AS Theatre Studies Portfolio

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AS Theatre Studies Portfolio

Dramatic Aims and Objectives

The dramatic aim of our piece is to present the audience with a modern interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer’, whilst exploring the effects of pressure in our lives, and giving the overall effect of a highly original compelling piece of theatre. The performance has a Brechtian style, as this is a demonstrative acting method that enables us as actors to present the character from a number of perspectives, naturalistic and abstract, giving the theme a rich and diverse impact; similar to the variety of impacts pressure has on the members of the group. We wish to produce a piece of political theatre, in the loose sense of the term ‘theatre with attitude’ and we use the attitudes of the characters to convey this. Through the process of trying to produce a highly original theatre our piece has evolved into a movement and music style in order to make strange and cast new light which is Brechtian, better enabling us to communicate our modern interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer.


Set Texts

Our initial source of inspiration was Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as this is a set text that we study as part of our AS and we also put it on as a sixth form production in February of this year. We analysed the plat in the hope of extracting an idea that relate to the society we know. The lover’s temptation to run away set us thinking on the theme of ‘temptation’. We discovered as a group we often felt the influence of temptation, as there is so much choice in modern society and decisions to make and perhaps freedom. However though this seemed fruitful at first we lacked means of a structure and strong links to our own lives, which caused us to go back and ask ourselves how we got to temptation. Realising the lover’s temptation run away was the result of the pressures of society made us realise how many pressures we have in our lives, often the feeling of being pulled in different directions as sons/daughters, sisters/brothers, students, Catholics, friends etc.


During the preparation of the piece we used the methods of Bertolt Brecht. Brecht defined his Epic theatre as challenging this dream world as he wanted the spectator to be awake and alert. His theatre would pose problems and, far from solving them, was designed to leave the spectator with a task to be accomplished in the real world. We aim to challenge the audience’s idea of the Lord’s Prayer and present them with the problem of the pressure placed upon us as teenagers.

        We have with a number of the elements of Brecht’s Epic Theatre. We have a narrative, The Lord’s Prayer, with issues that are not resolved, and turn the spectator into an observer whilst still suggesting that the spectator can question what he or she is seeing. The spectator is made to face something, in this case the effect of pressure in our lives, but they are to stand outside and study. The human being is the object of enquiry, teenagers especially in our piece as that is the stage of life our group is experiencing and can relate to. The piece makes use of montage; events are shown in self-contained scenes, we used the lines of The Lord’s prayer to define the scenes and used a different event or experience for the scene, yet they have a link through the narrative.  

Productions Seen

During the course we went to see four performances, all of differing style, which we would study for our exam in January. By watching the various styles we able to extract ideas and styles from them, which we could develop in our own work. ‘The History Boys’ was quite inspirational through its use of multi-role play and variety of scenes of different dynamic that really made the play explore its themes in many ways. The transitions were useful too as the audience could see the set being changed and it was the characters who moved props, no major props were used that were not part of the set all the way through and this is essentially what we have to do as it is improvisation we work with very little than the stage and ourselves and anything that happens on stage we do and the audience see it.

        Moreover, though, seeing a productions of ‘Our Country’s Good’ and ‘Mother Courage’ influenced and guided us in the Brechtian style of theatre, which we adopted as the style for our piece. Both productions used limited, standard, simple props that were able to be a variety of different things on stage. For example in the production of ‘Our County’s Good’ we saw a box which was used as a rowing boat. In ‘Mother Courage’ any prop was utilised to the maximum so that its presence on stage was justified, for example the cart that was constantly on the move and could be altered to fit different scene scenarios. In our piece we cut back props to only three benches that are used for a variety of purposes, as they are, as church pews, to represent a cross and as a stage. Such integration justifies their presence on stage and relates to Brecht’s idea that props should be minimalist. ‘Mother Courage’ was again an influence in how we convey messages to the audience in a way that causes the audience to think on a different level than they are costumed with as Brecht wanted. In ‘Mother Courage’ music was used to convey feelings of the characters but it was not pleasant instrumental music, it was strange unfamiliar folk songs that were a story themselves as often folk songs are. In our work we used music to give scenes added depth and different approaches to what the scene is about so then it will be more likely to provoke a reaction in more of the audience. We did not use modern music but an old folk song called ‘Ye Jacobites By Name’ sung by Eddie Reada.

Another inspirational influence in the devising process was the DV8 Physical Theatre Companies work, in particular the films ‘Enter Achilles’ and ‘Strange Fish’. DV8 specialise in breaking down “the barriers between dance, theatre and personal politics and, above all, communicating ideas and feelings clearly and unpretentiously”. We accessed DV8 as a source of inspiration because we were keen to express our ideas in different form so as to provide a great contrast of dynamic throughout our piece. As well as being visually impressive, the group used movement to convey ideas and feelings successfully merely through the use of physical action. We particularly used their methods in a scene about rejection and being left out, in which we used hugging as a way of avoidance. The scene evolved into a scene about conflict because we incorporated lines from ‘A Mid Summer Night’s Dream’, which we knew by heart through performing it in February. There were pictures projected relating to the lines and the movement took away from these other aspects as the lines were not delivered clearly and the audience were torn between action we were producing and the visual message from the pictures that we changed it so that we were sat in the common room.  

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Preparation, Shaping our ideas

Whilst moving away from our initial stimulus of A Mid Summer Night’s Dream we experimented with the theme temptation. We all chose something that is a big temptation in our lives and wrote a monologue about it. My temptation was food. We experimented using sound-scapes with our monologues by this idea did not develop. What we also did was try and take the temptations and work then into scenes. We started with smoking, which was someone else in the group’s main temptation. We looked at how smoking is presented in the media now, with the ...

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