The devised piece we had to write had to be based on the AS subject content in which we had studied this year. This was a choice of basing it on a few texts, one was ‘A Mid Summers Night Dream,’ William Shakespeare. We thought we could write a script of a play within a play, or a magical romantic story in the style of Shakespeare but decided this would be hard as there was only one male in the group.
A practitioner we had studied was Stanislavski, ideas that surrounded this was writing a very naturalistic play, possibly about a lady getting pregnant, mixing in ideas from Yerma, this also got dismissed because in our group there was a girl that was not going to be in any of our classes, making it hard to involve her completely in the play. After having a long discussion with the group, we came to a conclusion that we was to base the play around ‘Yerma,’ by Fedirico Garcia Lorca, using the themes of fertility, love, betrayal and murder. To overcome the problem with having a member of the group rarely rehearsing with us we decided it would be appropriate to have a narrator in the script to help move the play along. This would be similar to the way Lorca uses verse mixed with prose in between scenes to express feelings.
The effect we wanted to achieve in our piece was to make the audience sympathise with the characters but make up their own minds about who to sympathise with. The circumstances of our play meant that Adam was forced into marriage with the woman he didn’t love, this makes the audience sympathise with him. When Dianne finds her son about to run away with the maid, she has a tough decision- let him go and loose her job and everything she has or send the maid away and break her sons heart.
Adam is planning to leave his pregnant wife who has always done her best to look after him, to run off her only friend, because Dianne decides to let them go she has then betrayed her as well, this then makes the audience sympathise with her as she has done nothing wrong. We wanted to have a very dramatic ending with Courtney running in with a gun, when she eventually shoots the gun there was to be a black out leaving the audience to wonder who she shot leaving suspense and time for the audience to participate, using there own thoughts instead of just showing them straight off.
Another thing we were aiming for was to get across how petty prejudice can be, segregating the infertile from the fertile in our circumstances. We wanted to get across the point of how hurtful it would be if it really happened, especially if infertility happened to them or someone they knew, we then wanted to make people understand how wrong it is to treat others differently just because of the way they look or are. I am focusing on acting in the final piece.
To create and explore the characters personality we used hot seating as our first technique, we had one person asking questions and one person recording notes for future references, we did this after discussing how our script was going to be like and a rough description of the characters. By hot seating our own characters it gave us a chance to really make our characters personal and input everyone’s ideas. I then used the white board to draw the bodies of the characters to then label as a group what everyone should wear.
By having a big drawing it made people participate more with drawing on how they think that characters should look. Once we had explored every detail about the characters, we sat down and discussed how the set would look. We then tested out the set by improvising the relationship in between all the characters and filming it to help us remember what we were saying, how we were saying it and how our body language was towards the other characters.
We found this extremely helpful as we were able to put our character in the real set and see if they work or not, as well as seeing if the set was appropriate for the script. To help me get into my character I decided to do some independent research, looking up stories and poems about how tragic it is to have your husband run off with your friend, I found this really helped me get into the mood of my character and put the passion and anger into writing the last scene of the script. I also did this for the character of Adam to help me get into the feel of how the last argument should go.
Whilst practicing for the last scene where I am distraught and hysterical, I had to use a technique called ‘Emotional Memory,’ a method from Stanislavski. To build myself us into tears and madness I decided to use a memory from my childhood of my parents divorcing, divorce brings with it a lot of pain and hurtful memories and using it really helped me to get into the character of Courtney, using emotional memory like this helped me understand what would have been like to be my mother at the time, seeing the divorce from another side of view.
Performing with this in mind helped me really get the passion into what I was saying and feeling, it also meant I could help Dianne and May’s character as onlookers as I have been in their position before. When staging a script, it is very important to be aware of the health and safety factors to ensure everyone is safe during the performance. The last thing you want is an injured actor! To make sure everything goes well it is vital to be aware of any risks there may be on the set which may cause harm to the cast.