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Artists Use Of Facial Expressions Through Words And Illustrations

1226 words - 5 pages

Neil Gaiman's version of A Midsummer Night's Dream from his book The Sandman: Volume 3:

Dream Country is a twisted version of the well known Shakespeare play that includes an audience of

strange creatures, some of which were used in the play. With the help of artist Charles Vess, Gaiman's

version of A Midsummer Night's Dream comes alive through bold colors and imagery and the use of

facial and body expressions that differ among those who are human and those who are not. This paper

will look at the different forms of facial expressions that the artists used both with words and

illustrations: from the somber and diminutive expressions of the humans to the sinister and gleeful

smiles of the strange audience that watches them.

Gaiman's version of A Midsummer Night's Dream involves an array of characters though only

few have a solid dialog. The humans in this version includes a very noticeable character, William

Shakespeare himself, and a few others such as his son and the acting troupe he was with that premiered

his play, A Midsummer Night's Dream. In Gaiman's rendition, Shakespeare takes his actors to premier

A Midsummer Night's Dream to a creature known as the Shaper. The Shaper explains to Titania that he

and William came to an agreement four years ago. Shaper would give something to Shakespeare, which

can be presumed is the ability to write world renown plays and sonnets, and in return, Shakespeare

would write and premier two plays for him (Gaiman, 64). It is understandable, that therefore,

Shakespeare would have such a worried and somber expression on his face. If something were to go

wrong, it would end disastrously.  

Most of the acting company does not have lines outside what they recite in the play except for

Richard Burbage who speaks to the Shaper with Shakespeare and again about gold for their play. The

actors, when acting, are usually drawn in a neutral or somber expression, probably because the scene in

the play requires that form of facial expression and the fact that they are performing for an audience of

what appears to be creatures and demons and powerful beings. Though they are brightly colored and

their faces have no shadows, it is easy to tell from the slants of brows and mouths that they are not

overly pleased to be performing. Most of the faces are drawn on angles, emphasizing the possibility of

not wanting to show too much expression towards the audience as well. Shakespeare's face is always

one of pain and sorrow. He knows the deal he made with the Shaper is risky, he knows he cannot

disappoint him lest there be hell to pay. On page 60, Shakespeare's face goes from surprised to

depressed when he sees Shaper and Titania sitting in the front row observing his every move and the

moves of his acting company (Gaiman, 60). On page 69, Shakespeare's facial expression turns to one of

agony when Shaper reveals the death of his friend Kit Marlow and gets regretful and angry...

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