The actors used direct address to interact with the audience a lot throughout the performance and especially the pre show. I watched them sit and talk with other people but they were completely in character whilst doing this. They all had their scarves around the head and one of the actors had some knitting in her hand, so it was clear that this character was a story telling granny narrator. Repeatedly, they would say “Oh dear” to people.
This was effective as you could tell that it was building up to the story and tragedy. Direct address is always effective to an audience in my opinion. It makes it a greater experience for the audience as you’re involving them and they feel like they’re in the story and living it. I believe it makes the audience experience more emotions than they would just sat watching. Direct address can make it feel more personal to the audience because even though you know whats happening is not real, you can’t help but sympathize with the actors playing them because you feel so involved.
Splendid Productions also used a few songs in the performance but my favorite was what was named the “revenge song”. This brightened up the performance as the actors had a great skill of breaking of from such seriousness of the story and adding some humor and fun into it which made it much more enjoyable for the audience. This song was quite upbeat as it had one of the actors playing a guitar. It concentrated on quite tragic and negative themes of not only the story but the outside society too but the actors cleverly presented them in a humorous way to the audience. In this song the actors also performed some improvisation as they reacted to the audience’s reactions to the song.
My favorite actor was Kerry Frampton who plays Medea. I really sympathized with this character as an audience member and Kerry played her perfectly and took me through a whirlwind of emotions which proves she has a great impact as an actress. One of my favorite moments from Kerry as Medea was when it was just her and Jason on the stage expressing their emotions towards each other. In these scenes they performed and built up to conflict really well and before the scenes, they would hold a Tableaux and I thought this was very effective as at the beginning, when Medea found out about Jason’s unfaithfulness, their first one on one started with Jason reaching out his arms with a gesture and Medea having a vulnerable gesture back.
As the performance progressed towards the end when Jason finds out about Medea killing her children, their next encounter pictures Medea reaching out towards Jason with a lunge and Jason holds back this time, he is vulnerable. I thought this was very effective especially on Kerry’s part, as it focuses on the transitions of Medea’s character and takes you through the reality and realness of the performance. Kerry’s facial expressions we’re very effective in her performance and I could tell that this is what she really concentrated on along with her voice. She made sure her facial expressions we’re matching everything that was going on and not what time did I catch her relaxing her face. Most of the time throughout the performance she was pleading with other characters and sometimes turning to the audience and pleading.
Her facial expressions during this would be sad, her eyebrows would be in a from, her eyes would be sinking and screaming for help. Her tone of voice would be so soft and convincing with the pitch low and volume quiet and subtle. And thats why I loved Kerry’s performance because she really drilled in to every element that it took to perform this character and made it her own. She created Medea as someone the audience could sympathise with and feel sorry for even though she did such a horrific revenge towards Jason.
Timing was a very key part in this performance. Throughout of the performance the actors spoke in unison, especially in the “Ancient Greece” choral speaking . If the timing wasn’t on point during this, it would immediately put a flaw in the performance and not give the same effect that it should and that it did. Timing would also be very important during the “revenge song”. This song told a story throughout it and having a guitar playing in line with the words, meant that timing was very important. Focus is also a very key skill for an actor. If an actor loses focus at any time, the whole performance has the potential to fall apart and even though the actors don’t realise it, to the audience it is very easy to spot when an actor loses focus. Focus was used throughout the whole
performance in “Medea” and was very important to do so. When the audience had the potential to distract a character for example, when somebody couldn’t stop laughing in the audience over the performance, the actors still kept complete focus and stayed in character completely and at one point, they played on it and used improvisation into the performance. If an actor doesn’t look confident in a performance, the audience struggle to believe the character they are playing and the actor would struggle to perform to the best of their ability. However, this was not the case at all during this performance as the actors had 100% confident throughout.
They we’re total professionals and never lost an inch of confidence. The moment where I thought all three of the actors confidence was off the scale, was when they did the choral speaking. Because they added comedy into it and large gestures, it could have had potential to lose confidence as the actors could have felt uncomfortable or embarrassed at one point. The three actors were consistently confident throughout this, and it made it a lot more enjoyable for the audience because of this.
I have learnt a lot from the Medea performance and very glad that I got the chance to watch it. It really opened my eyes to ideas and proved to me that if you really put your mind to it, you can come up with such creative, unique and simple ideas that have a huge impact to the audience. It taught me that you don’t need to have a huge production with huge costumes and a huge set to create a powerful performance. I will definitely use the costume change ideas for my future work, as I thought the scarves were very effective and a brilliant idea for costume changes. I was inspired by the teamwork and confidence of the actors and that is something I will most certainly use in my work. Splendid productions have taught me that the littlest ideas and details can make a giant impact and it doesn’t always have to be a huge productions. I will think a lot more into details in my future work and really work on my character development and all my facial expressions, gestures, voice etc. I have learnt that it really does make a difference from an audiences’ perspective.