Dramatic Arts Essay-Brighton Beach Memoirs
Brighton Beach Memoirs is a play about a family who comes together due to an unfortunate death and co-exist under one roof while facing financial troubles. I will be discussing the character Nora and the way that she develops herself and reacts towards the other characters. Nora is a sixteen year old girl living in Brighton Beach, New York in the late 1930’s. She is Jewish and lives with her mother, Blanche and younger sister, Laurie, in her Uncle’s house due to the Death of her father Dave. We first meet Nora when she comes bounding into the house after she has been offered a dancing role in an upcoming Broadway performance. She’s decided she wants to drop out of school to pursue her dream. From this we learn that Nora is a determined young girl who wants to make a name for herself and possibly escape the confines and restrictions of Brighton Beach and her family. Nora’s relationship with Blanche, her mother, is one where she feels she can walk all over her which we see when despite Blanche’ s unwillingness Nora refuses to take no for an answer concerning her involvement in the Broadway musical.
This does not, however, show that Nora has complete disrespect for Blanche as she speaks to Laurie about a plan to help their mother by saving enough money to buy them their own house. During a confrontation she also expresses that she feels badly for wanting to do the musical because of Blanche’s feelings. Nearer to the end of the play during an emotional confrontation we learn that Nora feels neglected by her mother and feels that all of her attention goes to Laurie. Nora and Laurie have a typical sister, sister relationship.
They can be harmlessly rude to each other which Laurie proves by the insults she throws about Nora’s singing when Nora breaks the news about the Audition. Nora is also annoyed about having no privacy because she shares a room with her little sister. On the other hand Nora and Laurie can be very close which we learn when reading about Laurie’s commitment to save money for their own house and they even agree to go to a movie together. Nora is also very jealous of Laurie and the attention she gets due to her “heart flutters” which she expresses to her mother during their confrontation. Nora is Eugene’s romantic obsession for the majority of the play which is only lost while Nora is dating Larry “no chin” Clurman. Eugene proves his affection by obsessing about seeing her naked on a regular occasion and dropping his serviette at dinner just to catch a glimpse between her legs. Nora just views Eugene as her sweet adorable and handsome cousin especially when he vouches for her decision to go on the audition. Nora loves her Uncle Jack but wishes that her father was still alive. She is very reliant on him and not just financially but because it is up to him to decide whether she can audition for the Broadway musical or not. Jack decides that it would be best for her to finish High School. Nora is angry at him and does not accept his decision but still respects him and is grateful for all his help so she decides not only to buy a house with her savings but to pay back Uncle Jack. Nora and Stanley do not have any scenes together but Stanley has seen her naked, which he explicitly tells Eugene, and I can only imagine that Nora expressed concern when Stanley “ran” away.
Kate and Nora also do not have many interactions but Kate refused to make the decision about Nora’s audition so she may have wanted what Nora wanted but did not want to cause a problem. Kate also cares very much about Nora which is shown when she expresses worry due to Nora leaving every night, even on the night Blanche is meant to have a date, however Nora shows little concern and even disrespect for Kate by ignoring her wishes for her to stay and just leaving. Constantin Stanislavski believed that a good actor was one who could draw believable emotions and considering Nora was a teenage girl it is guaranteed that she will be filled with emotion. An actress wanting to play Nora would have to be able to genuinely change the way she feels in an instant as Nora does so well during her fight with Blanche when she goes from not caring to angry and hurt.
Nora feels the loss of her father, the excitement of the audition and the annoyance with her mother and a good actress will have to be able to make the audience feel that as well. In conclusion Nora is an aspiring Teenage girl who has to survive the trials and tribulations of her family. She wants to be able to live her life the way she wants to and in order to capture her true essence she must be played with authentic emotion and devotion to her dreams. Bibliography
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Dramatic Arts Essay-Brighton Beach Memoirs