Almost immediately in beginning our process for this project we narrowed our scope in on one particular aspect of Tudor Drama; Robin Hood. I suppose there were other specific artists and stories we could've considered as a focal point for our project, but the moment we stumbled upon Robin Hood it was unanimously appealing. This is probably because it is a story that has survived several centuries at this point, as we are familiar with it in its contemporary form. At least that's what intrigues me about studying Robin Hood. I am familiar with the tale and the hero in his present day depiction, but originally had no knowledge about origin. Through our recent group discussions and personal research I have been learning about the role that Robin Hood played as a sort of religious icon during the Tudor period. What I mean by this is that the image/idea of Robin Hood was publicly known and accessible in such a way that it was able to be easily manipulated by anyone with an agenda (namely Protestants for the sake of argument that we will be pursuing). The only fears I really have about this as a topic are finding enough information that we can cite. Our argument (that we're working on) is the result of using our knowledge of history to fill in gaps and make plausible inferences, but we will of course need to base our assumptions in some sort of fact.
A few days ago I read an article on Robin Hood during the 16th/17th centuries that covered the evolution of the tale/character as well as his connection to religion. What I found interesting is that in this article Robin Hood was apparently an icon for Catholicism in the early 1500s, this just helps illustrate our point of Robin Hood being a universal icon for persuasion since we are using him in the context of Protestants (and almost a century later). A contemporary comparison for the type of icon he serves as would be something like Uncle Sam or Rosie the Riveter. I also thought it was interesting that apparently the original Robin Hood tales never dealt with anything to do with stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. I have never seen any contemporary Robin Hood movies (including the Disney one) or read anything specifically about Robin Hood, so from my fairly ignorant perspective on the matter all I really knew about was the rich/poor concept. If he was ever known for anything to do with thievery in the original tales, it had to do with stealing from monks and giving to common person. This I thought was interesting as well. The article didn't necessarily provide me with any important information about Robin Hood during the Tudor period, but it helped provide me with some contextual information to strengthen our existing research.
We have our presentation tomorrow- time since we started this project has flown by so fast. It's funny how things always seem to fall perfectly together right at the last minute. At the end of this past holiday weekend Rex emailed all of us an article that he had found combined with one of the Robin Hood plays at the end of the article. The article portion of the text perfectly backed up many of the things we hope to communicate in our presentation. We already have all of this information, but complied it together from multiple sources. The source Rex has most recently found contains all of our ideas within itself. This is very comforting to read for me, for I find group research projects to sometimes be a little daunting simply because I do not have time to read everyone's articles/it is impossible to be in everyone's head. The article that Rex found though provided lots of useful information to solidify our "thesis". None of it was really new information, but rather tiny tidbits of info that just confirm the things we already know. This is a very comforting thing to encounter the day before a presentation. Even though the information was mostly familiar, I did learn a few small new things. From it I learned additional information about the May festivals, such as the structure that they were contained within (something I wasn't really clear of up until this point) and exactly how the May festivals evolved into Robin Hood festivals. The article broke down how different villages participated in the May festivals, what roles were assigned at festivals, and how eventually over time these names were changed to reflect the names of characters in Robin Hood's world. It's a small tid bit, but still very useful in the larger context of our project. I hope that our presentation goes well tomorrow.
I was overall satisfied with how our final product turned out. We accomplished what we set out to do in our presentation, and did so in the correct amount of time. To me this says that we did a great job of considering what was most important out of all of the information that we had gathered throughout our researching, and condensing it into the most concise form to be communicated. I thought we did a nice job of having our vocal presentations and visual aids be complimentary, instead of simply just reading off of the slideshow. I think we also arranged our transitions pretty well, every section to me flowed well from one to the next. Did I think we did a perfect job? No, but I mean everything could always use improvement. We took turns speaking in our presentation, but we didn't really plan it out as well as other groups did. Other groups seemed to have given each of their members a clear section of the topic to present to the class. While sometimes that form can get stale, I believe it does have it's benefits. I just feel like with a group project everyone should be able to vocally present for about equal time, and I am not sure that our group really did that, but then again maybe it doesn't matter? Maybe that's a false expectation that everyone in the group should speak. I guess it depends on what the project is being graded on, and as long as you can prove that everyone chipped in in equal weight maybe it is an irrelevant detail. I am writing this blog after all of the presentations have been seen, and so I really quickly wanna give a shout out the the Roman theatre group. I was so impressed with the way they made their presentation a fun, loud, engaging and entertaining performance while still managing to be (mostly) historically accurate and educational. I think they set a really good example of what sort of creative lengths you can take academic work to and still be successful, I am definitely keeping them in mind for future presentations I am involved in.