As a class we looked at a picture called ‘Girl In The Dungeon’, it evoked thoughts of depression and grief. From the picture I was able to infer that the girl which appeared in the picture had been deemed an outcast by society and almost left to rot. It is arguable that the girl was locked in the dungeon because her state of mind was questionable, maybe it was seen as almost abnormal or atypical. However, it could also be assumed that the solitude in which the young girl was forced to endure pushed her into an unusual state of mind, possibly leading her to be thought of as ‘mad’. When our groups were formed, I worked with Holly, Nancy and Caitlin.
We decided that madness could be portrayed in many ways and ultimately could be seen as any form of abnormality. We took this central idea and around it formed a piece of drama involving bullying. We thought that although bullying was neither an abnormality nor form of madness it can result in one experiencing psychological problems which can often lead to or be the cause of madness. We began by choosing that I would be the main character and the person who would experience the four stages of madness: annoyance, fury, rage and eventually madness. I was hot-seated by the three members of my group in order to achieve an insight on my character, although the character traits were thought of on the spot, I found it helpful as it allowed me to perfect my character before beginning the piece of drama.
Eventually we began our piece, we decided it would take place in a lunch hall at school, we started with a still image- I was sitting alone and Holly, Nancy and Caitlin were sitting together looking over at me distastefully. I thought the still image was particularly important as it created the atmosphere for the scene as a pose to starting straight away, it also allowed the audience to gain recognition of the main theme running throughout our piece, bullying. While Holly, Caitlin and Nancy were throwing paper balls at me and speaking about me in an upsetting manor, I progressed from being annoyed to becoming ‘mad’, through fury and rage.
This was most forcefully portrayed by facial expressions and actions including me rocking on my chair and holding my head in my hands to show a furious state. I showed my state of mind had developed into madness by eventually storming out of the lunch hall, this was effective as it was not what the audience were expecting; it was a sudden outburst of fury resulting in madness which I found shocked the audience and also allowed the audience to sympathize with my character. Aristotle held that the protagonist of a play should be an individual who is neither defined by being good or evil, rather someone more ordinary with a mixed nature, characterised by having both good and bad traits. In this way the protagonist becomes more relatable to the viewer, thus giving way to their sympathies.
The painting ‘ The Scream’ by Edward Munch reinforced the ideas of grief and unusualness which were explored in ‘Girl In The Dungeon’, because the painting is distorted it can be suggested it was painted in this way to provoke our thoughts of normality, and allow us to understand how somebody who is not thought as ‘normal’ sees surrounding objects. The environment of ‘The Scream’ can be compared to that of which an individual suffering from experiences, such as a feeling of distortion of the environment and one’s self. The image may represent the pain and agony experienced naturally, however, in the background two men in black can be seen.
They are not distorted but standing straight and clearly, suggesting they are in fact the people who are imposing pain onto the main figure in the painting. When looking at the painting I believe it can be interpreted in several ways, it can be seen that the person in the image is projecting a silent scream that cannot be heard; it can also be assumed that the fact the person’s ears are being covered suggests it is not the person that is screaming but the scream may in fact come from nature’s anxieties of life which distressingly is heard by the one person, while the others are deafened and not aware of it and hence in black, a neutral colour. What is most noticeable about this painting is the normality of everything else besides the man screaming, it may, therefore, be perceived as an inner scream which we all feel sometimes when an agony that we must keep silent about comes to a head. Unless we are insane, we keep the resulting desire to scream in despair and fear inside. We are torn apart inside while outside everything goes on as normal.
This painting captures both the inner scream and the normality around. After considering these possibilities Holly, Lucy, Cecilia and I devised a drama piece revolving around the interpretation of an ‘inner-scream’. We plugged this idea into a more modern and understandable concept, Cecilia and Lucy were both being interviewed for a top city job in banking, and Holly and I were the people holding the interviews. Lucy was particularly confident with successful figures whereas Cecilia was unprepared and not as confident, often questioning her own accomplishments. Before Cecilia’s interview and after Lucy’s we created a flashback, it went back to the morning before the interview where both interviewees were preparing for the day, Cecilia looked at herself in the mirror unsure and unconfidently whereas Lucy was the complete opposite.
The flashback gave the audience an insight on both characters, and portrayed Cecilia’s subtle ‘inner-scream’. A flashback can be described as an unexpected but vivid recurrence of a past experience; it was a transition to the earlier event interrupting the normal chronological development of the piece of drama. I thought this was effective as not only did it change the tone of the piece, making it more interesting, but also allowed the audience to grasp a further understanding on our interpretation of ‘The Scream’ through a modern concept.
One of the stimuli was a play by David Campton, ‘Cagebirds’, which explores how barriers in our minds and thoughts allow barriers to form in our societies. There is a strong element of self-imposed isolation within the cage, the birds seem to talk to each other, but they do not communicate as each sings their own song. The birds seem to represent human characteristics – vanity, greed, insecurity etc. So the question is, are we really looking at six birds in a cage, or are we looking at ourselves? When discussing the stimuli in pairs, Honor and I questioned that a stone wall may make a prison, but even when the wall is gone, does that immediately imply freedom?