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GCSE Drama: Responding (Sparkleshark)

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Introduction

GCSE Drama: Responding (Sparkleshark) Sparkleshark is a modern day stage comedy about Jake, a shy 14 year old boy who secretly writes imaginative magical stories from the roof of an inner-city tower block. As the play progresses, more and more characters arrive on the roof before Jake has to think up his best story yet to prevent taking another beating from Russell the 'love-muscle' bully. We have spent a number of lessons in drama working on this play, experimenting with a variety of strategies that would help us gain a greater insight into the different characters and the themes that are explored by writer Philip Ridley. We wanted to get a better understanding of Jake's character in particular and why it is that he spends most of his time at school hiding behind the bins; we decided that Cross-cutting by creating flashbacks to his home and school life before the events of the play would be the best way of doing this, as this would help show possible reasons for his shyness and for his fear of Russell. The first flashback scene we created was of Jake coming home to his family after school. My group's scene involved Jake (played by me) running upstairs to his room as soon as he gets in the door before being forced by his parents to come down and eat his dinner. ...read more.

Middle

Another strategy we explored during lessons was the stylised technique of Slow-motion. After trying the rooftop chase scene in Sparkleshark between Buzz, Speed and Jake in real-time-motion, we struggled with managing to capture the sense of Jake's panic whilst being chased, or the control that Russell has over Buzz and Speed. We felt that the best way of emphasizing the importance of this scene and showing how it is essentially the turning point for Jake in the play would be through slowing it down, as this would allow the audience to have more time to take in what is going on. Within my group I played the character of Russell and at the start of the scene he arrogantly mocks Jake for hiding behind the girls. Through the use of levels we then showed the audience the power Russell has over Buzz and Speed by Russell standing up onto the block and commanding them to "get the geek". It is at this moment that the scene breaks into slow-motion and that the main action begins. Buzz and Speed instantly respond to Russell's direction and go after Jake, as the girls try and protect him. When the scene reaches the stage where Buzz and Speed are dangling Jake over the edge of the rooftop, we decided that this would be an ideal opportunity to incorporate a Still image into our scene which would then give the audience a chance to reflect on how each of the characters are feeling at that moment in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

So that we could show the sympathy that Polly feels for Jake, but at the same time how, as the new-girl, how she wants to be 'in with the crowd', we had her standing in the middle of the playground looking back and forth between the girls and Jake, trying to decide who to go and talk to. Jake would of course be sat hiding behind the bins, praying that Polly doesn't come over, as he wants to be left alone to write his stories. We used levels by having Jake sat down whilst the others are stood up to illustrate Jake's status as being a 'Billy-no-mates' and how his status contrasts to that of Natasha and Carol who are the 'popular girls'. I thought that having the thought-tracking take place in the playground really worked as it helped us to experience the emotions that each of the characters would feel on a day to day basis. Having this understanding of the characters background then really helped us when working on different extracts from the play. Having used lots of different strategies to explore the play Sparkleshark and its characters has certainly helped us to appreciate it more as well as learn a great deal about each of the characters. I am now also much more aware of the significance of different language and dramatic devices used by Philip Ridley in the play and the effect he would have wanted them to have on the viewer. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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