Evaluation Of GCSE Drama Performance – Gregory’s Girl

Voice:

I was cast as two completely different characters which both spoke with different levels of voice, maturity and knowledge. Strangely the younger of the two characters, Madeline, overtook my other role Eric in each of these three aspects. This gave each of the two characters an interesting twist which meant I had more fun acting them both out.

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I tried to bear in mind the background relationships with each of the other characters when talking to them. For instance When Madeline talks to Richard (Her boyfriend) she would talk with a slightly entranced tone. When Eric talks to Richard (One of his friends) he would probably be quite comfortable with the situation and therefore talk in a loud, festive and in a merry tone.

One of the main things I should have picked up on had I had the ability to do so was the Glasgowegian accent. All the characters come from Glasgow therefore they would talk with an accent from that area.

Madeline is a very mature character yet she is a young girl, this means to attain the desired affect all I had to do was act like I would normally but use a slightly softer tone of voice. Occasionally I would sneak in the odd hint of a young girl, this was mainly via body language. I would act reserved because Madeline is a shy character, e.g. I would talk in a quiet voice and reasonably slow and calm.

Eric was a lot more laddish, mainly due to the fact he is male. Because of his age I had to act very hyper and immature and not at all shy like Madeline. For my main seen I had to emphasise my excitement about the situation and the nurse who was undressing. Eric had no problem expressing his opinions and feelings. He would talk with a very fast pace because of his hyper-active attitude.

Movement:

My movement depended on both the character I was playing and the situation I was in. I would try to show my emotions through both vocal and body language techniques to gain the desired effect.

When playing Madeline because of her reserved nature I would try to dampen down my body movements as movements of the body usually show that you are comfortable with the situation. Madeline when talking to her brother (Gregory) would be slightly calmer and therefore maybe straighten his tie after he had put it on especially due to her strangely obsessive curiosity into the way he dresses. During the football game she might occasionally stand up as if she were about to shout then sit back down and act as though she was embarrassed about standing up in the first place. Overall Madeline is quite a reserved character who would try to prevent herself from attracting too much attention therefore try to restrict her body language.

When playing Eric the body movements would be completely the opposite from how Madeline had acted. Eric, is a typical immature, hyper active teenager who enjoys climbing up trees and having play fights with an open locker. Eric would often show extreme examples of body language, he might for instance push someone and then pretend to punch them or something. In one of the only scenes that Eric was in where a group of similar teenagers were hunched together trying to catch a glimpse of an undressing nurse. This scene was very easy to act as I could empathise with the way the character felt. Basically the character had to act very fidgety and had to persistently try to get to the front of the group constantly inquiring whether or not she had moved or removed an item of clothing. After she had finally removed all her clothing the excitement ended and we were all very much in need of another interesting activity. Overall Eric was a fidgety character as he would be constantly bored and wanting to get out and get on with something, he was very active and aggressive in a playful way.

Set:

Our set was fairly simple, we had to work around the resources we had and the shape and size of the room. This was the general layout of the room and the way we positioned ourselves around the room:

We had two large screens to work with for which we positioned in a way we could wait behind and change costume if necessary. We did use lights but they were of a limited capability. We used them for basic scene transitions along with music. We used the lighting to change the mood of the different scenes. We didn’t really use any furniture except in the final scene which was a caf� scene, for this we used a round table and some chairs.

Props:

Our performance didn’t really require many props. For the first football scene I made a goal from plastic and we used a football and a whistle. We all dressed in appropriate costume whether it be football clothe or just inter wear. For the second scene outside we didn’t really use any props but did all wear coats and woolly hats because we were situated outside. In the third scene which was situated in Gregory’s bedroom we used an electrical toothbrush and Gregory wore school uniform because that was hat he was meant to wear. Madeline wore normal school clothes as she was going to school and Gregory’s Dad wore a towel as he had just come out of the shower. The final scene in the caf� required a glass and a tray for the waitress again the costumes were basic indoor clothing, the waitress also used a pad of paper to write things down.

Timing:

The majority of our scenes didn’t need any specific timing. The nurse scene though benefited from the unison of our actions. When she finally removed our clothes it was vital we all responded at the same time, the whole scene required a sense of build up in tension then a release at the end. The football scene required precision timing when a player shot it was important that the goalie dived and saved the ball. It was also important that the audience reacted to the game in the same way. Even though there was really not much happening on our makeshift pitch we had to react to pretend events(such as a bad tackle). The other scenes didn’t really require any timing except delays in responses to show that the character was thinking of what to say.

Responses to chosen play:

After being given the task of acting out Gregory’s Girl I felt reasonably happy yet knew that I was in for a tough ride. I was told but not convinced the play was a comedy, it was only after finishing it that I realised the potential of the rather humorous characters and found out how each one had an unusual yet quite amusing twist. The play looked quite complicated and as unlike some of my group I hadn’t seen it yet so it was hard to grasp the overall meaning of the play. To be honest I’m still quite confused over the meaning of the play because it didn’t seem to have one. One thing I was sure of was that the play and my group would be one I would enjoy being part of.

How I felt about my chosen character:

When I was given the characters of Eric and Madeline I knew little about them and therefore had to take the teachers word that they would be the right characters for me. As my group progressed through reading the script I gradually learnt more and more about each of the two characters and found that I could really get in their shoes and work out their thoughts and feelings(whether or not I actually expressed them I don’t know). My preferred character was Eric which was a shame as he wasn’t my main role, I still felt as though I could gain most of the marks for this character and then salvage what I could from the other. Overall I was quite pleased with my characters and didn’t regret being cast them , there were not any other characters that I would rather of been cast as.

Interaction:

Our group worked very well together and interacted sufficiently. We all contributed to the final piece in numerous ways whether it be through props, line learning, research etc. I did feel that I helped the group, I brought in a number of props, items of clothing, made some goal posts, did the lighting and planned out the layout for each scene. I am very interested in this part of drama as well as acting so I enjoyed participating. We all submitted ideas of how we could act out each scene and agreed on a final idea rather than arguing. Our group did work well together and this paid off in the final production

Lines:

There’s not really much to write about how I learnt my lines, I basically learn them reasonably well and make sure I look through them the night before leaving them fresh in my mind for the day. Our whole group worked together to help each other learn lines this was through repetitively going over the scenes until we have the lines drilled into our heads. By the day we had learnt our lines very well and had practiced them enough to have a good idea of how to improvise in the event that we forgot.

Rehearsals:

The first few rehearsals (and many more) were quite easy because we seemed to take a relaxed attitude to the whole play (this meant for the final few weeks we had to work our socks off). Still we did read through the play and start learning some of the lines. I didn’t have any fears as the others had about learning lines because I had had practice during a show for which I had to learn a whole script. I was mainly worried about whether, at this rate, we would ever get anywhere. I was quite interested about how we would set out each scene so it gave the desired effect. The lighting was also worrying me a bit mainly because we didn’t have any. So overall it wasn’t the acting half of the play I was worried about, that seemed quite simple, it was the scenery; props; and lighting.

Once we were halfway through the rehearsal time our group realised that we had a lot to catch up on and tried to concentrate on the line learning because they weren’t all as good at memorising lines. This further backed up my worries of not organising the scenery side, so I tried to concentrate on this. My group may have had doubts and thought that I was not doing anything, but when the final performance came they realised what I had been doing. We started pulling together in the last couple of weeks and really worked well as a team, we all helped each other learn lines and brought in required props.

Final Production:

The final day was not only the big day that we go to combine all our efforts with luck and hope we do well, but also the last day of term. Our group had everything planned, but whether it was for good or bad we had the choice of whether to use lights. Because of my interest and reasonable capability of using the lights we opted for the more adventurous path and chose to use them. Our group was one of the last so I would get a chance to experiment on the other groups before my own.

The bell rang for two ‘o’ clock and I made my way down to the drama studio, I had had the opportunity to see the other groups do their pieces so I had a good idea of what might go wrong and how to prevent it from happening. We finally got down to acting and frankly I thought it went quite well. We seemed to work extremely well for the amount of time we had actually been working for. The second scene definitely went the best as the lines were all perfect and we go a few laughs from the audience. The first scene was fine except for the fact that the goalie dived the wrong way (or the shooter shot the wrong way). We did manage to make it work by taking the whole shot again. The third scene was also fine as it was not very long. The final scene was probably the weakest because of the amount of lines and the fact that we didn’t feel as confident saying them. Either way play as a whole went very well and got us a good mark.

Amendments:

If I could make any changes I would probably have to spend a lot more time developing the scenery etc. because we only concentrated on the lines and acting. Although his was very important it didn’t gain marks in one of the areas whereas more intricately designed scenery would have. More practice on the lights would have also been more useful but I’m grateful for having them in the first place as we were very close to not. The scene transitions were a bit rough, this could have been worked on but it was overlooked and brought down the professional look of the play. In terms of acting we were sound but could of worked further on characterisation.

Our group worked very well in all aspects. Not only did we finish learning all the lines, design some reasonably set designs and bring in a few props in a short amount of time, we also delivers a well polished final production which achieved high marks.

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