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AS and A Level: Theatre Studies
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How did group skills contribute to the development of the drama, and how did you plan for a range of responses from the audience?
We all made sure we had appropriate breaks and that rehearsal time was not too draining. This therefore made our actual time rehearsing more productive, and enabled us to come up with more positive, constructive ideas. At times, inspiration was rare, and this lead to inevitable frustration within the group. Dan was particularly good at times such as these, as his contributions were frequent, and often sparked off an entirely new scene or element. One example of this was working on the opening scene where we decided to use the mask and specifically that someone would use it to symbolically remove the rape victim's identity.
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Choose one live production you have seen and which you particularly enjoyed and discuss the aspects which made it so successful - Caucasian Chalk Circle
He was consistent in his accent, without faltering or losing it at any point. That he was able to interact with the audience without going over-the-top made a big comic impact, which all the audience seemed to respond well to. Minor asides, winking to the audience, or merely a look cast in the audience's direction, were subtle but really heightened the comic impact of the piece. One example of where minor audience recognition added to the comic impact was when the character of Azdak was about to spit cheese on the Grand Duke, who was dressed as a tramp, with a false beard.
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Explain how you would perform the role of Haemon in order to gain the audience's sympathy for his situation
That the understanding is not later shown by Creon would generate sympathy from the audience, as they would see that Haemon is not being treated with respect or dignity that he deserves. During Creon's long speech, I would stand patiently, without fidgeting, listening to his words. This would show that I would be prepared to listen to Creon, with patience and understanding; such qualities are ones that would be valued by the audience. In the following speech I would make, I would follow the oblique nature of the lines, in order not to openly insult Creon.
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Outline and assess what you consider to be the most important aspects of one practitioner's contribution to modern theatre.
This false emotion would get in the way of stage truth. The actor should look deep into their past to find similar feelings to that of which the character should be feeling. They then use these emotions to fuel the action onstage. "Just as your visual memory can reconstruct an inner imager of some forgotten thing...your emotion memory can bring back feeling you have already experienced." He felt that it was key to success onstage, "To be without memory and to be an actor is inconceivable" Emotion memory is used to bring back feelings you have already experienced.
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How would you direct the confrontation between Creon and Haemon in order to achieve your chosen impact for your audience?
the words 'always' and 'unshaken', stressing these superlatives, in order to exaggerate the positive feelings, diplomatically Haemon's response would be in kind, reciprocating the respect. He would accept the handshake, and keep eye contact. His vocal qualities would be as those of Haemon. He would say 'I know I am your son, Father', stressing the word 'Father' to show respect and also family love. During this exchange, they would both be very close physically, to show that they are, at this point, still emotionally close.
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Outline the physical and vocal qualities that you would look for in casting Juan and Victor, and explain how you would direct them in Act II Scene II to highlight the differences between the two
Vocally, I would want him to speak in a sort of 'clipped' voice. His tone would be quite low in general, and his volume quiet; this would show his lack of energy. I would also want him to speak with a slow pace in general, although clearly it would vary with the performance. To cast for Victor, I would look for an actor who had quite a contrast to Juan; I would look for a tall actor, with a strong, more muscular build than Juan. I would also want an actor with deep-set eyes, and long, dark hair.
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What effects would you wish to create for your audience through your performance of the sentry in 'Antigone'? Explain how you would present the character on stage to achieve your aims
At the end of this line, I would make a cursory glance up at Creon, before hastily averting my gaze downwards again. I would say 'Poor sod' with pauses either side of it; and say the actual line very quickly; this is the sentry making a very short aside, to show self-pity in a light-hearted way. I would aim to make the audience laugh at this line, as it is intended for comic relief. After the somewhat pointless rambling, I would keep the fast pace, and run-on nature of many lines constant for most of the dialogue.
- Word count: 1983
Explain how you would cast Yerma and Maria and how you would direct them in their exchanges in Act 1 Scene 1 and Act 2 Scene 2
She would be average build, as opposed to Yerma's thinner build. Her voice would be gentle, although require enough power for the audience to hear. In Act 1, Scene 1, I would direct Maria to enter in a bouncy, joyful way; her Laban effort would be quick speed, flexible movement into space and light idea of weight: flicking. She would have a light-toned voice, high in pitch and fast in pace, to show excitement and naivety. She would say 'If I had my way, I'd be waiting at the door when they opened!'
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For example, a house with its light on may seem, on a 'trip', as a house on fire. I myself spoke to someone who has experienced a bad LSD trip, in which she believed she was being chased by giant 'Mars Bars', they were, as she found out later, just wheelie bins. We therefore realised that there must be a trigger. We created a 'bad trip' scene, in which the audience experiences through Ellie's eyes a 'bad trip'. We positioned Ellie in the centre of the stage and had James, her brother, walk around the very edge of the stage.
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How influences and ideas of other playwrights and/or directors, designers and performers have been used.
We later used the lyrics from the song as the actual lines for our characters. The structure of our play was taken from a production that some members of the group performed last year, "The After-Dinner Joke" by Caryl Churchill. In this play there is several short scenes, with a main running theme of 'the politics of charity', the scenes changed quickly, and were often only parts of a conversation. This structure was used due to the fact that ours is not one large story, with scenes that follow on from one to the other, but more a gathering of different opinions.
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During the later stages of production the group researched quotes that could be used during the scenes to create almost verbatim parts to the play. Jack was responsible for finding some quotes to be used as his 'Gerald McMillan' character. These quotes were taken from the special 'Question Time' with David Davis and David Cameron. He also researched quotes from a previous interview with David Cameron. Script Writing We decided that some scenes should be scripted, in order to ensure that certain points were put across and important lines were said.
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We began constructing our play with language that we felt would be suitable for the intended audience. We used words that they may understand, and slang terms which they may use. It is also the reason that we tended to shy away from using strong swear words. At this age, teenagers often have a short concentration span, and are unwilling to respond should the piece they are watching bore them. It was therefore important the piece be interesting, as well as being informative.
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The aim was to create a scene that showed the negative effects of the chosen drug. I worked with Jack, on the drug LSD. We had conducted research before this session about the effects of LSD. We read case studies on people who had experienced using LSD and its effects. It told us that LSD can cause both bad and good trips, and that bad trips often include pain and suffering and that they feel very real. When an LSD user experiences a bad trip it is likely that they will have flashbacks to the bad trip up to a year after having the bad trip.
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This is almost mentioned in the script by Ariel, when telling Propsero what she has done with the ship. "From the still-vexed Bermoothes, there she's hid The mariners all under hatches stowed, Who, with a charm joined their suffered labour, I have left asleep. And for the rest o'th'fleet, Which I dispersed, they have all met again." However there is more to the story as a year later astonishing new arrived. The lost colonists had miraculously survived and reached Virginia! Apparently, the ship had run aground close to shore. All the passengers and crew has escaped safely, and were able to salvage most of the supplies from the ship.
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How acting techniques or design elements and the use of dramatic form were consciously employed to achieve the intended effect.
The play opens with all, except for myself, sat in a line facing the audience doing a 'rowing' motion. They then begin to 'sing' "Row Your Boat" all speak together until "merrily" when each person says one word. The song ends on dream, which is repeated by everyone as they 'fold' down to the floor. On the last 'dream' then all begin to repeat the word as the 'boat' falls apart, leaving the character Ellie in the middle and several bodies around her.
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The second half of the lesson was spent discussing ideas for a Devised Drama piece. We, as a smaller group, were given the stimulus of an article entitled 'How to build a time machine'. This evoked serious discussion and developed onto ideas similar to films such as 'The Butterfly Effect' and 'Groundhog Day' along with films such as 'Final Destination' - from which we could take similar ideas. However, in later sessions we soured on ideas taken from this, but did decided to include reliving situations or death. A group member provided the next piece of stimulus.
- Word count: 884
How acting techniques or design elements and the use of dramatic form were consciously employed to achieve the intended effect.
They would also be provided with enough evidence to make a decision on the issues brought forward through the production, questioning the legality of drugs, questioning why people use drugs and questioning the education about drugs. Some scenes, which began as a positive, warped into a negative effect of drugs. For example the "Row Your Boat" opening sequence began as a calm and relaxing 'positive trip' however it turned into a 'bad trip' and the user quickly became frightened. This was also used in the pub scene, in which everyone began as friends but the relationship 'soured' and when confronted about his drinking problem the 'alcoholic' became violent.
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This contributed to the final performance as our play was more authentic as we had researched the symptoms well and had made sure if a character was suffering from the mental illness he had those visible symptoms. We also carried out hot-seating during these sessions on our characters; we did this so we could find out more about the characters, people were playing. During the time in the studio, we often some idea of what the scenes was going to be about, so the people who were in the scene would normally improvise the scene and the rest of us who weren't in the scene would watch and give them idea's and say what was working well and what wasn't.
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What I'm implying is that theatre does have something to say to everybody differently and thus, generates different opinions. Cliques or religious groups have the right to criticize or differ in opinions, but for them to take it personally until an extent, for example boycotting the production, imply that theatre certainly does not cross social barrier because it excludes them from watching it due to not being able to accept the controversy. For some, theatre is only to entertain. For some, theatre is meant to change or force people to reconsider and re-evaluate lives.
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Each costume was designed brilliantly because they fitted each individual well and they were done properly. If the costumes weren't done properly or didn't fit they could fall down and cause a hazard which is important because its part of health and safety. If it weren't for Stella and Becky we would have struggled a lot for getting costumes together, and they done an out standing job and so did a few others who helped out with costumes. My favourite costume was the tin man costume because it suited the dance type, and they looked wonderful on stage.
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Brecht's use of the Singer would be effective in making the audience taking an objective view to the play was successful due to the lack of emotion showed through Grusha and Simon's language to each other. Grusha: God's blessing on Mr Soldier, and thank God that he's back safely. Simon: They found better than me, so they didn't eat me, said the haddock. Grusha: It took courage, said the servant boy. It took luck, said the hero. Simon: How were things here?
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spare my parents - I'll catch the next eight o'clock train - don't let me detain you - please make my excuses to the Chief. [Image - total family confusion - figures twist and whirl around each other like a frenetic dance.] Clerk: [rushing downstage - family's movement becomes faster and faster as confusion breaks loose.] Did you make out a word of it - is he trying to make fools of us? Gregor's language is very informal, it is almost as though he's speaking in bullet points, missing out words because he's talking so fast and trying so hard to explain, when they can't actually hear anything he says as actual words.
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There is also a variation in language used by different characters throughout the play. For example, the Lodgers show Berkoff's use of juxtaposition, he uses a very contrasting language, with complex vocabulary. Berkoff chooses to use this style of language to create the idea that the Lodgers represent society, for example, they are able to finish each other's sentences, as if they were generalised thoughts and are exactly what the public are thinking. The tone of the lodgers is often aggressive; "We're sticklers for order" "Can't bear slovenliness" In the stage directions, Berkoff gave the option of the lodger being played by a single actor, instead of three, complying with the ignorance of society.
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During the staging of this sequence I had to deliver my monologue whilst struggling through a figurative maze. As a performer I was sensitive to my characters claustrophobic feelings allowing me to successfully communicate her anxieties to the audience. Throughout the staging of this monologue the remaining group members concentrated on the performing space I was given. Although it was frustrating for me to be contained to a very small performing area, it allowed me to sympathise with my characters feelings of confinement and eventually resulted in a very successful portrayal of Pamela.
- Word count: 6953
All was well in the land when the Dreadful Forest Death games arrived on Friday the thirteenth. This was the day that the town was brought down by the little dog that couldn't...play in the tournament. Hitler Puppy was the top in his breed. He had sharp fangs that could rip the flesh off of any animal, and his other teeth were jagged but sharp. If anyone touched them, you would loose a finger due to blood-loss. His spots throughout his body resembled desiccated blood. Hitler was waiting for the games all year, all he desired was a team to play with him.
- Word count: 589