During the scene the group decided to go behind the bins for a cigarette. Then they encountered Jake who Russell had been bullying. We showed that this was a regular encounter by making Jake look scared on the immediate arrival of Russell and the gang. We showed Russell’s aggression towards Jake by using a lot of physical and verbal, threatening behaviour. We showed Carol and Natasha jeering, laughing and egging Russell on.
However Polly attempted to stick up for Jake and Russell was unsure of how to react. In the end he left, rather angrily because his fun has been spoiled. Our role-play communicated to the audience the stronger of the characters and the position and comfort zones within the group. We felt it was important to show the attitudes towards each other, because that is what the main change, during the play, concerns.
In the “after” role-play, we wanted to show the changes in the social status and the relationship changes between the characters. Again we set the scene in the schoolyard and the situation was again similar. I decided to do this so that the contrast between the scenes would be very pronounced and obvious. In this scene, it was very important that we showed Natasha and Carol’s individuality and Russell to be less arrogant.
At first we found it very challenging to show this especially without the use of costume and props. We tried to do this by making Jake as popular and arrogant as Russell once was however it didn’t work as it was too much of a character change. In the end we resorted to making Carol and Natasha have different opinions and more importantly instead of Carol copying Natasha’s words we had Carol speaking first.
Russell’s stage presence influenced his original character quite prominently so it was important that we used the same technique in the “after” scene. We did this by having him “take a back seat” so he wasn’t stage centre and the most influential character on the stage. It was necessary to show a change in Jake, however that change we felt was quite hard to show, we decided to make him more confident within the group but we didn’t want his overall personality to change. It was also critical to get the right balance of change in the way in which the characters treated each other, it was quite easy to show this by removing the aggression that Russell had towards Jake, but at the same time, Jake had previously been bullied by Russell so there was still a certain degree of awkwardness between the two characters so we had to keep tension in the scene.
It was also important that the characters were played by the same people, so that the audience could focus on the change, rather than try and work out the confusion a different cast would cause. So, I again played Polly. She is the one character that didn’t change in the play, although because the group had warmed to Jake, she didn’t have to stick up for him. I kept her personality the same, by repeating my actions from before. During the scene the group were again planning to smoke however Jake was invited. Carol decided not to tag along and went somewhere else with Polly, but Natasha went with the boys.
This showed the audience that Carol now felt confident enough to do what she wanted and that Jake is now accepted in the group. The role-play activity gave me a deeper insight into the play, in the terms that I had to look in detail at the characters to suggest how they would have acted before the play and then look at the transformation of the character during the play, to suggest the behaviour change for after the play. Overall I think our role-plays worked effectively as planned, however I think they could have been executed more clearly and fluently with a little more practise and with our group having more confidence in the role they were playing.
Another technique we used was hot seating. We were asked to hot-seat one character from the play and then use the information to individually write a monologue. We then used these monologues to collectively write a monologue, which I, as the chosen member of the group, performed. Some of our questions: Why is it that you don’t really contribute when your friends are talking? I just don’t want to talk; really, I don’t see the point in putting myself out. Do you feel you are above that? I never said that, it’s just well, erm….. I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to sound as pig-headed as Russell does but I like the respect I get from the group.
You say Russell is Pig-headed, yet he seems to think you like him, why are you giving him mixed messages? Well, I do like the guy that is when he is the Russell I met. But now, I dunno, he can be ok til there is an audience. He didn’t used to be like that. I don’t know what changed. Yes he can be Pig-headed but all the girls seemed to like him for that, I tried the same with Natasha but that doesn’t matter. Yes it does matter. Can you expand on what you said about Natasha? It’s just, well, I really like Tasha but after a few weeks of going out with me, she got bored. I’m not what they all expect me to be! So to hold onto her I sort of mimicked Russell’s behaviour. It was stupid I know, a girl like her, would never like to go out with an insensitive sod!
Our hot seating was very effective because the questions became very detailed and then the group seemed to keep digging further to make me give highly detailed answers. It was rather strange to think in the character at that level, especially considering that I didn’t really have much to go from, from the text. I made Shane become rather envious of Russell and very sensitive over subjects like Natasha and his home life.
His immediate reservations made it quite intriguing to find out more. I decided to look deeper than the text and interpret it differently yet it was still important not to stray to far from the main themes. I gained new insight into the characters predicament, because I found a way to understand and explain Shane’s quiet authority in the group and the whole situation of Natasha let me develop an emotional side for him, because boys feel just as bad as girls do when involved in a break-up. When saying the answers I sort of improvised to act the answers out, when I was trying to avoid particular subjects I would become hesitant and more nervous when speaking, I had to remember this was the first time that Shane had told anyone all of these secrets.
Directors use this technique in the rehearsal room so that the actors can get an insight into the character, but also so they can find a comfortable way to interpret the character. After gathering our answers from the hot seating, we each went home and wrote a monologue for Shane. Because I had came up with the answers for the questions I found it easier than expected to write the monologue. In our next lesson we showed each other the monologues and pieced them together to collectively write a monologue. All three of us had included some strong and effective points so we used quite a lot of everyone’s work.
Our Monologue; Russell the bloody love muscle! Ha! I’ve had it up to the back teeth with him. Full of himself, pushing his weight around, then looking, over his shoulder, as if to impress me! Ha! The daft git, does my bloody head in it does! Who’s he kidding; he was a weedy geek when I first met him. All spots, glasses and extra homework. Ha! Look at him now, in every girl’s dreams! I still can’t believe the way he goes on with Jake, poor kid, bullying him all the time. I remember when he was being bullied; we stopped it, me and me mates, so Russell built up this false sense of security and took a few anabolic steroids on the way.
Now look at him prince bloody charming. I just wish someone would stand up to him, tell them the truth, a few punches would do him the world of good. I would, but who will I hang round with then. I like his company when he isn’t being bolshy, and plus all the skirt comes our way when I’m with him, like flies around shit! Mind you I think Natasha is a bit fed up with me. I don’t know why like, it must be that time of the month or something, I’ve done nothing wrong! We went out Saturday night, had a laugh. She was happy enough then, so why get all moody with me. You know what, I sound daft but I thought we had something, maybe I was wrong.
I did make a mistake though trying to be like Russell I should have known that wouldn’t impress her. In fact she is fun to be around. When you wipe away that bravado and all the make-up, she has a great smile; in fact she is dead canny. You know all this red alert crap, I think it’s just for attention. She is never like that when it’s just me and her. I thought we were made for each other, you know. What can I do, she must have a decent reason, or is it the “it’s not you, it’s me” or maybe she wants us to just be friends, how can I tell her I want it to be more? I never know what to say without sounding stupid, c’mon how do you tell a girl like Natasha James that you love her?
After producing the monologue, one of us had to perform it to the class, I volunteered. I decided that if I wanted to perform it effectively and as if Shane was actually saying it, I would have to do it without a script. To enhance my performance I thought that my use of stage and facial expressions would engage the audience and I also thought that performances with movement and different levels were more exciting so I incorporated these points into my piece.
The other members of my group directed me which gave me some good points, which I alone wouldn’t have thought of. During my performance I made eye contact with my audience and used pauses and silences to my advantage. Within the monologue there is an array of emotions so it was important to emphasise these with my actions and tone. I was pleased with my performance however it could have been improved if I added more depth to my voice and varied the pace in correspondence to the words, but overall I got a lot of positive feedback.