Sam Kimish AS Drama & Theatre Studies
Exploration of Drama and Theatre
Over the last 5 months as a class, we have been exploring the plays “Blood Wedding” by Federico Garcia Lorca and “The Woman Before” by Roland Schimmelpfennig. Through the methods of various practitioners, group discussions and solitary research I feel I have investigated both plays to a great depth.
Response to Practitioner
The play “Blood Wedding” lends itself extremely well to the works of the practitioners Constantin Stanislavski and Artaud. Within our class we explored how the more surreal scenes could be developed further by incorporating Artaud’s theories of sensory deprivation and non literal sounds. Artaud liked placing his audiences in the centre of the theatre, with seats that could turn and enjoyed engulfing and overwhelming his audiences with a massive accumulation of effects. I played on this by selecting 5 audience members to sit in a small circle facing inwards and blindfolding them (sensory deprivation). By removing their ability to see, every action would be a surprise and would evoke a sensual and involuntary response rather than detached and intellectual; something which Artaud aimed for in his performances. When creating more naturalistic scenes, I developed my characters using Stanislavski’s theory of emotion memory and given circumstances. I first analysed the text to deduce my character’s main emotion in the scene I was enacting and then thought to a time in my life when I had felt a similar emotion. This allowed me to sympathise with my character much further and in turn, make the audience believe in my performance as the emotions I displayed were true, real, raw emotions and came from the heart.
“The Woman Before” on the other hand is a very different play. The script feels very naturalistic with the only surrealism coming in the climactic scene. I decided to use the theories of Bertolt Brecht to help the audience to understand the otherwise dauntingly difficult, leaps in time. With the play seamlessly flowing from present to past and future, the time changes are made easier to understand with placards held at the start of each scene, something Brecht championed in the theatre circle. This ensured that the audience remained focused on the action rather than spending time trying to work out where the action was taking place on the timeline.
I believe the main difference between the two plays is the style of writing. “The Woman Before” is very naturalistic and follows the ebbs and flows of natural language whereas “Blood Wedding” is a lot more surreal, with characters that symbolise death etc. This affects the choice of practitioners as each practitioner is more suited to a particular style of writing.
Our introduction to “Blood Wedding” began with the class being asked to create a tableaux depicting a symbolised interpretation of the title of the text: “Blood Wedding”. My initial thoughts were that the title represented something holy or pure (“Wedding”) being tarnished or ruined (“Blood”) so I set out recreating such a scene. To represent the purity of the title I showed the birth of a child with characters behind shrouding the mother and baby in black shadows to represent the putrid aspect. I went to the props box and found not only black cloaks but also a single red rose which I suggested be placed on the baby to symbolise new life and fertility. Overall I think the workshop really helped in my understanding of the play, without even opening the text. I got to hear and see each group’s interpretations of the title, allowing us to draw upon those and create out own opinions on what the play may be about.