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Talking Heads

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Talking Heads 'Talking heads' are a set of monologues, written by Alan Bennett. They show us different characters that each have a certain problem. All of Bennett's characters have an obsession, for example Leslie is obsesses with herself and status '' I was a sophisticated woman'', Irene Ruddock is obsessed with writing letters and spying on her neighbourhood ''I sat in the front room in the dark watching the house'', and Doris has an obsession with cleaning ''Zulema doesn't dust''. Monologues are plays or scenes where only one person is speaking to the audience. It usually involves that one person telling us about themselves and possibly stories. Monologues are different from other kinds of text as there is little physical action involved. I feel it is much more complicated for an actor to perform a monologue because the actor has to revise and learn a large amount of lines to recite. The main effect of a play being written for television is to reach across to an audience larger than that of a theatre. This may make the audience more interested as they are watching a performance of a character who they believe to be outrageous. (The audience loves to hate them). The three studies monologues interlink as all the characters have an obsession; and some have a common mis-en-scene e.g. (Irene in her tasteless, old lounge and a window; Doris with an old lounge and furniture, which also includes a window). All three characters are very stereo typical in many aspects and each have strong prejudices. ...read more.


Irene leads an empty life with no relatives and no friends, but she feels that she is important. Bennett has included a lot of symbolism in Irene's environment, being her house. In most of the scenes that we see of Irene there is a window. We can gather from the window that she is a 'curtain twitcher', or a nosy person who spies on the neighbourhood. ''The couple opposite are just having tea. No cloth on.'' We can tell from this that she stays by the window, which is a form of symbolism and could show how alone she is as it may be the only freedom she has. Another form of symbolism is the letters; which Irene writes instead of socialising in public or with friends. Her letters are her form of escapism, which she uses to inform the world of her opinion, ''I thought the least I could do was write''. As Irene is so isolated it enhances her delusion that she is better off alone. When we see Irene she is not irritated by being alone; but possibly because of the outside world, which she is constantly moving away from. Irene is slipping away from reality. The third form of symbolism is Irene's pen, '' It's stood me in good stead this pen.'' Irene always uses the pen to write her letters. She feels secure having a pen, which her late mother had bought for her, 'It's been a real friend'. Bennett uses personification to make it seem like it is a real person. ...read more.


The structures in each include an interesting mis-en-scene, which displays the character. Nostalgia and Irony are the other two extreme successes for Alan Bennett as they all include them, which makes them all seem twisted humans and make us feel better over their defaults. Susan's monologue also contains most if not all of these things as she is another strange character, who is an alcoholic. Her faults are directly in common with all the other characters because they don't realise that they have a problem. I believe that the most successful monologue in conveying loneliness and alienation is Irene's monologue 'A lady of letters'. This is because Irene seems to be the one with the least actual social contact with other people, but I feel she is the most isolated. Lesley had her work colleges, Doris had her cleaner. Irene has no-one except the police when she is in trouble. Bennett's style of conveys my opinion by his technique of making Irene seem entirely helpless when we first meet her. Ironically she is the only one who actually benefited in the end, but I still felt that before she was the loneliest. Irene had formed herself to accuse a person about anything that was not to her liking and approval, she is very stereotypical. The most successful device that supports this is Nostalgia, she always relates to the past as if everyone and everything was better back then, then now. Alan Bennett has made a very dislikeable and disagreeable character, by making her unable to move on and except change. ...read more.

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