"Prejudice and Racism"

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Sebastian Jacobs 10P 

“The Response Phase”

        At the beginning of this term we began our topic of “Prejudice and Racism” with an exercise where the group was split into two halves. In those groups we were given some briefs one after the other and the task was to include the whole group by the end of the scene. We later found out that the instructions we were given were all based on parts of the Stephen Lawrence attack.

As soon as we were given the tasks it’s strange but true that almost our entire group decided to interpret the briefs in a comical way. No one thought of making it serious. Perhaps because racism is such a hard topic to deal with the group found it hard to act out such a serious theme. This exercise definitely needed good teamwork skills and tested whether we could work together with people that we don’t usually work with. It is a sad fact that hardly any of our group thought of making it emotional and dramatic rather than a comedy.

After we were told the true-life story behind the topic we used many different dramatic skills to tell the story. We used synchronised movement for the scene when Stephen was surrounded and when he and his friend, Dwayne, split up on their way home to make it have much more dramatic impact. Another technique we used is called “Thoughts Aloud”, which we used for the gang after the attack. By allowing the gang to say their thoughts aloud it showed the confusion they had and allowed us to question how someone could do something like that. We also used freeze frames when the gang were surrounding Stephen which again let us question how our character was feeling at each stage of the attack, were they fully intent on killing this man, or did they kind of feel caught up in something they didn’t want to be in.


In the next lesson we moved away from the main story. We had to make a family photo (a freeze frame) where we were split into small groups of four or five and each group were given an emotion to explore, for example happiness or sadness. This exercise was used to try and bring emotion into our future drama pieces, to make them more professional. Freeze frames are most effective when used to build tension just before the high point of the drama or can be used at the beginning or end to give the audience time to think about what’s happening and how they feel about it. Perhaps this also made us think about what a family is, and helped us when we had to include these ideas in the main story, especially in the next scene that we acted.


We used the drama technique “Forum Theatre” for the next scene, which was when the police had to tell Stephen’s parents the awful news. Forum Theatre is when some people act out a scene and as the rest of the group watch, if anyone has a good idea they go into the scene and replace one of the characters. We used the technique for this scene to try and encourage everyone to contribute and share their ideas, and hopefully make everyone feel that their ideas were valued. Because you don’t just say your ideas, you actually act them out, this is a much better way to explore the subject and see whether what you think would work when the scene is played. This is yet another way that we helped our characters evolve and made it so that we had a better understanding and an all round view of the main characters in the story.

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The next scene we had to perform involved the car journey to the hospital with Stephen’s parents. In this piece my group showed the parents saying things to one another and we used the “Thoughts Aloud” technique again in between their spoken words. It really showed how what the parents were thinking was totally different to what they were actually saying. Again, because we were thinking about feelings as well as words it made it easier to act the scenes out in a realistic way.  My group used physical theatre with people as the car seats and acting as ...

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