Year eleven GCSE drama: paper one /unit one- portfolio

Capital Punishment Workshop

Capital punishment is an emotive issue and one that I feel very strongly about. Along with my group I have used lots of explorative strategies to look at a number of different poems, plays, articles and videos all on the same theme to dig beneath the surface of the issues. We studied all the varieties of texts in depth to help us understand and to make connections. Some of the explorative strategies we used were still image which helped to create freeze frames, thought tracking which helped us to learn more about the characters thoughts and feelings, marking the moment which having created the drama helps to mark the most significant moments and cross cutting which was when creating a scene or scenes and then reordering the action by cutting backwards or forwards.

Firstly In our year eleven-drama coursework lesson we started off by watching, under the veil. This was a horrendous video documentary, set in Afghanistan in 2001 it was a about a woman being killed for what seemed to me a really minor crime, this highlighted what it is like for people less fortunate than me. Watching the video I felt a sense of injustice and anger aimed at the ridiculous and needless loss of life I also felt disgusted at the crowd who were there to watch this appalling violation of human rights. I have never seen something that horrific before.

We used still images to explore the tension and status of the situation to highlight the moment and the position of the women being prosecuted. We also got the victims low on the floor and the guards high above them to emphasize the stature and dominance of the men. The low status of the women and the high status of the men drew attention to me because it showed how women were treated inferior to men in Afghanistan. The narration and the background music built up lots of worry and anxiety to make the documentary clear on how life was in different people’s culture. The narration also accompanied our group role play, where we rein acted the execution in four different freeze frames. The sense of waiting for the execution was very similar to the tension in fear and misery.

We looked at the moment in Fear and misery in the third Reich this is where a husband and wife await the return of there son who they think has reported them to the Nazis. This 1930 s play had lots of tension built up throughout it every little noise startled and worried the two characters. This highlighted to me what a powerful tool capital punishment is and how it can affect people’s lives. I and my partner created a similar piece of dramatic tension to show us how our behaviour changed, capital punishment can change people’s behaviour. This helped us to understand the emotion that the couple were going through as they waited for their own son to turn them in to the Nazis, which would most likely lead to their deaths.

The next play we watched, on video was the legendary Macbeth by Shakespeare. This was a good version to others I have seen in the past. The scene we were studying was when Lady Macbeth tried to persuade Macbeth into killing the king. Judging by Lady Macbeth where Shakespeare hasn’t named her by her first name marks her significance in this play but she is far from an insignificant character her sly and manipulative techniques to get Macbeth to kill the king shows her authority over Macbeth. When her technique of calling Macbeth a coward fails and then her technique of using reverse physiology doesn’t  work either she resorts to flirting and seducing Macbeth until she gets what she wants.

The next thing we studied in class was two articles, which explored the inns and outs of capital punishment. The first article was by George Bernard Shaw and the second by an unnamed author. These two articles gave me totally different views and account about the idea that capital punishment if it should be brought back into the United Kingdom. To explore the writes and wrongs of capital punishment, we improvised a short piece of drama were a controversial conversation breaks out between people living under Taliban regime. This helped me to understand the different points of views surrounding capital punishment and how/why these points of view are formed in peoples mind. The arguments for capital punishment were that she knew the consequences of what she did, if they didn’t punish her then the “slippery slope” idea would beg into take effect, she was living in a Taliban country and therefore should have abided by Taliban rules.

Reasons for people being in favour of capital punishment include that they were brought up in a society that considers capital punishment acceptable, and that the victim or the victim’s family may find comfort in the victims suffering. However in the situation we were presented to improvise around, the later reason does not apply as the particular woman that stimulated the argument, had only committed the “offence” of wearing make up. This meant that I found it very hard to think of arguments for the woman to be put to death as I found it hard to justify it. I did however, realise that society can warp the minds of people. Analysing the two articles I would say that I am in favour for capital punishment being brought back as a law because I believe as in evidence to fear and misery and under the veil, the image of being put to death scares people so crimes wont be committed regularly, but if some one is found guilty and put to death and they are really innocent in a way it should not be legalized.

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In our next session we studied Let him have it this was a 1953 true story set in London England. It was about a young man who had a learning disorder was killed wrongly for killing a police officer. The director of this film gave Derek a kind and gentle character that was trying to turn over a new leaf because of his wrongs in the past. Derek was not a bad person he had just made friends with the wrong crowd one of these people being Christopher Craig. Christopher Craig is a sly and quick characters his movement ...

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