How did your role emerge, how was it communicated, and in what ways was the stimulus material developed through the drama process?

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Helen Fletcher 13A Structured Record

Q1) How did your role emerge, how was it communicated, and in what ways was the stimulus material developed through the drama process?

As a group, we immediately wanted to avoid the typical structure of each actor playing one character and using a central monologue to communicate. It seemed rigid, and unoriginal, and the audience were likely to become disinterested if it became excessively predictable. In relation to Peter Brook’s quote “Drama is exposure; it is confrontation it is contradiction and leads to analysis, involvement, recognition and eventually to an awakening of understanding”, we aimed to throw the audience in different directions, testing their perceptions of our concept of blind love.

We therefore felt that portraying a range of characters using a variety of different stimuli would be more suitable, given the different personalities within our group. The first role I played was based on Helena from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is a classic example of someone refusing to acknowledge the truth, and because there was a comic element, we decided to use it as the first of our edited texts. I saw Helena as someone with very low self-esteem, and particularly selfish at times. She will give anything to be with Demetrius, even betraying her best friend: “I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight”, and there is a sense of real desperation. I portrayed this physically by even grabbing hold of Dan, who played Demetrius, on the line “I will fawn on you”. When he then pushes me away, I wanted to make Helena look surprised, to emphasise her naivety. I rarely made eye contact with the Dan, to portray a sense of low self-worth, “Unworthy as I am to follow you” which was an evident contrast to Dan’s staring, intimidating body language and eye contact. This evoked a certain degree of sympathy from the audience, particularly when she reflects on her love for Demetrius: “And therefore is love said to be a child/Because in choice he is so oft beguiled”. Here, I gestured to Dan, playing Demetrius on the word “choice” to make this clearer to the audience, and to show her sense of despondency. Making Helena purely comic, and mocking her desperation would not have communicated our concept effectively, as it would have created a link between closed eyes and stupidity, which was not our aim.

Chronologically, the next role I played was a member of the chorus, attempting to make society, “see with more than [their] eyes”. We used lines from ‘Tristan and Yseult’ such as “what is love…it is hope, and despair…it is a wish, and a curse…which is which, which is worse?” with each chorus member saying a different line. Each time a new line was added, forming a crescendo of voices, and ended with Ele shouting the final line: ‘What does love mean?’ and the other members replying in unison with “It doesn’t mean anything!”. This communicated the vast range of different perspectives people can have on love, and the different circumstances there are, linking to our concept of circumstantial love. The final line was in reply to “What does love mean?” which we spoke in unison, with a frustrated tone “It doesn’t mean anything”. This frustration showed the continuing effort the chorus characters were giving, trying to make the main characters see the truth.

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This was also shown when I played part of the chorus in the ‘Positive Hour’ scene. Josh, Dan and I were sitting on one of the blocks watching the scene, and particularly the realisation of Hannah’s character, Miranda. Throughout the scene, there would be moments when she would pause and begin to comprehend what was happening, which we as chorus members would immediately pick up on. Miranda’s husband Roger, played by Nick, was attempting to tell her that he was homosexual, and she had put up an emotional barrier of denial which prevented her accepting this. We all used frustrated ...

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