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How to use our exciting new Shakespeare resource with Othello

 

Following our launch of MFFEV5 Cloud Reader, which supports online reading of Shakespeare’s plays in Parts and Cues, and Highlit Text formats, together with a set of castings for around 8 – 12 players, we thought it might help if we show you how to use it.

Let’s explore the MFFEV5 Cloud Reader, using Othello. Also, although the Cloud Reader supports Desktops, Laptops, Tablets, and Smartphones, we’d recommend that you don’t use a Smartphone for this tutorial. Once you know how to use Cloud Reader, its feasible to use a Smartphone, as a reader, but it helps to be familiar with how the Cloud Reader works before moving to the smaller screen. To read Othello on the Cloud Reader, there are three  steps (to heaven) you need to follow and they’re outlined below:

Step One: Select the play you want to read:

The usual way to find the play you want to read is:

  • Go to the Players-Shakespeare.com home page
  • Hover / click on the MFFEV5 menu item (2nd from the left on the menu line). This shows a list of MFFEV5 plays
  • Click on the play you want to read, and a page opens up, showing  the first scene of the play.

However, today you don’t need to do that, because I’ve embedded the play into this tutorial. Of course it’s a lot smaller than the usual pages, but big enough, I hope, for you to work with. You’ll find it at the beginning of this post, above:

Step Two: Set the type size (and font) you want to use:

The first thing you need to do is set the font size (and font type) to what you want to use, depending on your eyesight, the technology you’re using (Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, or Smartphone). It’s also nice, if possible, to get a full verse line on one screen line.

Typically, the rule is simple: the bigger the screen size you’re using, the bigger the font size. So, I use: “Huge” for my 1920 x 1080 desktop; “Large” for my laptop; “Medium”, on my tablet; and “Small” on my smartphone – and on the smartphone I have to view the script in landscape, to get a full verse line on one screen line. Of course, you should set the font size to what suits you.

But how do you set it? What you should do now, in the play window above is:

  • Open the Cloud Reader Configuration window, by clicking on the cogwheel in the top right-hand corner of the  Cloud Reader window.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the configuration page. (See below for a note on scrolling).
  • Click on the radio button for the font size you want to try (you may see the font size changing below the configuration window).
    Whilst you’re here, you can choose the font (serif, sans serif, or typewriter) you want if you’re fussy about that
  • Close the configuration page by clicking on the cogwheel again.

Note on scrolling:

On some browsers (e.g. Chrome on Windows 10) there are two types of scrolling: if your cursor is within the Cloud Reader window, and you scroll, the Cloud Reader window scrolls, but not the rest of the screen; if the cursor is outside the Cloud Reader window, the whole screen scrolls, including the Cloud Reader window. Both of these types of scrolling are useful in different circumstances, so it’s useful to remember this.

Step 3: Choose how you want to see the script:

The Cloud Reader will show you the play script in one of three formats: the full script (like what every edition shows you); parts and cues (where you only see the speeches of one or more characters plus their cues); highlit text (where you see the whole script, but the character(s) you have selected are shown in colour {one colour per character}). In this tutorial, we’re going to use the ‘one character’ option, with both types of display

So how do you change this? You have to do two things: select the character (or characters) you want to focus on; and select ‘Parts and Cues’ or ‘Highlit Text;

Let’s do that now, in the Othello window above:

  • Open the Cloud Reader configuration window by clicking on the cogwheeel in the top right-hand corner
  • Click on the ‘Single part’ radio button
  • Click on the pop-up character list to the right of ‘Single Part’ and select Iago (or some other character)
  • Click on the ‘Parts and Cues’ radio button
  • Close the configuration window by clicking on the cogwheel.

If you’ve chosen Iago, the screen will change to show you: the cues for Iago’s speeches;  his speeches; stage directions and stage direction cues.

Now you can explore Iago’s whole part in the play, by clicking on the different A?S? buttons at the top and bottom of each window. If you do that, you’ll see all Iago’s speeches in each scene. You may be surprised to see that he’s in every scene in the play except one. There’s a prize of a rotten tomato for the first person to let me know what that scene is (email the answer to mffev5:icloud.com).

Now let’s have a look at Iago’s role in “Highlit Text”. To do that:

  • Open the Cloud Reader configuration window by clicking on the cogwheeel in the top right-hand corner
  • Click on the ‘Single part’ radio button
  • Click on the pop-up character list to the right of ‘Single Part’ and select Iago (or some other character)
  • Click on the ‘Highlit Text’ radio button
  • Close the configuration window by clicking on the cogwheel.

If you go back to A1S1 (by pressing on the A1S1 button at the top or bottom of the page), you’ll see that the whole script has returned, but Iago’s speeches are in a rather elegant form of yellow (actually, the yellow that is shown is what your screen decides to show, so if you don’t like it, don’t blame us. One day we plan to let you customise your character colours).

If you’ve got as far as this, and have faithfully followed the instructions, you’re a certified Cloud Reader driver, grade 1. Now you can play a bit. Try out some of the other characeters, by changing the character you’ve selected. ‘Desdemona’ I find particularly interesting, and ‘Othello’ is, of course, worth a look. With characters with smaller roles, you’ll have to search around the various scenes by pressing on the A?S? buttons, unless you know the play well. Or you can have a look at some of the other plays.

This is version 1 of this tutorial, so if you have problems understanding or using it, please give us that feedback at mffev5@icloud.com
Do explore the other play(s) as well as Othello, and have fun.
If you want to know more about the MFFEV5 Cloud Reader, read our launch document – An exciting new-resource for shakespeare lovers

The Director,
Players-Shakespeare.com
Don’t forget – for feedback on the MFFEV5, email us at mffev5@icloud.com

See more about Parts and Cues on our Playreading Page.

 

 

 

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