Drama coursework based on the play Metamorphosis
1. Design a costume for one of the characters in the play “Metamorphosis”
I have decided to design the costume of Greta Samsa. The colour of this costume is black and it is made from cotton with an underlying of black lace. I chose this particular costume because I believe that the black represents Greta’s locked up feelings, things that she is restricted from; the short dresses her father refuses her to wear, the jewelleries that she doesn’t have the money to own and also the makeup that her mother banned her from ever wearing. How it seems like for a young girl who seems to be growing old before her time.
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This costume represents the way Greta wants to feel but unfortunately she can’t. It shows us how lonely Greta is and how her parents never notice because they don’t care much for her.
I also chose this costume because it is quite grotesque which is a theme used in the play metamorphosis. Her dress has an endless amount of skulls in it to represent the death and loneliness of a part of her since the loss of her dear brother. (The loss of her brother mentally but not physically)
2. Write a diary for a chosen character from ‘Metamorphosis’
Extract of the last few entries in the dairy of Greta Samsa
Tuesday 21st April 1987
Gregor came home later than usual today, I can’t help but think the amount of worry and stress shown on his face was triple its usual dose. No one else seems to notice so maybe I’m just exaggerating, I once heard someone say you get worried about the people you love; maybe that’s what’s happening, maybe I am feeling scared of my brother overworking. It’s just sometimes; I wish he would speak to me. We’ve always had a connection Gregor and I, I was always the closest to him. We got along better than he did with any one else and I feel I could tell him everything. He’s promised me the world and had it been anyone else I would think they were joking but not Gregor, he works so hard; I know he’s doing it for me. I’m proud to call him my brother.
Wednesday 22nd April 1987
Today may be my last time on writing on my diary, what I had witness today I realise is always made more real as I write it down.
Gregor hadn’t gotten out of bed by 4.00am, we were very worried about him, we needed the money and we knew that if he didn’t go to work in time someone would come over to check what the problem was. We were right the chief clerk was soon at our door and throughout the panic of my mum and dad we let him in. Mum explained that Gregor was sick and failing to believe us, the chief clerk decided to check on him himself. We all went into Gregor’s room and were greeted by the most gruesome creature I had ever seen.
Thursday 23rd April 1987
He’s dying. My brother is dying, I could see it in his eyes when I came in with the food, a slow and painful death awaits the brother I once loved.
Yet something much worse happened tonight, something for which I shall never forgive myself for. I tried, I really did but yet I couldn’t hide my fear from him for he saw as soon as I came in, he saw that the sister he worked so hard for was afraid, afraid of her own flesh and blood.
I could see it in his eye, see what he was thinking and oh, such a terrible thing to think, such a horrible thing to believe that death was his only release from this cruel world.
4. Reflecting on the scene you performed where Mr. Samsa hits Gregor with the stick, explain how you used explorative strategies to enhance your work.
As it was a short scene, we only used two explorative strategies, freeze frame and slow motion. The scene started with the freeze frame of Gregor and his father: Gregor looking as though he is stretching his arms to his father who is a few inches away from him with a disgusted look on his face. Then the scene was brought into action. Both Gregor and Mr. Samsa moved in slow motion, in Gregor’s case, slowly towards his father – to ask his dad for help as he does not understand what is wrong with him – whereas in Mr. Samsa’s case, moving at a snail’s pace backwards away from his son whom he now believes is a monster.
The scene continues at a normal rate now and Mr. Samsa stumbles on an imaginary stick on the stage. He hurriedly picks up this stick and whilst screaming “You Monster get away from me” He slowly moves the stick towards Gregor and hits this object hard on Gregor. Gregor falls, twitches then is still. Mr. Samsa has a horrified look on his face then he too is also still. This was the final freeze frame.
5. How would you use the following drama mediums to further improve your work: Costume, lighting, set, props, sound effects, music?
If I was to direct the scene in which Mr.Samsa hits his son and ensure that all these mediums are used to improve my work I would have done it like this:
The stage to be the internal part of the family’s house, Gregor’s room behind the stage in the background and On the stage we see Gregor, on his knees, his hands outstretch and surrounding him, all the audience hears is an ominous music played throughout this scene, a song that is suggesting or indicating that something bad is going to happen or be revealed. This music is only silenced when Mr.Samsa says his line. The lights are dimmed so all the audience sees is Gregor – this should represent Gregor’s loneliness as most of the times he is avoided.
The costume is a badly torn waistcoat and white T-shirt with trousers also looking identically torn the audience is meant to be seeing a person uncared and unchartered for. The light in front of Gregor is turned on and his shadow reflects his true self as with his outstretch hands, crooked fingers and crouched body he is seen by the audience as a beetle.
Fear and pain are shown in Gregor’s eyes through exaggerated and grotesque looks at the audience. The light is shone brighter to reveal a still horror stricken Mr.Samsa at the far left corner. His costume is also a black waistcoat, white T-shirt with black trousers with the exception of his being torn to tatters. As the light is brighter, it reveals to the audience that the set is completely empty excluding Mr.Samsa, his son and two pictures one of Mr.Samsa and his wife, the other of Mr.Samsa his wife and a young Gregor and Greta – this picture should remind the audience that they were once a happy family.
The distance both of them have between each other and the space around them indicates that Mr.Samsa and Gregor’s relationship is deteriorating. Mr.Samsa finally directs his attention to Gregor who seems to have notice him and crawled slowly over to his father. The audience should recognise that the status in this scene and also throughout this performance shows that Mr. Samsa has the hierarchy position.
Gregor’s hands are outstretch as he reaches his father, the pain in the eyes seems to almost be replaced by relief as he uttered the cry
“Help me father… help me!”
Mr.Samsa – who had seemed to be frozen due to the horror he had just -witnessed stutters and tries to moves back in shock but appears to have stumbled over an imaginary piece of wood. The ominous music volume is lower and then at a snail’s pace (almost as though in slow motion) he picks up the “wood” and whilst exclaiming
“YOU’RE A MONSTER! GET AWAY FROM ME” (the word monster echoes thrice for affect)
He strikes Gregor with the imaginary prop and walks away, leaving Gregor on the floor. Gregor twitches twice in pain and is then still. This is to frighten the audience so they can empathise with Gregor.
The ominous music is silenced completely, light are dimmed to see just Gregor for a few seconds and then the stage becomes completely dark.
End of scene
6. Write an evaluation of any live piece of theatre you have seen.
This play is called slow time, it is a tale about three prison inmates (Delroy, Ashley and Nabs) in a young offender’s institute speaking to each other through the thin walls of prison. The play began with the newcomer – Delroy – being interrogated by ‘hard man’ Nabs (short for Nabil) due to his loud sobbing the previous night. It continues to portray Nabs as the bully of the prison, Delroy as the novice prisoner and Ashley as the thoughtful, kind and helpful individual.
After viewing the completed play, I felt a mixture of feeling; happiness for the two friends (Delroy and Ashley) who were united again at lunchtime as Delroy had succeeded in stopping Ashley from succumbing to temptation and killing himself. Right after though, due to the sudden realisation that Nabs may plan to murder himself, I also felt sadness for the lonesome, heartbroken boy (Nabs) who couldn’t see himself with a good life if the love of his life (Neela) was not to be part of it.
The stage used in the play was different than most but very intriguing. It is a mini – portable stage which had three parts to it (representing each character’s room/prison cell) there were no walls to separate the three parts so there would be no blocking. For the use of the stage to work; it depended massively on the audience’s imagination but also on the brilliant acting of the characters. The actors had to make their performance truly amazing to make sure that they evoke the imagery of the prison rooms from the audience. They did this by making sure that they made no eye contact with their peers (as they aren’t suppose to be in the same room as them) and spoke thoughtfully with facial expressions that shows that they are thinking and imagining everything they were saying.
By doing all this, it made sure that I fully understood what the story was about and also could easily imaging the missing props (such as the walls and doors) on the stage.
In the play, the following drama mediums were used in the play:
Lighting: The lighting used was a wash, so we could see every character. Whenever there was a monologue to be done or a thought tracking being done by someone, the other two were in a freeze frame so as to let the audience know what is happening.
Sound: The actors in this play were talented so their voice were projected and enunciated and the tone of voice really expressed their emotions and feelings. The sounds from the speakers used in this play were prerecording of different noises of whatever was needed in the flashback e.g. when Nabil remembers a scene in the cafeteria placing bets on the other two committing suicide the racket around was that of a crowded place with a mixture of voices. Also, there is a sound of knife slashing and that of a door banging right before a thought tracking or a monologue is done. At the end of the play, they also included a sad music with a voice over narrating about the cycle of life.
Prop: This play was properly equipped in props so hardly anything was done by gesturing. Some examples of props used in the play are: Ripped sheets (when Ashley was ripping his sheets to try and commit suicide), pillows for the bed in each prison cell and when Delroy was asked what packed he got for his first day (smoker’s or drinker’s) he showed each of the goodies inside the bag.
Costumes: The costumes used in the play were prison uniform, tracksuit shirt and bottoms. This helps the audience to visualize them more in the prison to make it more realistic.
A moment I found particularly dramatic was when Nabil thought tracked/ did a monologue which explains that Neela’s sister had written him a letter telling him that Neela was getting married to Tariq (Nabs best friend) soon and he was forgotten about.
Recently just before that, he’d said:
“NABS: I do. Neela is helping me. All I have to do
is think of her face yeah, that’s all I have to do.
And thass it. Nuttin else comes near. I’m gonna
ask her to marry me, and she’ll say yes. Ca’ we
love each other. One thing new boy, the one
thing yer gonna do as soon as you get out. Just
keep that in yer head, everything else don’t
mean nish. If my man there can’t even do that, I
say let him go. There’s nothing he can do for
This made us realise how much he missed her and how wonderful and meaningful – to his life -he thought she was. The actor’s portrayal of the sadness he felt was brilliant, he was in denial to begin with but the audience followed him each step of the way as soon it slowly dawns on him that the girl he is spending ‘time’ for may be leaving him for good.
The character that I believe caught my attention the most was Nabs because the actor who played him displayed so many emotions for one character. He didn’t just act with his body language, his facial expressions and tone of voice really evoked the viewer’s imaginations and brought the play to life.
A particular example that comes straight to mind is when Nabil spoke of the first time Neela wrote him a note and told him to ask her out, he could remember each world perfectly and used her accents and her body language to demonstrate what it was like for the audience.
The viewers could easily understand that he was fund of her, he could remember every little detail about her and judging by his excellent facial expression of happiness, we could also get that he was very much in love with her.
His tone of voice was so impeccably perfect that they expressed each emotion beautifully; they seem to be in sync with his body language as that also articulates his emotions.
The play was very well thought of and does not lack much but if I was to improve it, I would improve the lighting and make it that whenever someone was doing a monologue, the light would be dim for the other two characters but focused on the main person thought-tracking.