You Made Me is, overall, a very serious play exploring the breakdown of relationships and the consequences and feelings caused, from a child’s point of view. Mostly reflecting the effects of divorce, domestic violence and bullying. The mood is dark and depressing through most of this play, though there are relief factors throughout to relieve tension.
My first impressions of You Made Me were that it was quite abstract and different. By the end of the play I felt a combination of emotion. As the play progressed I become emotionally involved with the characters, when it had finished I either felt happy they had sorted out their problems or sorry they had not. It also made me appreciate how lucky I am to have both my parents together and taking active roles in my life. It put things into perspective for me and that I shouldn’t take what I have for granted.
There are four main story lines in You Made Me; Jo, Judy, Greg and Vi, Wayne and Leanne, Lucas, Ruby and the bully, and Kelly, Lucy, their mum and her new boyfriend, Paul.
Jo and Judy’s father, Greg, beats their mother, Vi. Jo is closer to her father, but she definitely doesn’t approve or agree with the way he treats her mother. Judy doesn’t get on with Greg at all, he is not her biological father and he uses it as ammo when they argue. Vi blames herself for Greg’s actions and convinces her self she must have done something wrong. She is jealous of the close relationship between him and Judy. Bob and Nob also feature in this story line, they are two lads who bring a distinct element of comedy to the piece. After a night out drinking, Judy drives home and they crash, resulting in Jo’s death. After this Judy leaves home and Greg gets counselling.
Wayne’s parents are divorced; his father has remarried and has other children. He frequently fails to keep promises made to Wayne, and Wayne feels hurt and rejected by this. Leanne is his girlfriend, she tries to comfort him when his father lets him down. But Wayne is hot and cold with her, and pushes her away. He has so much suppressed anger he take sit out on others and gets into trouble at school. As time passes he realises his father’s promises mean nothing and gives up on his dad. He convinces him self he doesn’t need or love his father anymore.
Ruby is Lucas’ foster mother. Lucas is being beaten up and bullied by a girl at school. She threatens him into giving her money, but the only way he can get money is by stealing it from Ruby’s purse. Ruby catches him and they have a huge argument. Lucas doesn’t feel he can talk to Ruby, or anyone, about his problems, so they build up inside. Until he switches and trashes Ruby’s house. Ruby finds him after this in a terrible state. She comforts him and he confides in her.
Kelly and Lucy are sisters, their parents are divorced. Kelly and her mum have been getting into arguments and she doesn’t like the idea of Paul, her mum’s new friend. Lucy is young and doesn’t always understand, but it still affects her. Kelly and her mum argue because recently her mum doesn’t always have time for everything. She doesn’t like Paul because she feels he is trying to replace her father. Kelly and her mum talk and sort things out.
I think the general idea is that all actions have consequences, good and bad. Also that sometimes you have to be less selfish, and look at things from another person’s perspective and don’t just dwell on your own problems, trust those close to you.
I felt the beginning was very powerful. The two abstract scenes, family portraits and the chorus, were very different and I think they grabbed the audience’s attention. Though when it came to the monologues I thought I dragged. There were five lengthy speeches one after the other and I think it was too much and slowed the pace.
I was easily drawn in to this play and felt it kept my interest because there was so much to watch, always something new to learn about someone. The ending wasn’t really a climax but there were other climaxes throughout the play, e.g. the crash, Lucas loosing it ect. I don’t feel all the story lines came to a significant end, but it did leave me wanting to know what happened next.
Some scenes were more powerful than others and had a bigger impact on the viewer. The very first chorus scene (silence) was a very strong scene because it wasn’t expected. Also the beating scene stood out, it had shock factor and I don’t think anyone in the audience was anticipating it, which made them all pay attention.
You Made Me is a very dark, thought provoking play but throughout there was relief; the counsellor, she’s a bit barmy and totally over the top. Bob and Nob, two lads having a laugh, a bit lewd and loud-mouthed but very amusing. Paul’s dance got many laughs with his silly dance moves.
Because the play is so serious and down beat there needs to be times when the audience can relieve tension. Often the mood would change during a scene change; music, lights.
There were a couple of unusual techniques used; chorus, very abstract, not even characters, jus thoughts. It was very effective because it was different and made the audience take notice.
I thought all of the characters were believable and realist apart from one; the character of Kelly’s mum. I don’t feel the actress fully became her character. You could tell she was acting and I didn’t believe her character was real. Though I don’t believe her performance was bad, you could see she put a lot of effort into her part in this production.
The characters Greg, Vi and Wayne were the strongest in my opinion. I believed in them completely.
A lot of the problems in the relationships of the characters are caused by lack of proper communication. Because they don’t share their feelings they build up and become anger. All of the characters have broken relationships, but by the end everyone has somebody.
All scenes were interesting to watch, and the space was used well. Vocal projection was very good; all lines were clear and delivered in the appropriate way. I believe all the actors did very well in getting their characters across. The facial expressions used told the audience what the characters were feeling and believe that it was real. For instance, when Wayne was talking about his father near the end I believed he was upset from the way his face looked.
I believe all scenes made interesting shapes on stage and that all the space was used imaginatively. Scene changes were quick and tidy; I always knew exactly when a scene was finished. The set stayed more or less the same throughout, but changed slightly because of the lighting and projections. All characters wore normal everyday clothes to suit their characters except the chorus. They were dressed all in black, with white masks. This costume was appropriate as the chorus is abstract, so should their costume be. The lighting used emphasised the mood of the scene and high lighted important characters. Sound was used during scene changes and sound effects were used in the crash scene to make it more realistic.
I enjoyed this play and thought it brought up a lot of issues that need to be discussed more often. Hopefully some adults who watched this will now realise what a huge affect these situations have on the children involved. I became emotionally attached to the characters in this play and imagined how they would feel when things happened to them.
The only improvement I think cud be made are that maybe there shouldn’t have been so many long monologues, because they sometimes slowed down the pace of the play and got boring. But overall the play was very well done.