What function do you think the MC should have, and how would you perform the role from the opening of the play up to the line Well, thats the end of Part one of The War Game?

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Drama Assessment Essay –

  • What function do you think the MC should have, and how would you perform the role from the opening of the play up to the line “Well, that’s the end of Part one of The War Game”?

I see the MC as the driving force for the narrative of the play. During his first appearance the stage directions says he has a ringmaster’s whip and this, I think, is a hint at his character. He is the ringmaster of the performances – both that of the Pierrot show and that which the physical audience sees. Because of this, I see the MC as being quite an upright man, perhaps with ringmaster’s coat on, and of course the whip in his hand. This would encourage the actor to be loud and entertaining such as he would be in the ‘Roll up!’ style of the circus. Although the connotations of this circus-like theme would be to have him as heavily mad up to look like a clown or ringmaster I think this would be inappropriate therefore stage make up should be kept to a minimum. I would suggest an alternative to the whip, which is mentioned in the play- perhaps the MC could hold a ringmaster’s baton that he could use to aim at his reference points for example pointing at the characters he is talking about.

The MC is the character who engages most with the audience, breaking the fourth wall intentionally to interact. Instead of just telling the audience something or showing them a story, the MC talks to them and references their laughter or lack of it. With hints from the play, I see the MC as a comic character, almost clown-like, and I would say this comedy is an essential part of his role. Among the deeper tones of the play’s narrative, I would have part of the MC’s role to be keeping the performance upbeat and light-hearted. He is almost oblivious to the darker message, which the play holds, and this needs to be displayed in his performance.

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Through his breaking the fourth wall he becomes part of Brechtian technique and his continuing appearances remind the audience twice-over: both that the war is not actually happening before them (it’s being portrayed by the Pierrots) and that the Pierrot show isn’t happening either. The play-within-a-play concept is tackled because he is almost outside of both ‘performances’. As he is engaging with the audience and making remarks as to their reactions (in his first speech the actor has two options depending on whether the audience laugh or not, but both ways are directly referencing to whether or not they ...

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