OH MY GOSH IT’S FINALLY SUMMER AND SOMEHOW IM STILL DOING SCHOOLWORK! Sorry about that…….. anyways, hey guys, welcome back! Today we are talking about colonizing in a tempest! If you are a little confused about what that means, don’t worry, I’m here to explain it! This project was all about colonization. We were learning about what colonization was like in a place called New France! Of course, Ms. Willemse had to add a twist, and alongside learning about colonization, we also had to learn about the tempest! This tempest twist added a who other layer to our final project, which was, recreating the play the tempest in a series of dramatic tableaus! A tableau is a frozen scene where the actors pause in place, say 1 line each and then exit the stage (I’m sorry if that’s confusing, it will make more sense later). Now that I have been through all the explanation of this project, let’s get to the learning!
Our driving question for this project was “How can we use Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and the history of New France to stage dramatic tableaus that help an audience understand the lasting effects of colonization?” wow, a mouthful right? Basically that long driving question essentially means, “How can we use those still play thingies and the and the play the tempest to show how colonization worked in New France?” Well that is a much better rewrite, but now that I have explained what we were trying to learn, let’s explain how I learned it!
The first step to me understanding the driving question was the Tempest active reading sheets. Although these sheets did not focus as much on the colonization aspect of the project they greatly helped me understand the tempest, which was a KEY part to this project. The helped me really understand who the characters were and what the wanted. It also did help me a little bit with colonization, because it showed me that when Prospero (the wizard and main character in the Tempest) had taken over the island he lived on he displaced the natural inhabitants of the island and enslaved them (much like the Europeans did to the First Nations when they arrived in New France). After these reading sheets I felt like I knew the tempest really well, but I still needed to know more about colonization, and that is where are next milestone comes in.
In this milestone we learned a lot about what it was like to live in The colony of new France. It taught us a lot about people‘s roles, what they need to do to survive, and the impact on the first peoples who have been living there for generations. When we did it I got to see multiple perspectives of what life was like. I saw what trade was like in a colony, how much effort it took to get one simple product, and how people adapted to living in a brand new place. It showed me how hard life could be there in a way that the textbooks couldn’t. It showed me what sort of emotions our play needed to emphasize, and it also showed me how the characters should act based on what was happening where they were living. After I really understood what a colony was like, we needed to tie our play together by finding the historical events in new France that we could represent along side the tempest.
In this final milestone we looked through our textbooks and found important historical events that we could represent alongside the tempest. We did this by creating a massive long history timeline and writing events down. We then placed them according to date along the timeline and changed their height according to whether it was a positive or negative event in the relationship between the Europeans and First Nations. The lower the event the more negative impact on the relationship, the higher the event the more positive impact on the relationship. This really helped me because it gave me an opportunity to look at how the colonization had impacted the First Nations who had lived there before the Europeans. Sadly it was a downward trend, and the Europeans were not particularly kind to the First Nations, but it was really eye-opening on how the colonization in this new world was not necessarily a good thing. After we had done all the learning it was then time to create a product!
For our big final product we made a play! As I explained it wasn’t quite a normal play because it was made of tableaus, but it was a success despite its strangeness! Although I didn’t learn quite as much about history in this play, I learned A LOT about performance. For example (it may seem obvious) you need to speak VERY loud to fill a theatre (Ms. Willemse made that clear), but you also need to position yourself towards and audience while speaking or you really make no sound. You may think you’re very loud but in reality no one can hear you. I also learned “YOU NEED TO KEEP QUIET IN THE WINGS” I believe that is a direct quote from Ms Williemse, but it’s true if you make any noise it’s very disruptive to the performers and audience. And even though all of those things I learned seem obvious and boring they were very helpful, and they are what made our performance a success! Although there were some sketchy costume changes, some messed up lines, and a lot of botched rehearsals, we pulled through and made what seems to be a decent play. For our final big humanities project of the year I was pretty happy with our performance!
In conclusion I learned a TON from this project. I learned all about the history of New France and how colonization can be highly destructive to the native people and species, but I also learned how to perform to an audience in the best way possible. Overall I really enjoyed this project, and the skills I took from the performance I KNOW I will use again.
Thanks for reading, and have a great summer!