Gcse Drama Theatre - Anna Karenina.

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GCSE Drama Theatre Visit

On the 17th October the GCSE I went to the Bolton Octagon Theatre and watched Anna Karenina. The original story was written as a novel by Count Leo Tolstoy and was adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson. The Octagon Theatre itself is very contemporary and is normally a theatre-in-the-round hence its name, however, for this play, it had been adapted to a thrust stage. It was only a small working area and the seating was very formal. Despite this, it was not a traditional stage as there were no curtains. I think that the play actually opens from the moment you walk into the auditorium, with Levin, one of the key characters, already sitting on stage. This convention was used to capture the audience's awareness and also meant that the actual opening of the play could begin whenever the actors were ready as the spectators were already quiet and ready for the performance to commence.

Levin was sat in the corner of the stage, writing in the candle light into a journal. This intrigued the audience, making them wonder why he is there and what he may be writing about. The drama began with a very loud, shocking train horn sounding which focused the audience to the stage. I thought that this was a good opening scene because the loud sounds made the audience silence straight away and got the action going quickly, rather than having to start off slowly and build up pace which often makes the audience lose interest. It was also a good effect because there was a large contrast between the stillness and silence of Levin at the beginning and what was happening right then. At this a smoke machine was set off, adding the impression of a train station as Anna entered.

On Anna Karenina's entrance, a dark hooded figure followed her and she kept on screaming, "Who are you", which again confused the audience into asking what was happening, and what was going to happen next. Although the question intrigued the audience, it also caused confusion, which made a lot of the attention of the audience change from the stage, to asking someone else what was going on.

At this, the hooded figure left the stage by going up the stairs by the audience. By exiting via the stairs, it included the audience in the drama which made the piece more interesting. By doing this, they not only added to the interest of the audience, it made the audience part of the drama itself.
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The set was very minimal and only used props and lighting effects to set the scene. The main props in the play were two simple chairs on either side of the play, which were moved to show a change in setting. For example, on the opening scene of the play, each chair was on either side of the stage, representing, what I believe to be the mind of Anna and Levin but for the ballroom scenes, the chairs were moved to centre stage and the actors acted around them.

The set was specially designed for the play, ...

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