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Accompanying Write-up - The theme of our presentation is "Attitudes towards Death". Two of the chosen pieces, "Macbeth" (William Shakespeare) and "Whose life is it anyway?" (Brian Clark)

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Introduction

Accompanying Write-up The theme of our presentation is "Attitudes towards Death". Two of the chosen pieces, "Macbeth" (William Shakespeare) and "Whose life is it anyway?" (Brian Clark), are both relevant to Death. In "Macbeth", Macbeth has just killed Duncan and is racked with guilt and anxiety. Lady Macbeth, co-perpetrator in the crime, is convincing him that it was the correct thing to do and mocking his fears. The play is a tragedy and shows a negative attitude towards death, with the death being in the brutal murder. The mood created by this and the knocking in the scene is very tense. Macbeth's guilt and anxiety add tension and suspense; which collide with Lady Macbeth's false confidence to provide a confused and expectant mood. The audience is gripped by concern as they await Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's fate, whether good or bad. "Whose life is it anyway?" is in most ways a very realistic play, with a positive attitude towards Death. For Ken, Death is an escape from his disability. It is a mercy for him, to be rescued from his unhappy life. The mood created in the scene is of great expectance as Ken awaits the Judges sentencing and verdict. The issue of euthanasia is of great importance throughout the scene, showing how the play is testing people's morals. ...read more.

Middle

However, Lady Macbeth gains her dominance mainly from the way she acts in contrast to Macbeth. When Macbeth is panicky and has a hunched, accused position, concerned for what will happen to him, Lady Macbeth is calm, composed, more relaxed and generally much more in control of the situation. This provides the quite distinct power structure. The two react to each other realistically and believably. In "Whose life is it anyway?" the Judge is above Ken in the power structure, and is the authoritative figure in the situation. This is showed by Ken's lack of movement and mobility and how the Judge exploits that (by moving around Ken, behind him - Ken cannot turn round to look). This also applies for Ken's facing, as he can only face and position himself in one direction, whereas the Judge has freedom of movement. Ken's posture is uncontrollably slouched and hunched - showing his disability, yet again, a comparison is made between this fact and the Judge's actions. Contrary to the few differences, the style of the two scenes was, in fact, very similar. Both were mainly representational, and both had a definite power structure and dominance - as shown by Lady Macbeth's authoritarian-like control of the scene and Ken's inability to move. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, we opted to make the judge more mobile, making him walk around and behind Ken (who was sitting on a chair in front of the rostra). This gave us several advantages; the rostra still helped to represent the court-scene and the judge could exploit Ken's restrictions - all of which demonstrated the judges authority and dominance. To maintain a sense of formality in his actions, the Judge speaks eloquently yet without showing too much emotion or involvement. The judge uses adequate hand-gesticulation, when reasoning and considering - yet not using any exaggeration. On the contrary, Ken was acted with an internal approach. We felt this would be more appropriate as his role is of a person restricted by a disability who feels rejected and let down by society. It therefore seemed more logical to adapt to that mindset and play that part from the inside out - acting on emotions and feelings, rather than mechanical logic. When acting as Ken, there was very little that could be done in terms of gesticulating or movement - as he could do neither. Thus, emphasis was put onto expression and speech. Ken speaks his lines quite slowly and patiently, yet with emphasis on words we felt were most heartfelt. For example: (underlining represents emphasis, hyphens represent slight pauses) "Look at me here. I can do nothing, not even basic - primitive - functions." ...read more.

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