The exploratory technique we used during class was sculpting. There was one girl in our group who moulded the other members into a scene which she thought represented how the Dunbar family felt at this point in the play, which was at Christmas time. The still images of the Dunbar family increased my understanding of the play at this point because of the way people had chosen to represent characters. They used space and height to show importance or authority.
For example: groups chose to show Mr Dunbar standing on a chair because he was head of the family. People used embraces to show the parents being protective of their children and the children being protective of their little sister Catherine. I hadn’t realised before how close each of the family members was and these images with people with their arms around each other showed to me that they were. Facial expressions were very important in this exercise and they helped a lot to understand how happy the family was, also their physical contact showed unity. The mother and father’s facial expressions showed how proud they were of their children I hadn’t thought about them being proud of them before.Order now
I was the sculptor for my group and I tried to convey the closeness between certain members in the house like the mother and Catherine and showed this by facial expressions. I feel that I do understand the parents better now because I have only played one of the children before. Another technique used to deepen an actor’s understanding of the role they’re playing is called hot seating. People fire questions at you and you have to be able to answer these questions in role and convincingly. You must already have some understanding of the character to do this and you need to know which point of the play you are at. To prepare for hot seating you can fill out a character sheet:-
Character sheets do help you to understand the character better and I realised this whilst I was in the hot seat. They make you think like the person and answer questions how that character would, they help you to become that character and get into their mind.
Whilst I was in the hot seat I did feel like Simon Dunbar and I answered the questions how I thought he would and the members of my groups commented on how convincingly I answered them. I didn’t struggle to answer the questions and I enjoyed asking other people questions and seeing what their answer’s would be.. it was good to hot seat and to prepare a character sheet beforehand because it gives you an insight into how the character would react and also gives you a chance to learn how other characters feel. I thought the improvisation was fun and was good for everyone to have to act spontaneously.
We also used thought-tracking. This is when you act out a part of a scene and then you have to explain your thoughts to the audience that the character might have hidden. I found this difficult because I was filling in for somebody who usually played John and I hadn’t prepared what I felt like in the hot seating or on the character sheet because I had prepared Simon for these. Thought-tracking helps performance because you have to think aloud as that character. For it to be successful you have to know what’s happening in the story and you have to stay in role off script it deepened my understanding because I learnt things about characters that they had kept hidden before.