As part of our Drama GCSE coursework, we went to see a live performance and were asked to review it. We saw Hannah and Hanna, a piece about the status and treatment of asylum seekers in the UK.
The characters were Hannah, a white, working class girl living in Margate, a city the sea. She has stereotypical views, and has probably never left the city she lives in. The other is Hanna, a girl from Eastern Europe seeking refuge in the same city as Hannah. When they first meet, Hannah’s views on Hanna are prejudiced, but over time they grow together and in the end, fittingly, they become best friends. In-between the middle and the end is about an hour and a half of clichid, boring and predictable scenes telling their “heartwarming” story.
The play was quite stylised, in that there were only basic props, and two characters throughout the whole play, as well as a few scenes comprising of the two actors singing to pop tunes. However, the lack of diversity did little to keep the audience entertained, and at numerous points throughout the play, I felt the audience getting disgruntled at the seemingly endless production. The actors themselves were not terrible, but the most enjoyable parts of the play were Hanna’s comical eastern European accent, and the singing scenes.
There were little visual effects to speak of, but there was the subtle changing of clothes by the characters, which had them go from totally opposite clothing to matching ones, probably to symbolise their friendship or something like that. As for dramatic effects, they used slow motion, split screening and others. These were well placed and usually well represented on the stage, but didn’t help the play to be any more interesting or easy to watch.
The play was obviously originally aimed at 15-17 year olds. However, someone along the way isn’t very in touch with their inner teenager, and they should have known what would come if making teenage boys and girls sit down for a long length of time and watch a play like this. The subject matter of the play is one for the mature viewers, but the presentation and directing of the play give it the vibe of a children pantomime, but less enjoyable. I couldn’t imagine a 12 year old sitting through the play happily, but then I couldn’t imagine a 30 year old doing so either.
By the end, the plot is stretched so thin that you wander what can happen next. Then, it gets even worse, with a stupidly stupid ending that just about finishes the audience’s patience, and the end was a sigh of relief for all involved.
To round up, I would say that this piece requires a lot of work. It’s a tad jumbled, and I don’t think the director really knew what he wanted out of the play. It was a burden to sit through the play without nothing better to do, as should have been predicted from a teenage audience. With a few more characters, enjoyable scenes and no more accents, the play could be a minor success. However, at this point in time I don’t see it becoming anything more then an educational GCSE play.