ARTS 100 Land Shark Assignment

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ARTS 100 Land Shark Assignment

ARTS 100 Land Shark Assignment

When is a shark just a shark? Consider the movie Jaws. What could the shark symbolize in our culture, society, or collective human mythology other than a man-eating fish? Why? Support your answer.

Next, think about a theatrical staging of Jaws. Describe the artistic choices you would make to bring Jaws, the movie, to Broadway. What genre would you choose? Describe at least three other elements of production and how you would approach them in your staging of Jaws as a stage play or musical.

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ARTS 100 Land Shark

ARTS 100 Land Shark

Why do sharks attack?

Despite misleading media reports suggesting that shark attacks are on the rise, such assaults on humans are exceedingly rare and even more rarely are fatal. While the number of recorded shark attacks has risen in recent years, the rate per capita has not. Our species is simply undergoing a massive population explosion, so there are more people spending time in the water, especially as aquatic recreation opportunities expand, and thus more of us being exposed to the risk of an elasmobranch encounter. We are also developing far more effective methods of documenting and cataloging these encounters, which may have been underreported in the past—and, maybe most important, we are gaining a greater understanding of why run-ins with sharks, as infrequent as they are, occur in the first place.

The oversimplified prevailing wisdom, until recently, attributed shark attacks on humans to misdirected feeding attempts. That is, we thought that sharks took a bite or two out of humans because they looked like food and, in most cases, decided that they weren’t, to the sometimes fatal detriment of the bather in question. That is not, as it turns out, entirely inaccurate. However, a constellation of other factors accounting for shark attacks have emerged in the wake of intensive study of shark behavior. The image of surfers, arms dangling off their boards, being perceived as seals from below by sharks has largely been discarded. Sharks have extremely powerful vision and are unlikely to mistake a surfer for a seal. However, in turbid waters, the erratic motion of humans and the contrast between their skin and their attire can confuse sharks. It is thought that especially in shallower waters near shore, where smaller species such as blacktip and spinner sharks may go to feed on schools of smaller fish, many shark encounters occur out of simple confusion. The shark, hardwired to snap at anything looking remotely like a thrashing fish—such as a foot with a tanned top and paler bottom—may accidentally bite a human in the churned-up surf of a crowded beach. In most cases, these types of encounters consist of a single bite, after which the shark flees.

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