Drama Exploration Notes
In “The Homecoming” Pinter uses the language shown in the play as a way of it not to be trusted, however what they are thinking to themselves is what should be trusted. Thinking past what is actually being said and the meaning behind it, will uncover what the character is trying to say. The language throughout the play is a game being played by the characters using it to get at each other. The way they are polite to one other is their version of taunting and being horrible to the other person.
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Non- Verbal Communication
In this play, Pinter uses a lot of long pauses in each seen. This clearly creates tension between the characters and the a tense atmosphere for the audience. Doing this, it shows how broken the relationships are between the family. To explore further into the non verbal communication side of the play, in a lesson, we were split into pairs, and were asked to perform a small scene of the play where Ruth asks for a glass of water from Lenny, to then Ruth trying to seduce him. We were allowed to read through the scene and practice it with the words. Then we were asked to perform it with out using communication through mimes and the use of movement. At first I found it difficult to mime without it making no sense but after practicing it it was fine. We used eye contact and gestures between one another as communication without the use of words.
Within this play looking into a deeper meaning, the characters explain a lot about their background story, especially Max. Max is the parent of Lenny, Joey and Teddy. He shouts and swears a lot at his children to keep in power over them as he is growing old and they are stronger than he is. The relationship with his boys is barely there since he was never there for them while they was growing up. Teddy is the eldest of the three. He’s shown to be quite a timid man, not liking to get into arguments or confrontations. He has a wife called Ruth, who as the play continues, creates complication and
hassle between the family. He is a university professor of Philosophy, so he feels superior to his brothers. Ruth is the only female in the play. As a result, fitting in nicely within the family, with all the boys lapping at her feet. Ruth instantly becomes the head of the house, and tries to tear the family apart. Visual, aural and spatial elements
To explore in this section we did a practical task as a group where we did tablos that related to the play. We picked out key phrases from the play, and repeated them over and over again. We used different lighting to interpret different atmospheres and the effect it would have on the audience, for the spacial element, we all stayed together in one big group, to create tension. Towards the end of our little scene, we spread out between the chairs whispering out line, making it awkward and tense the audience who would’ve been sitting next to us. In the play itself, the furniture is noticeably spaced out across the room, giving the audience the idea that their relationship as a family is distant. The lighting is kept natural, giving off an eery atmosphere. There our no sound effects used within the play so it’s kept naturalistic.
For this we was put into pairs, and picked out the scene were Teddy first speaks to Lenny. We interpreted this in a more serious and awkward scene. We stretched out the pauses fro longer and added pauses in the create the tension and the tense atmosphere between them both. We kept the pace and a slow one, to really give it it’s effect to the audience. We characterised Lenny as a more mad and violent person, who’s going nuts, and for Teddy, even more timid and scared. The dynamics were kept very minimum, we mainly just used eye contact and gestures.
Response to the Practitioner
Pinter uses quite a variety of techniques within his play, for example when Teddy and Lenny first speak, there are pauses between each line, and they also use gestures and eye contact. Pinter had taken what would’ve been a nasty punch up between family relations, and turned it into a comedy, with the twist to the play, it makes it more enjoyable for the audience. The development of each character has a hint of comedy within them, although in some moments what is happening is serious, like when they look back on their past, but it mainly just comical.
For this we were split into pairs, we were asked to pick out a scene and give it a unusual twist, changing the volume, pitch and pace. In my pair we picked out the scene where Ruth wants to go for a walk and asks for the key off Teddy. We picked out key phrases and repeated them, getting louder and higher pitched, quickening the pace after each time we said the phrase. Doig this, added tension to the scene, making the audience feel awkward. Using our voice, we can change the impact of the entire scene, we can make it sad, happy, angry etc. Our voices would also have an impact on the audience depending how we used it, we change our voices to suit what is happening at the present time in the play.
Social, cultural, historical and political context
When Pinter wrote “The Homecoming” in 1965, Britain’s authority had decreased rapidly since the war. Social attitudes had changed dramatically. On the surface, Pinter’s work ignores the social speech of his peers. The play allows us to look in deeper into and enclosed setting, and the world indefinite.