How would you want your audience to respond to the character of Mrs Betterton in Act Two, Scene Two? Explain how you would perform the role in order to achieve your aims.

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1 2  How would you want your audience to respond to the character of Mrs Betterton in Act Two, Scene Two?  Explain how you would perform the role in order to achieve your aims. 

In this scene, Mrs. Betterton is speaking (we assume because we don’t actually hear his voice or see him on stage) to Mr. Betterton. She begins with the lines ‘Thomas? Thomas? It is the matter we discussed at breakfast. You remember?’. This should give the audience the feeling that she is slightly nervous about broaching the subject of a previous conversation again and that when this had been talked about before, no conclusion had been made. I think Mrs. Betterton should speak this as if speaking to ‘Thomas’, out in to the audience. This gives the audience the ability to see all her emotions laid out in front of them because they can see all her facial expressions clearly. She should say these lines timidly and perhaps with a sigh suggesting that she already has tried to raise a conclusion. The fact that she is addressing Mr. Betterton about this also shows that women are inferior to men and that men have more say in the ways of business. Shortly after broaching the subject to Mr. Betterton, she starts to go off topic “There is scarcely a fellow that does not sport one. Bristly or fluffy. You cannot step out of doors nowadays but you see a periwig advancing towards you at great speed and in danger of toppling’ again, the fact that she has deviated from the subject again means that she is worried about asking the question straight out. This again shows that she knows he is more powerful and could have anything done to her as a consequence. We assume that they are married, meaning they have a lose relationship. However, Mrs. Betterton is still stepping on eggshells around her husband. This line should be spoken with nervous laughter and she shouldn’t know what to do with her hands. She could be looking to the floor to show that she is a lower status than her husband and occasionally glancing up to see his reaction and then make an expression according to that. She should speak the lines fast as if to get them over with as quickly as possible. She continues to procrastinate throughout the speech; ‘no my dear, we were not referring to your particular wig’, ‘squashed’, ‘yes, I explained that it was your lucky hat dear, passed down through generations’, and lastly, ‘we need a new cupboard for the cheese especially’.

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When Doll enters the tiring room, she asks after the conclusion of the questioning and Mrs. Betterton says ‘He has to answer to higher than himself, remember.’ This shows that she is proud of her husband being high up in the theatre world and that she wants to let everyone know and speculate to with whom he is answering to. She should say this as if she is better than everyone else, she is married and her husband is in a high place. She should turn her nose up at Doll and say the words in a condescending way ...

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