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

'Write a critical appreciation, in which you compare at least two of Alan Bennett's dramatic monologues 'Talking heads' from the perspective of a theatre goer/ television viewer'

Extracts from this document...


20th century Drama Course-work 'Write a critical appreciation, in which you compare at least two of Alan Bennett's dramatic monologues 'Talking heads' from the perspective of a theatre goer/ television viewer' I had the opportunity to visit the Harrogate Theatre to watch three of Alan Bennett's dramatic monologues. These were, 'Cream Cracker Under the settee', 'Bed Among the Lentils' and 'Chip In the Sugar'. I thoroughly enjoyed the production and preferred the interpretation of the plays in comparison to the televised version. I found the televised version lacked emotional depth and resonance, whereas the theatre production successfully conveyed emotion whilst remaining static. The theatre production also introduced props which were convincingly used by the actors to make the performance more real and ring true. And as the characters spoke directly to the audience it made the entire experience all the more personal; it was as though the character was confiding in the audience. The dramatic Monologues from 'Talking Heads' were initially written as a television series and shown in 1988 by the BBC; they included the renowned actress Maggie Smith, Thora Hird and Julie Walters. 'Talking Heads' broke new dramatic ground as previous monologues tended to be musical and it has become a modern classic. Such was the success and popularity, the plays moved on to the BBC radio, international theatre and even appear on A-level syllabus. In the Introduction of 'Talking Heads' Alan Bennett describes the difference between a monologue and play. He says; "A play allows you to see things from the perspective of several featured characters. In a monologue you are reliant upon the view points of a single character; you must read between the lines to draw your own conclusions" This is so true. At the beginning of Alan Bennett's dramatic monologues you are reliant upon what you are being told by just the one character, but as the play moves on, the character recalls and re-tells other situations, you begin to draw your own conclusions about what is going on underneath. ...read more.


They allow for the occasional changes of scene / position throughout the play and give the actor's time to rest as they talk for the rest of the time. Bennett also uses pauses in 'Bed among the Lentils' for these same reasons. Different voices are introduced as we meet various characters, which are brought to life through Doris, who adds humour and life into the play through them. She tries to change her tone of voice to add variation, for instance the character 'Zulema'. Doris' great dislike of this character is distinctly present in the play- this is often shown through her sarcastic humour. "Which would be all right provided she did dust. But Zulema doesn't dust. She half dusts" Bennett's use of simple yet comic language heightens Doris humour, yet it's to the point and deeply profound. We can see past Doris' humour and tell that she carries deep spite for this character. The problem with other characters being brought to life through Doris is that all the audience knows about the character is Doris' version of them - which is more than likely to be biased, meaning that the audience is reliant upon Doris to successfully draw a conclusion on these characters- with Zulema the picture Doris paints of her is uncaring, but Zulema was right Doris should be in Stafford house- so whether or not Zulema really is as dreadful as Doris makes out is left entirely to the audience to decide. This is very difficult. We can, however, successfully pick up Doris' feelings about the characters. Apart from Zulema the other character Doris talks about a lot is her husband Wilfred. Unlike Doris, Wilfred's character has an easy going nature "Don't worry mother; I've got it on my list" "the garden is my department" Wilfred's easy going nature is something which I think irritated Doris; however, she still misses him and talks about him with love and compassion. ...read more.


Her life was empty without a baby, just like the hall. * As it gets darker she becomes increasingly worried about her legs, they're beginning to stiffen up, she moves back into the sitting room chair. Has she given up? She realises her situation is bad and if she gets help, then her only future is Stafford House. * Finally, it's night-time outside when the policeman arrives and offers his help. There is no light on- she can't reach it. Has she totally given up? Does she only see a bleak and dark future in an old people's home? This is a very clever interpretation of the play as it searches for hidden meanings, however it is the TV Directors own version of the play it's the meaning he sees when he reads the monologue. In the televised version what the director has done is dramatised the play and made it more suitable for the audience watching on television. The sets were particularly sparse and the cameras focused on the main character throughout the entire monologue The monologues are far more intense and dark and perhaps intended for a more matured audience- this is probably why I didn't enjoy them as much as at the theatre. The theatre production however was intended for a wider audience to the one who watch the monologues on TV. At the theatre they have to make the plays appeal to everyone to be sure to make money from the production, so the theatre production enhance the comical side of the monologues so that a range of ages can enjoy them. They also used an elaborate system on the stage- like a merry go round. So that once one monologue had finished the stage would turn round and the next could immediately begin. This was not just impressive for the audience but saved time so they didn't have to re-set the stage. Due to Alan Bennett's writting of the plays and the skill of those re-telling the monologues, both the televised version and theatre production were effectively executed. Jessica Everitt English Drama course-work ...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. How does Alan Bennett mix comedy and tragedy? In two monologues look at structure, ...

    The fact that the tragedy is almost created in the audience's mind means that the tragedy comes across far stronger. Dramatic pauses such as these are evident in 'A Chip in the Sugar': "I thought all that chapter was closed.'

  2. 'In his Talking Heads plays Alan Bennett presents vivid portraits of human frailty and ...

    But then Graham tells us "I didn't say anything". Graham isn't assertive even though he has had mental problems. Another thing that Frank says is "You don't always want to be with your mother at your age, do you Graham" and he replies "I didn't say anything," He is a very frail and quiet man who feels most comfortable with his mum.

  1. How Does Alan Bennett Reveal The Speaker in 'A Lady of Letters' And Provoke ...

    However it is inevitable that the audience should also smile and find humour in it, predominantly due to self-recognition. 'Prison, they have it easy....It's just a holiday camp, do you wonder there's crime?' This specific quotation holds a particular irony, as it is in prison that Irene ends the play.

  2. Alan Bennett wrote 'A Lady of Letters' in 1987. It is a dramatic monologue ...

    Bennett presents Irene as a lonely woman with no family who is isolated behind the curtains of her bay window. Many parts of the play draw attention to this loneliness. "That's why these tragedies happen, nobody watching," and "At least it's an outing," are just two extracts that reveal her seclusion and solitude.

  1. Studying Two Alan Bennett Monologues.

    56, which land her in prison. Prison life dramatically changes Irene because she has now found the friends and companionship she had longed for in the outside world. Irene making friends in prison is surprising because she is now mixing with people who were the victims of the letters she used to write.

  2. To what extent can we trust Wilfred, in Alan Bennett's 'Playing Sandwiches'

    This creates the thought that Wilfred has been in prison for something, which leads us into not trusting him more. Later, when it is discovered that there is a lack of godparents Rosalie, who is seven, perks up and says; 'Why can't Uncle Wilfred be it.

  1. "One character talking to a camera for half an hour, Do you call that ...

    This shows that because she told the Vicar that she was an atheist, he did not know what to say, because he like us expected her to believe in God and go to church like every other respectable lady like her.

  2. How is contemporary society portrayed in 'Talking Heads'?

    "Not to mention whatever shamefaced fumblings go on between Miss Budd and Miss Bantock. "It's alright if we offer it to God, Alice" "well if you say so Pauline." Here Susan is implying that they are lesbians. Religion Religion is quite important part of the monologue 'Bed Among the Lentils' as Susan, the main characters husband is a vicar.

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