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David Copperfield On the 28th of November 2008 I attended a performance of 'David Copperfield' written by Charles Dickens at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester. The play was adapted and directed by Giles Havergal, who for 33 years was artistic director of the Citizens' Theatre in Glasgow. David Copperfield follows the life of a boy, who was orphaned at an early age and experiences considerable hardship. Throughout the story David experiences love and betrayal but I believe the main theme in the story is ambition. Firstly I would like to comment on how well the actors identified their characters especially the actor who played David himself, although David is played by a fully grown man it is made obvious at the beginning that opposed to playing a fully grown man he is playing a child. This is displayed clearly very early on in the play when we saw David wailing like a child at the front of the stage, to emphasise the fact he was a child his facial expressions and movement where also very childish a good example of this is when he is talking to his Nanny Peggety he tugs on her skirt and looks up to her.
The set was not very realistic but I think this was how it was intended to be. I think it was more symbolic and reflected the themes of the play for example around the edges of the stage books were piled. This could be signifying how during his younger years he had a tendency to immerse himself in a book in order to hide himself from the plight of every day life. The lighting and sound was also very well thought out for instance when David visited the seaside there was faint echoes of seagulls in the background accompanied by the sound of the sea. The lighting helped make it obvious who you should be focusing on for example if the narrator was delivering a monologue a spot light would be on him and there would be limited (if any) movement around him and in the background. Compared all the other plays I have seen the narrator played a totally different role in this one.
I believe he achieved this well. I also think he adapted the humour to modern day humour, which was very cleverly done as it was subtle but effective. The audience reacted very well to this and laughed in all the right places, you could tell that they stayed interested all the way through and the general atmosphere of the theatre was amazing. Overall I think it was a very original piece of drama. Even compared to some shows I have seen in the West End such as 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' or 'Grease' it stood out. Probably the most appealing element for me was the idea of having both the protagonist and the narrator as one person. My favourite scene was the opening one as it drew you in to the play and made you want to find out more about David. It also set the scene well and gave you a taster of what's to come. I would definatly recommend it to other people to see as the acting was superb, the script was well written and the set was memorable.
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