A Promise is as good as gold

How successful do you think your performance was today in terms of conveying the story, creativity, mood and atmosphere, audience response?

Overall, the performance went very well. Being the narrator I had the main job of conveying the story, so I made sure I brought it across clearly so the children could understand the main theme. We were all very excited when going to the school and we brought that excitement into our production, giving the children enthusiasm too. Because of this, they responded well and the general mood was great which helped make the play a success.

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Describe what worked well and in hindsight what might your group have done differently?

Having the stage in the round with one edge gone, worked well giving us all space to move around and act accordingly. We used audience interaction throughout the play which made the children enthusiastic. It was the first time anyone in my group had performed in front of a live audience and in hindsight we could think about the different reactions we could expect to get from the children or from the age group we are acting for.

How effective do you think your own characterisation was and why?

I think I was quite effective as the narrator and brought the story across well to the children. I also had the job of introducing a few of the characters, so the audience could understand, and think that worked effectively. Introducing the play, and getting the children excited is quite a big role, so I got them to shout ‘hello’ at me, so they were hyped up for the performance.

If you could name one thing you would like to improve about your own performance what would it be? E.g. spatial awareness, characterisation, interaction with others, command of physicality and voice, pace and so on.

Personally, I would like to have had time to improve the diction and pace of my voice. I tend to speak quite fast, and having time to improve on my diction could have made it easier for the children to understand and follow the story.

How did a live audience affect your individual performance and the piece as a whole?

The audience was very excited throughout the play and there were times when they refused to believe that the character Holly had ‘gone missing’. And there were also times when the laughter was very loud and it took quite a long time for them to calm down before we could commence with the show. But all live audiences are different, depending on their age group or enthusiasm, and as an actress I know never to expect something to come, because everything is always on the spur of the moment and I have to be ready for that!

Describe your individual contribution in making the piece, be honest.

The story we used was one that I had found from France, and brought it in to show people, and out group decided to use this story. The entire group contributed into making the piece, and I always came up with suitable ideas and costumes. I also made sure everyone in the group knew what costumes and props they were bringing in on the day.

Describe the drama techniques you used to develop the piece and the drama techniques, which were incorporated in the final piece.

Before each rehearsal our group would do our own personal ‘shake out’ which consists of us loosening up our bodies to make it easier to act and to get more energy into the performance. Our use with words and final pace was also incorporated into the final piece.

What did you find difficult in creating the piece?

There were some characters in the piece which weren’t quite as big as others, so we had to make sure people were happy with their characters, and we added extra bits in, to give them a larger part to play, therefore changing the story line a little bit. A lot of the group changed characters at times too, which was difficult as we had to make sure everyone knew their part and knew exactly how their character was feeling at each moment in the play.

What have you learnt about creating Theatre in Education? Refer to your original research, the workshops we did, the rehearsals you had in your group, the work you saw others create and the final day at the primary school.

From the original research I did on Oily Cart, it is clear that all Theatre in Education productions have to be big, bold, and colourful with lots of audience interaction, so as to keep the children interested throughout the play. We saw others create similar pieces and all of them had a lot of interaction with the audience. The final day at the primary school was much different to what I expected, the general enthusiasm which came across from the children, helped us make the whole play a success, using all the techniques we had learnt from looking at others using Theatre in Education.