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Drama Portfolio #2 - Response: We were presented with a text called "the fall of the house of Usher" by Steven Berkoff, 1st published in 1977 by John Calder Ltd.

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Drama Portfolio #2 Response: We were presented with a text called "the fall of the house of Usher" by Steven Berkoff, 1st published in 1977 by John Calder Ltd. The edition of the book we were given to work with was published in 1990, reprinted in 1996 by Amber Lane Press. The story itself is odd to say the least; I come across some of the strangest characters ever thinkable, you had Usher a seemingly mad middle-aged man, Madeline sister to usher her role in the play leaves you feeling empty, Friend and Oswald (servant) these two are two of the more civilised characters in the play. The story is so unpredictable it can be interpreted in many different ways giving avenues to countless different remakes of the book. We found exploring the text in the time we had difficult as we came up with a lot of different interpretations of our own of the play which in some way or another were altered to such a point we were starting from scratch again. We tried breaking the text down and switching the scenes of the play so it wasn't so confusing but this turned out to be very difficult and several different interpretations all didn't work so we just stuck with the text we were given as it was given and interpreted that as we wanted. While we were reading the text as a class we tried several strategies to help us explore the text, such strategies as spotlighting, improvisation and simulating, hot seating, games, trust work and a form of doubling in each ...read more.


We started writing out our stage directions. We then had 2 hours of lesson times to perfect what we had come up with and this meant learning our lines and knowing when to use them. We attempted a rehearsal to see how far we had got and it just wasn't working, we had to many line to remember and we didn't know where we was supposed to be walking on stage we both had different ideas. We sat down and decided we had to interpret the text in a way we could both perform it. Ideas came up of shorting it and we were thought about employing our old script but both ideas seemed to be no hopers and we realised we needed something original. Something so different even if it was a bad performance the audience would be left with wide open faces. Sam finally came up with the idea to have all the characters drugged up on opium. He decide to forget playing two roles and stick with playing Madeline. We did anther detailed browse through the scenes in the text flicking through the pages we selected a few scenes which only had Madeline and Usher in them. After selecting the scenes and learning our lines we rehearsed the hole thing over a few times, the only problem we encountered this time was how to end it, we had planned to end it with a scene where Madeline kills Usher but we had to fit it with the scenes we had and we had to do it in a way no 1 got hurt. ...read more.


You could clearly tell what she was trying to imitate and she stayed in role perfectly. She had also bought some props in, 2 dolls which you could tell she dedicated a lot of time to as they had both been broken apart and put back together as well as having their hair burnt. Seema captured the social barriers by acting like a spoilt brat and using Barbie dolls which in a way also had cultural assets to it. She also hit the cultural note with a bizarre death scene from the text interpreted by her. Poojas, Jazkirens and Richas performance on the day showed clear lack of rehearsal. Before the play even started there was a fairly long black out and all you could hear was the girls mucking about behind the curtain trying to learn their lines or something. When the play did start the wrong music started to play and Pooja started having a fit and walked of stage and had a go at the person doing the sound. They did another black out and started the play again, they continuously kept forgetting lines and were laughing on stage, the lighting was terrible and their make up was just a bit of make up smudged across the face. They had no props or costumes apart from Richa, who was wearing a black blazer and trousers. It was hard to find any historical, social or cultural implications apart from the white face paint which had some historical relevance as you always see those old films with the royal family having bright white faces. Aruman Hind 11P Drama portfolio - 1 - ...read more.

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