GCSE Drama: Portfolio of Evidence. Paper 1 Unit 1
Refugees - Task 1: Response Phase – Mike Wells 11AM
We were initially given two texts to progress from. The first, a photograph of a female Jewish refugee in 1938 arriving in Britain. There were no captions or headings, just the photo itself. At the outset, we were very interested in what we were expected to do as the text was very stimulating. We then had to create a background, something of a history for our Jewish girl, and produce a fact file. We decided on an age of just 16 and we thought it would be very rewarding if we added the idea of her witnessing her mother’s death and believed that we could produce some great ideas and develop dramatic techniques of an emotional standard never before practised in our course.
We had to choose between either an emotional scar or a valuable piece of information stored in her head and decided on the first one. We thought that if we had her see her mother being shot at just the age of 9 we could take these ideas further in our work. We were instructed to create a prized possession for the girl and we thought that the idea of a photograph of both of her parents together would be an interesting prospect and would have an excessive amount of sentimental value to her.
The first physical aspect of our work was creating three tableaux illustrating three highlights in her life, but not necessarily positive ones. The first was of the Jewish girl emigrating from Poland, her home country in our group. This one was seeing her mother getting shot and then her running away from the Nazis in terror. Of course, the girl running was hard to bring to life in a tableau. We used our imagination and decided to have two soldiers surrounding her mother and the Jewish girl, named Marisa, turning with her back to the murder, the side of her facing the audience with her hands over her face and the rest of her body in a desperate position attempting to run away but not exactly in a running posture. The second tableau was of Marisa arriving in Britain and we would need to include the idea of Britain being terrifying for the young girl to successfully create a still image on this scene. We had three actors in a row facing the audience stood up with their arms crossed, with mean facial expressions, looking as though they are after Marisa. They weren’t of course but we attempted to put across to the audience Marisa’s thoughts and paranoia. She is in a crouching position trying to protect herself from the unfamiliar faces of what she considers to be evil Britons whom she feels intimidated by and petrified of. The third and final tableau in the ‘Marisa’ work was to create a ‘what the future holds…’ idea in which we decided a probably future for Marisa was going into prostitution and this was definitely the most difficult to portray. We decided on placing two characters in one corner looking very thoughtfully at Marisa, all the while looking suspicious, and with Marisa being ‘comforted’ by a man, with his arm around her, looking to the audience like he is making a proposition meanwhile pressuring her, like a stereotypical pimp. At this stage, we felt if we would have props to illustrate stereotypes for example a gun, a cigar for the pimp and perhaps some lighting to highlight the main character, which in all cases was Marisa, and particularly in the final tableau, spotlight her facial expression as the pimp approaches her. This could maybe illustrate the terror and emphasise the aspect of pressure.