Discuss how you would direct Mrs Betterton in 2 sections of the play, making it clear the effect you hope to have on your audience.

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Discuss how you would direct Mrs Betterton in 2 sections of the play, making it clear the effect you hope to have on your audience.  (PLAYHOUSE CREATURES)

In playhouse creatures, Mrs Betterton is the eldest female actress and she is looked up to by the rest of the cast as she is the most superior and knowledgeable actress. I am going to look at how to direct her on pages 46, 47 and 48 and the beginning of scene 5 because this is where I think this is her most powerful speech where we really see what she is like and how she is controlled by Mr Betterton.

Her first line on page 46 ‘From today I shall not be attending the theatre on a regular basis’. Throughout the play we get the impression that she is getting a little past her time and her acting talent is not enough to keep her in the theatre; this is the first time she mentions it herself. She should speak this line from the back of the stage whilst walking forward as she is suddenly being noticed in the room by the other actresses. Walking forward as she whispers her lines because she does not want to accept the truth in what she is saying. She should be wringing her hands and not looking at anyone in particular as if she can’t face the fact that she is no longer a valued actress in this theatre.  I would have all the actresses in a group talking as to show that Mrs Betterton is separate from them due to her age and superiority. ‘Mr Betterton has talked to me’ is another significant line on this page because throughout the play we never see Mr Betterton we just hear that he has been giving orders and that he runs the theatre. This shows what a powerful presence men have on the lives of women in this time as we can hear his demands and not see him. When she speaks of Mr Betterton, I think she should brighten up because, even though he controls her, they are happily married and have been acting together for years and years so he must care for her. I would want the audience to feel strong sympathy for Mrs Betterton because she has to stop what she loves with the man she loves and there will be nothing left for her because of her low status of being female.  She won’t be able to get a job because in anything other than ‘oyster or orange’ selling or prostitution. Mrs Betterton mentions that ‘some younger actresses should be given a chance’ – this represents the fact that even her husband believes she is past her acting career and that he thinks having younger actresses will increase the custom of the theatre because the men only want to watch the younger generation. She should say this wistfully, as if she doesn’t have a care in the world and that it has been her decision to leave the theatre. This is because she wants the younger actresses to think that she has a choice, this way they will keep respect for her even though she is no longer part of the theatre.

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On page 47, Mrs Betterton has a long speech reminiscing about her past acting with Mr Betterton. She goes through her acting career with her husband, throughout this speech she should be getting more and more delirious and quieter and quieter. At this point in the play I think that she is losing the plot because she has had the one thing to live for in her life taken away. However, she should have the happy memories flooding out of her the whole way through, crying happy tears and perhaps laughing to show that she cant control her emotions anymore. ...

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