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Consider the dramatic effectiveness of Alan Bennett's 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee'.

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Introduction

Rosie Corbett. Consider the dramatic effectiveness of Alan Bennett's 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee'. Alan Bennett's 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee' is a dramatic monologue. In a monologue there is only one actor/actress throughout the whole play. A soliloquy is different from a monologue as it is a speech in a part of a play whereas a monologue is on its own and is not part of a play. This is quite a challenge for the actor, as they will have to keep the attention of the audience for a long time and keep them interested, or they will get bored. The actor will have to play the parts of other characters by using various voices. This is called voice intonation. They must therefore make their voice interesting and must make each character sound different to their own voice. Doris uses flashbacks in the monologue as a form of keeping the audience interested, and to also make the monologue interesting. The flashbacks also give us an insight to Doris's past life. They have to do this so that the audience will not lose interest as they would lose the plot of the story. Doris is a very strong character. Who is the central character of the monologue. She is a 75-year-old widow who has strong views on certain issues. ...read more.

Middle

Marriage is seen as happy and Doris maybe can't remember hers and maybe had a bad, un-happy and loveless marriage. The audience again are feeling sorry for Doris. Throughout the play Doris brings other characters alive by her use of speech. She has to do this as she is the only character in the monologue and she needs to create the effect of other characters. One of Doris's main characters is Wilfred. We get the impression that Wilfred was Doris's husband and they had a turbulent relationship. Wilfred comes across as a dreamer. He had crazes which did not last very long. One of the crazes was that he wanted a dog and before that he grew mushrooms in the cellar. Wilfred overcame tragedies quickly and easily. When Doris's baby died, he thought it would be "better off" with out the baby. Doris talks about him, it is like she does not want to let go of him fully and cannot face the fact that she is all alone and she is an old woman. Another character Doris has to create a voice for is Zulema. Zulema is different to Doris and this forms a barrier between them because they are both totally different from each other. All Zulema does is stick to rules and regulations. This is dramatic as it shows that Zulema does not really have any feelings for Doris and that she just sees Doris as another person or a statistic. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is so the audience can draw their own conclusions as to what happens at the end of the play. Doris gives up the fight, just like she gave up hope just for her independence. This creates drama because they are left in suspense, as they do not fully know what happens to Doris and they want to know more. They feel sympathetic towards Doris by this point. The cream cracker symbolises Doris as it is old, worn out and lonely underneath the settee. Doris says she will keep the cream cracker as evidence against Zulema so that she can get rid of her. She eats the cream cracker as she forgets the reason for eating it. "Can't report her now. Destroyed the evidence." This shows that she is a bit senile as she ate an old cream cracker that she found on the floor and she does not know how long it may have been there but still eats it. This is very hypercritical as she is so obsessive with hygiene and yet she eats the cream cracker. Bennett uses a lot of dramatic techniques in his monologue. At the end Doris gives up life. The audience have had an insight to her life and feel as though they are a part of her. Doris represents the cream cracker, and this is why the play is called "A Cream Cracker under the Settee." It is named after Doris's symbol. 1 ...read more.

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