Hannah and Hanna

The opening scene was set up as you walked through the door. This gave us an idea of the setting of the play, as the main picture on the stage was a seaside picture. It also put you straight into the play, meaning that it was easier to focus when the play started because you had already been there for a short amount of time and were able to take in the setting and the staging. The stage was an end on stage, which matched well with the racked seating making the stage accessible to see. Positioned on the stage at the beginning were also railings in place at the side of the stage and two wooden blocks in the centre.

This again set the scene of the beach on stage effectively helping the audience to take in the setting. The stage itself was quite a large stage however; the performance was restricted to the centre of the stage due to the number of actors. I think this was very effective as it was easy to focus on both actors because they were both in your view. This was helpful as sometimes throughout the play both actors were doing things at the same time, but because they were close together it was easier to concentrate on what was happening.

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Although this scenery was minimal it was very effective at some points during the show, but at others I felt that more scenery or props on stage were needed. However, despite this the scenery was very clever for a low budget performance and they made good use of the props that they had. This scenery was very effective from the beginning, as you could tell that both Hannah’s were happy were they were and were very lively and outgoing. The bright colours in the background indicated this. Although Hannah’s views changed in the first part, she is still happy and they are both still enthusiastic.

The singing involved in this scene indicates this and helps to emphasise the scenery and the boldness of the characters. During the first part the main scenery did not change although some of the props did. The two boxes that were centre stage were used as a stage on the beach, a supermarket checkout. This idea was particularly effective as, although it was minimal, the two boxes still managed to create the setting of where the part was being set. For example, when both Hannah and Hanna were in the supermarket, the boxes were turned over to make a checkout.

This was effective because, with Hannah’s movement with her hands in a sliding motions, it easily creating the scene of a supermarket. The boxes were again used very effectively when both actresses became angry. The boxes were pushed over and stood on before they both began to shout. The scene was extremely effective as it created a lot of atmosphere because you could feel their anger with the force that they slammed down the box. In this case the boxes were used for a different reason again.

They created different levels in the performance with both Hannah and Hanna trying to get themselves heard, their height was significant to show which one thought they were more important or which one believed that their opinion was correct. Another prop was also used repeatedly during the performance; this was the stereo. Although this was not a multi-purpose prop it was used several times in different places and was very important, as the music was one of the most effective parts of the production. A chair was also bought on stage during the first half.

Although this chair was only a small prop it was very effective as it represented the Grandmother. During this, Hannah was talking to the chair as if her grandmother as there. This was effective as it didn’t seem like a girl talking to a chair and it was easy to imagine someone actually sitting on the chair. After the interval again the scenery was already set up, although the main picture had changed. We could tell automatically that the mood of the play was also going change making the staging effective and successful. The main picture had changed from a bright seaside resort, to a dull and grey sea.

The loss of colour because of this change was dramatic as it created a darker atmosphere and hinted at a change in the characters behaviour. Also noted was that the boxes had been separated in the centre of the stage. This was also an important point as made the characters more separated and effectively managed to do this with just two boxes. This also created an atmosphere within the performance because in the first part the boxes were together. This may symbolise the relationship between the two Hannah’s, as at the start of the second half, they were totally separated.

If so, this was a very effective use of simple props to create atmosphere and mood within the audience and the stage. During the second part, the scenery changed three times. This alone was effective as it showed the progress in the characters moods. The first change was the dull seaside scene. This was already on when the audience came in after the interval. It was very reflective on the characters as both Hannah’s were depressed and down. They were also separated from each other because of the lack of courage and personality that Hannah had (this was also shown in her change of clothes).

This scenery was present for the majority of the second half. The staging only then changes when Hannah again changes her confidence level. When this happens the main picture was very cleverly changed into the sunny seaside resort picture again from the first part. Rolling down the black and white scene did this and bought up the bright picture. However, this change did not change the atmosphere, as Hannah was still nervous and unsure about herself. The third scenery change came when everything was black.

This was one of the most effective scenery changes in the whole performance, as it was perfect for the feelings that the characters had and setting the scene brilliantly. Door flaps being closed together from either side of the picture achieved this, making the whole stage black and effectively creating the scene for a van trunk. Again in this scene, the boxes were used effectively to create the distance between the characters and to show distinctively where they were sitting and how much room they had. Another effective idea within this scene was the lighting.

This was effective as it enabled you to concentrate on the person talking which could have been difficult in the dark. The light was a filtered light, which shone on the character that was speaking. This also looked very effective on the stage, as you couldn’t see the other character at all meaning that all the focus was on the one character and letting the audience get lost in that character without any distractions. The last scenery change was the most effective as it was neat and well prepared. After the doors had been closed over the grey seaside scene, the doors had black material draped over the back of them.

The audience could not notice this however, as the stage was all black. But when these were pulled off and used as blankets, the audience noticed the change of scenery from black to a countryside view immediately as it changed the mood on the stage because it was less tense and more relaxed. This was clever because it was a quick change of surroundings and an extra prop, adding two different looks on the stage to create a brighter atmosphere. Also in this scene, the boxes were again used to create beds which was very effective as it portrayed the idea of them sleeping better then them being curled up on the floor would have.

It did this by putting a sense of realism into the performance. The background picture also created senses of hopes within the performance as the last time we saw a bright landscape was at the beginning of the performance were both Hannah’s were happy. In conclusion I would say that there were many simple but effective staging ideas within this performance. Each of these ideas managed to increase the tension or change the atmosphere and mood in both the audience and on stage. They also helped the performance to be more realistic, which was harder in this play as there was only two actors, however, it was done well.