As part of our GCSE Drama course we were given the task of exploring the life of a character called Grace. This character supposedly had arrived in Britain during the turbulent period of 1950, the characters main objective being to provide sustenance to her family back home. We were required to explore this characters life and then produce a piece of drama consisting of three important memories in the characters life in this country. This was of course a varied response from the several groups depending on their interpretation. In order to have a basic understanding of the characters life we used text and graphics.
This varied from videos and pictures to writing and materials. We originally started our journey with a memory which we had created by an inspiration which involved apiece of cloth. This ordinary piece of cloth had a large impact on our drama as it was our first impressions of this new character. We then moved on by looking at a piece of narration which gave us a rough idea about Grace’s personality and a picture. Using this information we body sculpted a member of our class to impersonate Grace as we understood her from the text. We then analysed our impersonation and made a response on a post it label.
This response was one word which came up in our minds upon seeing the character. We moved on to analyse another piece of narration and analysed another picture which displayed a market. We then grouped ourselves in to pairs and using the information which was fed into us we planned a paired improvisation about a memory in the market. This was really useful for everyone as individuals we all had different ideas and we were able to share them as a group and adapt some of the ideas. To develop our understandings further we created a sound collage based around our ideas.
A major input throughout the whole process of this exploration was the bombardment of text and we yet again analysed another narration which described Grace’s character in amore detailed manner. The narration had described that the area in which there was a lot of hustle and bustle was silent. Using the imagery and description we received from the piece of narration we came to the conclusion that this was due to a tropical storm. To delve in to this subject further we used our drama teacher for a character in role session in which he represented a local native.
Using his responses we were able to understand the emotional effects it would have on characters in such a situation. Using the information and knowledge we had gathered we then moved onto the small subsection of “Leaving and Arriving”. During this section we focused on the arrival of Grace to this Country and her initial experiences. We began by marking and clearly identifying the stage where Grace knew she was going to leave. To get a better idea of the thoughts and emotions which Grace my have or experienced we researched accounts of real people who had left their mother land behind during this similar period of time as our drama.
This included a wide range of testimonies from people as well as videos based around the issue of leaving. Using these powerful sources of information we created a whole class improvisation of a small scene in which we were required to wave goodbye at a dockside. We then analysed a picture of Victoria station and again created a scene based in a train station. These small scenes may seem insignificant but played a large role as they aroused emotions and feelings based on this issue and gave us a small piece of first hand experience of what it is like to leave ones loved ones or place.
To deepen our understanding even further we moved to analyse further testimonials of real experiences. We took the drama further and moved on to a period in Grace’s life were she is about to become a single black parent. We began by using a piece of text as an introduction. Using the small narrative we moved on to multiple hot seating where we were able to express our personal feelings depending on our character. We created speeches as Grace and we also did some collective hot seating of Grace so we could see the various responses people would give to one question.
It also ensured that this character had a balance of opinion and input from everyone in the group. We introduced the character of a landlord in to the drama. This character was white and a very racially abusive person. We worked on this character in pairs by working in pairs and using improvisation and exploration. The exploration skills we used were of course similar to what we had used to build up the character of Grace. After creating our character using our own personal understanding and thoughts we viewed a video regarding landlords. This video helped to broaden our understanding of landlords and their overall attitudes in the 50’s.
We then turned our attention to Graces life as an old lady and a grandmother. During this section of the exploration we were introduced to two new characters. They were: 1. Grace’s Daughter 2. Graces Grand-daughter – Tanya Here we were looking not only at Grace but three generations. We read a piece of narration which described Grace in her old age. This piece of narration also gave us some insight to the relationship between Grace and her grand-daughter. From the narration we had a basic idea that their relationship wasn’t as solid as you would expect it.
In fact they have trouble getting along due to their differences of ideas. We created some freeze frames of Grace and her grand-daughter Tanya. These freeze frames were in fact exchanges of words between them. We continued to explore the drama by using spontaneous improvisation. We marked important moments within the drama and created freeze frames about Grace’s past. We created some solo personal writings which were presented to the group and to conclude our exploration of this particular time period we worked on a whole class spontaneous improvisation and collective role work with our teacher as Grace.
Throughout this whole course we have been able to gather a lot of valuable information via various drama techniques such as: 1. Hot Seating 2. Improvisation 3. Forum Theatre These techniques have helped us to really get behind the drama and get as much information as possible. This has also helped us to shape our character in this way and develop her in much detail as possible. As we explored the drama a lot of feelings have been aroused and with the help of a wide range of text, videos and a booklet full of valuable information we are working on our final response in which we will express our ideas and feelings.