• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"One character talking to a camera for half an hour, Do you call that drama?" How does Alan Bennet try to maintain the audience's interest in his 'Talking Heads'?

Extracts from this document...


"One character talking to a camera for half an hour, Do you call that drama?" How does Alan Bennet try to maintain the audience's interest in his 'Talking Heads'? In A Lady of Letters, Patricia Routledge plays the part of Irene Ruddock, who is a very lonely woman that has an obsession with writing letters to everyone to complain about the smallest of things. She lives by herself, and has done since her mother died. A Lady of Letters is a drama because it includes different amounts of lighting at certain points of the video. Routledge also acts when she is speaking to the camera, for example she gets very upset at some points e.g. when she talks about when the police told her the little boy over the road had died of leukaemia. She also expresses herself well by her actions. At first Irene seems like a very highly classed woman, very respectable and knows what is wrong and right. She also appears to be a very respectable lady. We know this because in the video, it shows her having her tea and biscuits with a napkin. However, throughout the video, we see some changes to Irene; we see that she might not be as respectable as we first thought. One of these reasons is because when she goes to the doctors, she says "I said I was getting upset, like I did before..." ...read more.


She says "He said, 'letters.' I said 'Everyone writes letters. I bet you write letters.' He said, 'Not like you, love.'" When she says what the policeman says, Patricia Routledge makes us feel like the policeman really has it in for her, even though it's her own fault that the police have come around to talk to her. There are quite a lot of surprises in the play. One of those is when we find out that she is an atheist. This surprises the viewer because you don't generally think that someone who is as respectable as what we believe she is could not believe in God. Bennet deliberately lets us find this out later on, because he wants us to be surprised because in the beginning, we think that she is a very highly classed person, and would probably go to church whenever she could because she lives by herself. Another surprise is when the policeman says "The court bound you over to keep the peace..." This surprises us because we earlier believed that she was a very respectable lady, but now we start to think that because she has been to court for writing the letters, she is most diffidently not as highly superior as we all first thought. There are quite a few moments which are serious like when the police woman says "No. Leukaemia." This is very serious because earlier on in the play, Irene believes that the child has been mistreated and makes it her business to interfere with the whole situation. ...read more.


Irene would rather be in prison than be outside, because she doesn't want to live on her own anymore. Irene isn't heartless because she cares about her inmate Bridget, because in the middle of the night when Bridget wakes up shouting, Irene will sit and hold her hand until she has fallen asleep again. She really cares about the other people in there because she loves being around the people. Irene seems to give everyone a second chance, because she is so happy. Alan Bennet maintains the audience's interest in his Talking Heads because he manages to surprise you with every little detail. In A Lady of Letters we at first believe that Irene is a very respectable lady, until we find out all the surprises which Bennet has left out until he wants us to be surprised e.g. when we find out the court has bound her to keep the peace. She also can't help herself when it comes to other peoples business, like with the couple with the 'kiddy.' There are also parts in the play which are quite serious but the viewer can't help but find them somehow funny, like when she tells us about who she shares a room with in prison. the whole play is drama because throughout it, she expresses herself so that you really feel for her, she also says things which e.g. the police say to her as if she is reencountering what happens as if you were there. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Alan Bennet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Alan Bennet essays

  1. What is waiting for the Telegram about and how does it work as a ...

    men went off to war they were seen as heroes and the stronger sex. Today, women have freedom and equal rights to men, but the character's attitude clashes with the younger perspective as she feels she should not change her ways.

  2. In A Lady of Letters how does Alan Bennett sustain the audiences interest in ...

    To add to this, Alan Bennett uses even more techniques to maintain the audience's interest, one of them being how he uses more dramatic twists in the plot. An example is when the 'kiddy' dies of leukaemia, when Miss Ruddock thought it was being abused.

  1. How does Alan Bennett maintain the audiences interest in A Lady of Letters?

    Although at the start of the story Miss Ruddock was very up-tight, hard to please and showed no sign of changing her ways, it is shown that people like her just need the freedom to enjoy themselves (in her case prison, ironically)

  2. How believable did you find the transformation of Miss Ruddock in Prison?

    She is the most content she has been since her mother died maybe even in her whole life as "it's the first taste of freedom I've had in years". When Irene is helping Shirley write a letter to her imaginary boyfriend, she is showing generosity and patience, something she seemed

  1. Alan Bennett's "Talking Heads" monologues are described as being 'short stories'. With reference to ...

    Even though the monologue is written in the past it is brought into the present for us by a number of things. Lesley uses different intonation and tone of voice for different characters. She changes her register to match the characters register and this makes the audience think that they are watching someone else speak.

  2. Outlining and discussing the issues of Alan Bennett's 'Talking Heads' character Irene Ruddock and ...

    He shows that she is not very sociable, she discriminates Asians and the people across the road for petty things like not having a tablecloth, she is a very interfering person and will detour her walking route so she can take a good look at people private lives and then

  1. Discuss the Theme of Isolation and Loneliness In 'Talking Heads'.

    Although she remains a very formal character she becomes caring and compassionate towards others. "I'm so happy" Both Iris and Doris harp on about the past, when they were less lonely and isolated. Doris remembers "You could walk down the street and folk smiled and passed the time of day" Both of these are good examples of a paradox.

  2. A Lady of Letters - Post 1914 Drama

    This is something the reader cannot experience whilst reading the text and so leaves one feeling unsympathetic towards Irene Ruddock. The contrast between Ruddock's life outside and inside prison is a crucial way Routledge evokes sympathy. We can see that she is profoundly happier locked away, but the vital difference

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work