Drama Explorative strategies – playing the role of Kipps in The Women in Black
* “The Women in Black” the thriller performance written by Susan Hill, and was adapted into a play by Stephen Mallatratt. In this play, an older Kipps enlists an actor to help him tell the story of the
* ‘Woman in Black’, hoping that with his help, it will let him move on from the hauntings and events. The actor plays the part of the young Arthur Kipps while Kipps plays the roles of the people he met, and typically ends with the women in black appearing.
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* Our first use of the explorative strategies was that of still images of key moments of the play. Two groups were given the opportunity to explore different moments of heightened tension.
* In my group our first still image consisted of Kipps first visual meeting of the women in black. myself portraying Jerome, had my face to the floor with his neck craned. Sherif playing Kipps also had his body facing the audience but was looking over his shoulder with a confused, shocked and amazed look on his face, at the imaginary women in black which was symbolised in this by a coat hanger.
* This still image was effective as it symbolised the confusion and inquisitive tension being made by Kipps’ one look.
* I particularly enjoyed the second groups still image, in which they portrayed the rescue attempt to where Kipps struggles to save the dog. Kipps was bent over, with one knee soiled into the ground, stretching forward with all his might, the body language revealing his frantic feelings to save the dog. The women in black is stood over Kipps with her neck craned and her arms stretched out, with her hands drooping, suggesting she is causing all of the horror. I liked this group so much as it vividly depicted the whole play in a single still image.
* In order to enhance our understanding of the non-major character Keckwick we were given the task of hot-seating him.
* In my group, we set up the hot-seating so that Keckwick is sitting on his horse and trap, I then took the role of Kipps and asked him many questions to which we all found out that Keckwick is a very troubled, lonely and sad man, all due to the evil and vindictive women in black. This excersise allowed us to divert out attention away from the main characters and focus on the less dominant ones in order to truly understand the detail of the calatoral damage done by the women in black within in the play.
* To amplify our understanding of how he language of stage directions can create a mood and atmosphere we were asked to read three pages of dialogue from the play (48-50).,we were put in groups of 5 and asked to create Kipps nightmare using sound and voices,
* plus lighting to add the atmosphere. My group decided to have 3 of us repeat 3 different phrases repetitively while circling him meanwhile the lights were being switched on and off, as we finished, Kipps who is tossing and turning springs up to life and screams “STELLA!”
* as we performed this our faces were blank are voices became louder and louder each time we finished our phrase while Kipps topped it off by screaming out stella the lights switching on and then finally off. This short scene gave me the insight of how although on the surface Kipps is okay and seems to be dealing with the Women in black fine, he is deeply afraid of her.
* This task was effective as it truly showed how a mood and atmosphere can be created using voice volume, lighting and a few lines of stage directions.
* In order to augment our understanding of the villagers of Crythin Gifford we were asked to take up the role of one. We moved around the space showing fear in facial expression, movement and dialogue.
* We then added in a narration through which we were all instructed to react to, as Kipps walked through the villagers they would move away swiftly, avoid eye contact and finally go from making a lot of noise to absolutely none at all, this highlighted the feelings which the villagers would have been feeling as Kipps walked through the village,
* it also shows how Kipps must have been feeling at this point. This was effective as it highlighted that movement, facial expression and the essence of silence can truly cause a feeling of fear and suspense at the same time.
* To fully understand how crosscutting and change in scene can be done swiftly without much effort. To do this there was a box filled with a variety of costumes and small props. We were the put into groups and were instructed to choose one of the stories from the play,
* one playing the actor, one playing Kipps and changing character by simply removing or placing a prop on your body. My group decided to cross-cut back and forth frequently from the Actor and Kipps to Kipps and Keckwick. By the actor placing a coat on along with holding a briefcase he immediately became Kipps and Kipps by just placing a hat on his head became Keckwick and immediately when this was reversed they became their original characters again.
* This simple exercise was operational as it showed me how a simple change in prop/costume can change a character in an easy motion.
* Throughout this exploration, by rendering a variety of roles, I extended my understanding of the play “the women in black” as a whole and the different layers within it.