Exploration of Drama & Theatre
Streetcar Named Desire: My teacher gave us scenarios; I worked with Faye. She was a woman that lived locally and hadn’t really left her borough, and I was adventurous woman who had travelled all over the world. It sounds simple enough but then miss told us to put on the Southern American accent, which made it much more challenging. However I began to feel less like me, and a catty middle aged American woman who wanted to brag to someone who she observed as ‘less worthy’. This helped me get used to speaking in that accent, and understand how Tennessee William wanted them to sound. This skill helped me broaden mu language, and to push myself and go that extra step to make my acting that much better. It also helped me from that lesson on, when reading the drama that in my mind a southern accent was heard, it made Stanley seem much more underclass that in a British accent.
Romeo and Juliet: Unlike the play above, I didn’t need to use an accent with my piece, instead I had to something much harder, I had to understand the text and to modernise it, so I could understand what was being said, in order to know which tone of voice Mr Shakespeare wanted it done. When working on Monologues I was told to research the language and find out what it was saying, and then perform it off by heart. Unfortunately I struggled with this task as I didn’t memorise the script and it therefore weakened my performance as I depended on my words to do the performance instead of facial expressions and movement which feedback showed that I lacked on. However I was told that my interpretation was ‘spot on’ and this helped my understand even though understanding the play is key, and the language. So is your facial expressions and movement, they go together, and you should have a balance of both. So next time I play the nurse I will know what she is saying, and using every movement and facial expression will go according to her character.
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Streetcar Named Desire: My partner Lauren D. and I had to mime a scene. We put our minds together and decided to do the scene with Allen and Blanche together, and how her mind was scarred from this horrific memory of when Allen killed himself. She discovered I was gay, we tried to put up a facade; at a party but soon enough she rejected me and I had ended up killing myself. We really had to think about space, and how our characters were close to each other when they put on the facade, and were distance from each other when the rejection occurred. Our best idea was definitely to mirror each other when performing Allen’s death, we clearly highlighted our objective which was to make sure that our audience understood how it hurt her when her husband died and maybe understand why the song keeps repeatedly coming on, the Versuvianna. We also used levels as I got on the floor when I died. We used exaggerated movements; I really began to understand that movement and facial expression also have a huge importance as well as words. I realised how sometimes complete silence can make that one scene all that more powerful.
Romeo and Juliet: We as a class did a warm up where we ran around the room, star jumping, crawling and racing each other to get our blood pumping and for us all to get our energy up and high. We also did a small exercise to try and keep the other team from entering our territory; this got us competitive and annoyed when the other team came into our space that we were trying to guard. This was all to get the adrenaline flowing and to get into the fight seen mood, where the Capulet’s entered the Montague’s area, and adding insult to injury we also declared them to tell us where Romeo was hiding, a clear indication that this was no ‘accident’ and that we came for a fight. I realised that exercise like this gets an actor into the right mood to start an argument or a fight, and makes it easier for an actor to adapt from their own life, into a hyperactive 16-17 year old who was up for a fight.
Both: Fran taught us to do a warm up that helped us project our voices, without damaging it. We breathed in and out, and then took a deep breath in, and then hum for as long as it take for your breath to run out and you’d be forced to take a new one. This helped us because this excise helps us to use our voice to our best ability, it taught me how long on breath can last me. This warm up prepared me to get using my voice before perform, now I use this skill before I go out for Rollercoaster rides, or watching horror movies, so I don’t strain my voice. This helped my performance and understanding of the play as I could perform it better, without hurting my voice. I could use high pitch and low pitch for each character and if I felt that my voice would get strained I would use this technique quietly so I would bother anyone.
Romeo and Juliet:
Social, cultural, historical and political contexts:
Romeo and Juliet: We did the scene where Mercutio and Tybalt fought each other; however, we made it an abstract scene. Three people were Mercutio and three people were Tybalt, this was effective because it was interesting to see how it turned out and how we could all manage to work together to build the tension. We struggled getting the aggression and the male testosterone, and too keep our characterisation. My teacher had to constantly remind us that these where young, rich teenagers that had often had their way. Their only real conflict was that they were from two different families that for a long time had hated each other. They are ‘alike in dignity’ and their society was very much different from ours. Now-a-days you would be arrested with the possession of a weapon that could potentially harm another, whereas the time where the piece is set it was absolutely normal to carry around a sword, and get into fights using them.
Visual, aural and spatial elements:
Streetcar Named Desire: My partner Fran and I, used our knowledge of the play to highlight the key props used, and we were inspired by Tennessee William’s mind set where he was very specific in detail. I learnt that planning the scene, imagining it, and taking part in constructing it, it made things easier for me to understand; how the colours can set a mood. By making this set design I am able to picture the props around me, when I am performing a scene from the play.
Romeo and Juliet: My teacher set us a task where we had to write down key event of the play and we then decided amongst us which one of us would direct each of the frozen pictures. I directed the death of Mercutio, when Tybalt kill him.
Response to practitioner:
William Shakespeare was born in April the 23rd, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, about 100 miles northwest of London. He died on his birthday 52 years later. His children are Susanna, twins: Hamnet and Judith.