Ken reacts to her sympathy with a sincere apology but quickly reverses to his agenda, in the third sentence, 'I'm sorry. That was a bit...whining. Well don't let me stop you.' Ken realises that he was slipping towards Mrs. Boyle's aim, so he offers no pause between his apology and his comeback.
Mrs. Boyle replies in an attempt to gain some knowledge on what Ken thinks she is here to do in an effort to work around him by asking, 'Doing what?' Ken does not yield to her efforts, but instead offers his blithe humour to work out of a tight corner. The mood should be less tense now and is helped by Mrs. Boyle's reply, 'I'm afraid I've left my bikini at home.' Her actor's expression should be relaxed, and not as concerned, but not playful either because this would let her professional image down. Ken's next response, 'Who said anything about a bikini?' should be delivered in an open manner, wanting an exact response. However, Mrs. Boyle returns exactly the opposite reply that Ken would have desired, 'Dr. Emerson tells me that you don't want anymore treatment.' Her actor should take a step back from Ken before delivering this line, signalling her personal detachment from Ken, and calling on her professionalism, to the audience. This causes the friction between them to return (at this moment, there should be a frown on Ken's face to show his distaste). Therefore Ken feels obliged to return one-word answers, 'Good.' Although, I feel Ken would still like to discuss this sensitive issue with her, so he decides it's in his interests to talk. Yet, he retains his awkward attitude to a lesser degree and uses it to put his points forward powerfully. The ensuing conversation would see Mrs. Boyle take a more interested approach and witness Ken more aware and less reserved (facially, his eyes would move a lot more and he would be a lot more active). At the end of it, Ken releases another joke to the audience, 'Are you my new treatment; get in'- referring to Dr. Emerson's approach to delivering Ken's medicine, which seems obscure to Mrs. Boyle so her reaction is to ignore his remark and continue with her subject.
She questions Ken, 'Why don't you want anymore treatment?' I think the conversation is gradually focusing on trying to resolve the issue of why Ken refuses treatment. Therefore, both Mrs. Boyle and Ken are trying to persuade each other and for that they need to impress their points carefully and convincingly; their expression and tone need to reflect that. 'I'd rather not go on living like this' Ken insists. This is an overt decision, which sums up Ken's message to her, so the actor must deliver it in a gentle voice, intended to move her- ultimately, influencing her emotions. Yet, Mrs. Boyle reacts in a startled manner, 'Why not?' in an effort to discourage Ken on his will. Ken replies, 'Isn't it obvious?' This is the first sign that shows Ken feels intimidated by Mrs. Boyle's bluntness, so his response should be delivered in a rhetoric manner along with a hint of disgust at her question. However, Mrs. Boyle fails to see his agitation, or might have deliberately ignored it, and answers his 'question' in a direct response, 'Not to me. I've seen many patients like you.'
Ken realises that she isn't latching on to his hints and she is underestimating his mental capacity so he returns to the conversation in an attempt to manipulate Mrs. Boyle with quick, complacent question because he is unable to get his view across in a direct approach. Mrs. Boyle continues to return genuinely professional opinions. Ken has already predicted what she will say, so whilst she is speaking he would portray a dismissive attitude by looking at the ceiling, often, to convey his drift from Mrs. Boyle.
She treats him purely like a patient, not as a mentally capable person, which frustrates Ken because it makes it impossible for him to communicate openly with her. Ultimately, his frustration grows to scorn and then aggression. 'Reading and writing. What about arithmetic?'- Ken ridicules what Mrs. Boyle, quite optimistically, suggests so this line should be delivered in a personal way, with Ken making sharp eye contact with her. Mrs. Boyle insists on overlooking his insults, in her professional manner- offering no appropriate reaction, but often blindly dismissing them- '(smiling) I dare say we could fit you up with a comptometer if...' This would emotionally enrage Ken so his actor needs to convey this with sharp frowns and tense his facial muscles in anger, whilst being careful not to explicitly indicate this to Mrs. Boyle. This is an intentional ploy by Clark, so that the suspense continues and the scene does not draw to a premature close.
'Mrs. Boyle, even educationalists have realised that the three r's do not constitute a full life.' After Ken delivers his response, Mrs. Boyle concedes to his argument but swiftly seeks to regain her stance by slipping into the situation from another angle, 'What did you do before the accident?' Ken equally dislikes this counteraction because by choosing this option, Mrs. Boyle can avoid intellectual confrontation. Ken would desire this because their conflict, in personal opinion, would knock down her barriers of professionalism. However, Ken masks his dismay and replies in a clear expression, for Mrs. Boyle to realise the degree of difficulty, if not impossibility, it would be to return being a sculptor. Mrs. Boyle responds, 'I see'. From a personal, directorial view I would advise that Mrs. Boyle not deliver the line in its reality- that is the impossibility of Ken returning to his occupation- but in an attempt to offset Ken's pessimism; so he should speak in a cheerful tone, almost as if she is congratulating him on his achievement, as opposed to discussing the true outlook, which would be delivered in a hopeless tone.
Ken remains unaffected by her approach and sarcastically ridicules her optimism, once again, 'How about an electrically operated hammer and chisel? No, well. Or a cybernetic lump of clay?'
Mrs. Boyle warns Ken on his pessimism and remarks, 'Our scientists are wonderful...It's amazing what can be done.' Ken's response is a prime cog in the development of this scene so it should be delivered in a strong, rational tone with a lot of accompanying facial expression. He tries to sum up his situation, 'I have absolutely no desire at all to be the object of scientific virtuosity...I have thought things over carefully...and I have decided that I do not want to go on living.' Mrs. Boyle reacts in her usual offsetting manner, 'Yes, well, we shall have to see about that' and is met by Ken's classic rhetoric, 'What is there to see?' They lock into a debate, but Mrs. Boyle is careful to speak only on behalf of the medical staff by using the term "we" thereby remaining personally detached from Ken. This argument would see Mrs. Boyle take a concerned attitude, paying close attention to Ken's expressions which would be acted in a very open yet subtle manner to try and get Mrs. Boyle to see the hopelessness of the situation in his light. Her optimism enters, yet again, 'We have to make the best of the situation' but is met with Ken's overwhelmingly blunt reply, 'No. "We" don't have to do anything...I have to cash in the chips.' The first sentence shows his frustration creeping up on him and he is beginning to lose his cool. Boyle realises that Ken's intelligence has her cornered once again, so she returns to casually stating optimistic comments, 'It's not unusual for people suffering from depression...'
Their conversation develops into a one-sided war, in which Ken is intent on trying to succumb his opponent on her soil- her subject of conversation.
He continues to ask the helpless questions, 'How long? [before I could recover]' despite the fact that he has already concluded his mind and is therefore constantly returning with his stark pessimism in order to unhinge Mrs. Boyle's professionalism, 'And it could last for the rest of my life.' Mrs. Boyle response, 'That would be most unlikely' would be delivered in a doubtful tone to compliment her words and offer a counteraction to Ken's offensive. As Ken's goals are already reserved his answers will come swiftly with a sharpened edge, 'I'm sorry. I cannot settle for that.' After delivering this line, Ken should turn away from Mrs. Boyle's- to show to the audience that he is unconvinced. She returns an appropriate response 'Try not to dwell on it...we can make a start on reading machines' that should be acted in a encouraging way, using a lot of constructive hand movements. Ken greets her proposal with a deceptive co-operation, 'Do you have many books for these machines?...Can I make a request?' but then unmasks his mocking sarcasm in an aim to inflict the maximum insult, 'How to be a sculptor with no hands.'
Mrs. Boyle offers no attempt respond, as she is just about to leave Ken. He now feels that his efforts to persuade Mrs. Boyle to talk with him, as a person, have miserably failed and his response to that failure, and Mrs. Boyle's stubbornness, is very emotionally charged.
His awkwardness changes to aggressive challenges. This steady transition from his usual sarcasm should be accompanied, on stage, with frowns and piercing stares to reflect his antagonism, 'All you bloody people have the same technique...you're all the bloody same.' This message is very explicit and at the core of what Ken is trying to prove so he should deliver it in a forceful way, possibly by shouting and hammering his points down. At this instance, the stage lights should brightly focus on Ken, aiding him to reinforce his view, but more importantly help him to deliver them to the audience in a way that would entice the biggest reflection.
He conveys his disgust at the professionally heavy-handed treatment Mrs. Boyle meted out to him, by playing his intellect card. He collated all the criticisms of her "professionalism" throughout their conversation and is prepared to explode them onto the scene. Clarke uses this as an opportunity to display Ken's obvious intelligence. 'Well there's another outburst. That should be your cue to comment on the light-shade or something...' Ken's renewed offensive should startle Mrs. Boyle because of its directness and if properly acted should also take the same toll on the audience.
We should see Mrs. Boyle in a nervous disposition and her next response, 'I'm sorry if I've upset you' should be delivered in a shaky voice and a displaced tone to signal her anxiety and unease. However, Ken is unrelenting and continues to project his views. This is where Clark starts to rebuild the apprehension and suspense that leads to the finale, where Ken is furious. The build-up is very careful and thought-though; Ken manages to attack Mrs. Boyle from all sides, 'That's alright with me. Detach yourself...Christ Almighty...I say something offensive and you turn your professional cheek...Can't you see that this is why I've decided that life isn't worth living.' His remarks take a high emotional toll on Mrs. Boyle and she may well start to blush.
The awfully personal and direct manner of his speech should be acted in a heavy handed way where Ken exercises a whole array of expressions, tones and emotions. He should try to reflect these succinctly and openly in an effort to grasp the audience and leave an impression.
Obviously, all this leaves Mrs. Boyle quite speechless, 'I'm...please' and understandably frustrated by the unfair treatment Ken dishes out. Ken's emotions quickly boil over and should start shouting at Mrs. Boyle, 'Go...get out...get out...go on.' Rocking his head side to side would be an excellent way to convey his emotions, physically, because it would affect the audience in a different light, as he is totally impaired from the neck down and they automatically try to relate the minimalist of his actions to the a way an able person would act. On stage, as Mrs. Boyle departs, we should see a flushed reaction as she makes eye contact with the audience and then quickly makes her way to Sister's room. The audience should see the guilt she feels this way.
The biggest undertone to this scene is that it sees Ken displaying his diffident doubts over actually wishing to die. More to the point, he is unwittingly transpiring this fact through his emotional mood and fiery outbursts that stem from his frustration.
The second scene that I choose to analyse is the 'tranquilliser scene'. Its shows how arrogant the medical profession can be by ignoring the will of its patients and describes the strategy Ken applies to lash out at Dr. Emerson with his crude, yet understandable reaction at the treatment he receives. Clark explores Ken's nature in bright contrast (the section where Dr. Scott is talking with Ken about administering the Valium in comparison with Dr. Emerson's harsh treatment). He selectively chooses very powerful means to exhibit this. However, the director has tried to underline Ken's powerlessness at trying to resist the measures that are imposed on him, as the major theme, in this scene.
Dr. Scott enters the scene asking Sister whether she'd deliver the drug to Ken. However, she decides that she will personally go and administer it to him. Clark intends this line as a signal to the audience that Dr. Scott shares more than just a professional relationship with Ken, that she is willing to provide her attention and care. This is something that Ken desperately desires and reflects that by talking more openly and with more friendly affection to these types of characters (like Nurse Sadler and Dr. Scott) than which he is seen to share with others.
She request to come in by telling Ken, 'I've brought something to help you.' Her manner would be as casual as her profession will allow it to be. At this point, Dr. Scott would be looking for the same response- in the way of an invitation, by Ken, into his room. He grants her that, 'My God they've got some highly qualified Nurses in this hospital.' She returns his humour, 'Only the best in the hospital.' After this start, Dr. Scott's professionalism starts to ebb away and her conversation with Ken becomes more social. They soon start to joke openly and Clark wishes to emphasise the contrast between how Ken reacts normally with Dr. Scott and his abrupt, sarcastic tone with strictly professional characters like Mrs. Boyle.
At the close of his humorous remark, '...at the bottom of every bed pan lies a matron...' Ken returns to the serious side of the situation. From my view, Ken's next line shows his emotions in their full glory, and to highlight that, the director should impose a short silence between his last comment and his next, 'Just now, for two glorious minutes, I felt like a human being again.' The silent break would grab the audience and focus their attention to this key line. Ken should convey his emotions to the audience with a smile and a sigh (of some relief).
Her condensed reply, 'Good,' would indicate to the audience that Dr. Scott understands where Ken is coming from, but almost chooses to keep a certain degree of detachment or ignore it. She could have done this by asking another, unrelated question or changing the subject (as other characters may react) but Clark realises that if he does this, it would damage their close relationship and then their views about each other may not carry as much influence. This would also cause the play, overall, to lose an elemental viewpoint and blind the audience on many of Ken's feelings that he shares with Dr. Scott. His reaction is very apposite, 'And now you're going to spoil it.' This once again, renders Ken's intellect very transparent, because it shows how quickly he can decipher the undertone to Dr. Scott's reply.
The following is a crucial sector in the scene, where Dr. Scott genuinely understands some of Ken's problems. Her response to some of Ken's comments would be of surprise and Ken would endeavour to deliver his arguments in an assertive manner.
His message about the doctors and Nurses feeling impotent and are therefore tranquillising themselves by keeping Ken quite and away from their thoughts. His flow of words should be stable and aloof, to show that he is telling the story as it really is- the truth. He would keep his composure to persuade Dr. Scott that he is being very rational.
It must be appreciated that Ken never loses his temper throughout this section, helping his effort to impress on Dr. Scott his intelligence and the integrity of his decisions. They talk about him banging his against the wall and Ken stresses that he retains full control over his consciousness- that he must be awarded full rights over the conclusions it arrives at. As a casual shrug, he tells her that if she wants tranquillity she can take the tablet, but he wont.
He replies to her professional argument, 'It is prescribed' with a general snub. Their relationship is now as strong as ever because Ken realises that Dr. Scott appreciates his intelligence that has led him to a will of wanting to die. Her response to his snub is not off subjugation but of understanding, '...Well, you aren't due for it until twelve o'clock. We'll see...'
Ken offers an amusing remark saying if you don't whether to take a tranquilliser sleep on it. This is a stage direction in itself because it educates the audience on how open their relation has become and how much it has developed; as far as Ken is concerned- in the right direction. Her departing smile reinforces that bond.
This next section of the scene focuses on the sexually lively relationship between Nurse Sadler and John. It draws contrasts between their situation and Ken crippling paralysis that renders him sexually null.
Clarke intends their existence in the play for a dual purpose. One is the former and the later is to stabilise the play's development by creating gaps rather than just constructing the play exclusively around Ken's problems. However, this remains a sideline of two very different characters that play crucial roles in production with their contradictory views. Often, John takes very realistic, blunt approaches, whilst Nurse Sadler tries to uphold some degree of professionalism that Ken is always penetrating because of her inexperience.
John is playful, (on stage, his attitude should be exaggerated- 'John gasps and hold his groin...' etc.) with Nurse Sadler, and takes no reservations about speaking his opinion of Ken. However, Nurse Sadler doesn't take the same approach; she is more embroiled in her work and offers less attention to John's antics, although she does react quite sicKened at some of the things he says. In this way, she can act as the innocent, ethical voice in the play.
He says that the hospital is an ante-room of the morgue. This line should be delivered in a serious manner but with a careless shrug to show his "no bullshit" approach. Nurse Sadler passionately debates this with him; she comments on Mr. Trevellyan who will be released tomorrow. John replies with a sarcastic comment, 'After his third heart attack! I hope they give him a return ticket on the ambulance.'
The audience should see Nurse Sadler starts to get annoyed, and replies, 'Would you let them die? People like Mr. Harrison?' John sees that the Nurse is getting miffed, so he takes a serious tone and informs her of the fact that, 'In Africa children die of measles. It would cost only a few of pounds to keep them alive. There's something crazy somewhere.' This would signal to audience that John is obviously a lot more pragmatic than Nurse Sadler. They continue for a while, but soon enough John's frisky attitude returns; the director would try to impress the realistic approach he assumes but does not continue their quarrel as it might endanger their relationship. There would also be no real point to extending the argument as Clarke has achieved his objective and would just be wasting time.
The director would want John in the play because he offers a different slant from the medical staff and their professionalism. He is also the only actor that shares no professionalism with Ken and always acts regularly with him. Another objective of this scene is to offer yet another perspective for the audience to realise that as Ken's paralysis kicks in, life still goes on around him.
At this stage, in the thick of the play, Clark is developing all the characters and their obligations. He is also introducing their different attributes, in a very subtle manner by dropping hints to the audience without creating new circumstances for them characters to illustrate their views and reactions.
In the subsequent section, Clark calls on Emerson to prove his tremendous professionalism and on Dr. Scott to display her doubts over what treatment Emerson wants to give to Ken. This causes some a rift in their opinions and creates an uneasy professional friction.
Dr. Scott enters Dr. Emerson's room whilst he is talking on the phone about financial costs. This automatically conveys an image of a high-responsibility person and therefore has the obligation of disciplining his staff, as well as having the right to get angry. He replaces the phone and turns his attention to Dr. Scott. She explains how Ken refuses to take the Valium and makes no effort in trying to break it to him gently, 'He doesn't want to take Valium' she explains. Dr. Emerson's first reaction is confusion at how a paralysed man, that actually requires the drug, can actively deter a doctor from administering to him, 'Doesn't want to take it. What do you mean?' He understands her explanation as if Ken impulsively refused the drug, '...it does set up a negative reaction to even necessary drugs, in sensitive people' that's why his character should not direct this line at Dr. Scott, personally.
However, her next line, 'I'm not sure he's not right' frustrates Dr. Emerson because he realises that Ken has managed to infiltrate the hospital's wall of professionalism (by influencing Dr. Scott) between its patients, so it becomes of grave concern to him.
He tries to explain to Dr. Scott her mistake by talking to her in a punitive manner. This shows his power-status but more importantly his views on Ken, 'Now let's get this clear. This morning when you examined him, you came to a... But in spite of two qualified opinions, you accept the decision of someone completely unqualified to take it.' Dr. Scott sides with Ken in front of Emerson, 'He maybe unqualified, but he's the one affected' and her line should be delivered in a defensive way.
I feel the director would portray Dr. Emerson frustrated yet composed. Dr. Scott supports Ken against Dr. Emerson who responds with 'Ours was objective, his was a subjective decision' meaning that their decision was based on facts, Ken's on his feelings; and as far as Dr. Emerson is concerned, Ken is depressed. As the discord develops, Dr. Emerson's frustration develops into annoyance at how Dr. Scott cannot just accept his view. He shows this by becoming increasingly graphic about his points, 'When he came in, shocked to hell, did he protest...or when he was gasping for breath...didn't he use some of it to protest about the hug stat dose of cortisone...' As he continues with Dr. Scott the audience should see Dr. Emerson's general tone growing more assertive.
He stresses that even though Ken is now conscious, they still have a responsibility to try to maximise whatever power he retains. Dr. Scott counteracts him by replying, 'And how does a depressant drug improve his consciousness?' Clarke intends this line a challenge, not a defence by using the word 'and' at the start. If he had intended Dr. Scott to defend, as she had been doing, he would have instructed her to say 'but'. This shows Dr. Scott's irritation. His reply is very personal (showing signs that he is sympathetic toward her viewpoint, but feels justified with his own) elaborated by the fact that he uses her name, 'Clare...we must help him to an acceptance of his condition. Only then will his full consciousness be any use to him at all......' The pause at the end indicates that Dr. Scott has restrained under Dr. Emerson's pressure. Her facial expression would be of annoyance but powerlessness. This is evident by her nod rather than a 'yes' when Dr. Emerson asks a question. At this point, they should both be displaying similar expressions of frustration.
He picks up the phone to ask Sister to have the Valium ready, so he can personally dispense it to him. It shows the rift in his relationship with Dr. Scott as he no longer can trust her to give it to him, 'Emerson here. Could prepare a syringe with five milligrams of Valium for Mr. Harrison.' Clark tries to indicate that Dr. Emerson is the one in charge (by not feeling the need to say 'please' at the end of his request). Any good director would pick up on this point, and also use it as a way of expressing Dr. Emerson's unhappiness at his argument between Dr. Scott, that he feels then need to, inadvertently, release his anger on others.
Subsequent to this Dr. Emerson goes to Sister's office, Dr. Scott asks if she should come with him but he refuses. He walks into the Sister's office and asks if she has the Valium ready. She hands him the kidney dish and makes to follow him. Dr. Emerson says to her 'It's alright Sister. You've plenty of work I expect.'
I believe Clark wants to show how Dr. Emerson feels that Dr. Scott will add emotion and therefore fuss to this situation if she tags along. His refusal to allow Sister to come along, however, shows a sinister side to his intentions.
Dr. Emerson intrudes into Ken's room and is greeted with a humorous remark "Hello, hello, they've bought up the heavy brigade.' Instead of responding to this in any way, Dr. Emerson walks over to Ken's bed and specifically reaches for his arm. This shows how focused Dr. Emerson's aim is and the director would want to project this point by advising Dr. Emerson's character, that as he comes in, he should look at Ken's arm and not directly at Ken.
Ken reacts to Dr. Emerson's actions with a strong, stern order, 'I must insist that you do not stick that needle in me.' Dr. Emerson should deliver his reply whilst preparing Ken's arm, 'It is important that I do.' This would show how irrespective he is of Ken's judgment. 'Who for' Ken asks. Dr. Emerson's response, 'You' should be delivered in a hard, assertive tone.
Ken continues to protest, trying to put off his injection by encouraging Dr. Emerson to first overcome his opinion, 'I take it that is one of a series of measures to keep me alive.....Then its not important. I've decided not to stay alive.' Dr. Emerson suggests that Ken is too depressed to decide that. 'Does that surprise you?' Yet again, Ken is enticing Dr. Emerson to talk. Dr. Emerson puts forward his professional opinion about how his body hasn't come to acceptance about his condition so he can't certify what is right and necessary for his body. As Dr. Emerson as about to inject, Ken tries to repel him, 'Don't stick that thing in me!' His protest would be a spiral of facial expressions like anger, aggression and sharp looks accompanied by a hard-line tone. This would cause a stir in the audience and firmly place Dr. Emerson as a 'baddy' in the audiences' eyes. Emerson ignores him and injects him with the Valium anyway. This reinforces the point that I made earlier about whatever Dr. Emerson says goes.
After Ken has been injected with, he asks Dr. Emerson why he injected him with the Valium, 'Doctor, I didn't give you permission...why did you do it?' This line should be delivered with a lot of aggression and spite. The bare answer he gets for that question is that it "was necessary". At this point the director would want to show that Dr. Emerson doesn't really need to explain his actions and illustrate this point by showing that Dr. Emerson still doesn't make any eye contact with Ken, but instead concentrates on the syringe and clearing up the "mess" created by this activity.
Clark builds up to the climax of the scene as Dr. Emerson enters the room. He does not make eye contact or any effort to speak with Ken but goes straight for his arm. Any good director would have Dr. Emerson enter the room coolly and inject him with the needle. Even when he speaks to Ken, The director would have Dr. Emerson concentrating on Ken's arm or the syringe. The scene finishes with Ken going to sleep (...Ken is frustrated and then his eyes close).
Prior to this, Ken states that the only thing that he still has the right to claim to use was his consciousness. At this point he also loses this right to it because more than one occasion Ken tells Dr. Emerson not to inject him with needle and he still does. And as a final stab, Emerson plays down the meaning of this when he is knows that its means more than just an injection to Ken; it means that he wants to show that he possesses control over his own treatment, his own will. Dr. Emerson crushes these hopes.
Clark displays the ethical meaning in the play through many of the debates, apparent in almost every scene. These keep the audience interested and also cause them to reflect their own views. In this way, the director has a very important role to play as to present these debates in a manner that would retract the biggest reflection from the audience and generate, many varied opinions. Clark does well in presenting this in a dramatic form.