Evaluate the ways in which ideas were communicated to the audience

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Name: Michael Sims

Candidate Number: 8178

Centre Number: 56515

Evaluate the ways in which ideas were communicated to the audience

We constructed War Spectacular to be an abstract piece made up of a number of unconnected scenes; this structure enabled us to tell numerous different stories, all with their own message.

We realised early in the devising process that in order to keep this piece objective we would have to keep all of the scenes and settings non-specific, if we used the real names of locations, religions or people it may have caused offence to the audience, thus drawing away from our message.

There were many different messages we wanted to convey to the audience; however there was one theme which ran throughout the piece, ultimately connecting the disjointed scenes; we were showing the different ‘faces of war’.

The first ‘face of war’ which we wanted to show was the human element of war. The original concept for the play was to show the affect of a conflict upon two families, show their struggle, and ultimately their collapse. Although this concept was scrapped the themes were kept for use during War Spectacular. If we were to show the human and emotional side of war it was obvious that we needed to use a group of ‘real’ characters (opposed to the more abstract characters which would use throughout the play which would lack exposition and depth) who would open up to one another and show their hatred for the conflict. We constructed a scene with three soldiers who had been split from their unit and were forced to take shelter from the enemy in a bomb crater. My character was bitter and angry with my superior who, with his little leadership experience had got them no closer to safety. With talk of home and arguments together the two showed their insecurities and ultimately their fear. In this scene home was constructed to be the place which was away from this conflict, it is ‘safe, it’s warm…and dry’. However, in the scene ‘War spectacular’ this ideal of home was destroyed. The execution of a man within his own house was used to show that war is now not just on the battlefields but in our streets and homes. This intrusion of safety was not just meant literally but metaphorically too – with modern media we are spared no detail of a conflict; past generations believed that their ‘brave boys’ were safe and doing the good of the country, now the truth is only too evident.

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At the beginning of the devising process I was very keen to have a subtext of media manipulation throughout the play; this was achieved through two scenes.

First I wanted to make the ironic point about the hypocrisy of a news report (‘War Spectacular’ by Kate Adie) which compares a missile launch to a fireworks display, and then attempts to convey the reporters concern for the human suffering of mugged refugees. Reciting this piece while playing Holst’s Saturn, an eerie classical track gave the reading a strange poetic nature which a war report really shouldn’t have. This recital ...

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