know this is a really simple answer, but watching the full play all the way through made me have a fuller understanding of the play. Being able to sit down and see the entire story of the play all in one sitting opposed to reading the book, stoping and leaving parts of the story disjointed and rough. This really connected the story completely and shed light on parts of the play that may not have made sense when reading the book. 

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