Choose one character, imagine you are going to direct an actor playing this part. Write detailed advice about how you would want the part to be played, including specific references to lines and scenes and how you would expect an audience to react. In this essay I will be looking at the character Stanhope and how I think he should be played in 3 key scenes. When he try’s to get the letter off Raleigh. These are when Stanhope confronts Hibbert about his plan to go down sick. Also the end scene where Raleigh dies.
Stanhope is the main character in this play he in commanding an infantry company in the 1st world war. Stanhope makes his first appears in act1, he comes across and a bold out going man who will stand for no nonsense. We get a good out line of his character from the conversation between Raleigh and Osborne in the beginning of this act. “He came out straight from school-when he was 18. He’s commanded this company for a year-in and out of the front line. He’s never had a rest. ”
Stanhope has known Raleigh the new officer since he was a young boy and his reaction when he sees him out on the front line takes him by surprise this is were we the first real change in how Stanhope is for scene he loose his hard edge as a strong out going man and is lost for words when he is standing face to face with him. I think the actor at this point should play the part softer and give a clear expression on his face of surprise and shock. To put over the fact that he is lost for words I think there should be noticeable pauses before each line is spoken.
Throughout the play we see the closeness between Osborne and Stanhope we see that he feels able to confide and trust Osborne he opens up to him about how he really feels about the war and his true feelings “It was all right at first. When I want home on leave after six months it was jolly fine to feel I’d done a little to make her pleased. It was after I came back here-in that awful affair on Vimy Ridge.
I knew I’d go mad if I didn’t brake the strain. I couldn’t bear being fully conscious all the time-you’ve felt that, Uncle haven’t you? The to reference to her in the quote was to Raleigh’s sister Stanhope’s girl friend. Act2 scene1 Raleigh has written this first letter home and Stanhope is very eager to find out what he has said as he doesn’t want him telling his family and friends back home what he is like over here. All the letter are meant to be read by the commanding officer before being sent off because they didn’t want word to get out about what it was really like in the trenches.
The conversation between the two men starts off ok with Stanhope just telling him that all the letters have to be secured Raleigh’s reaction “Oh, I-I didn’t realise that, I-I think-I’ll just leave it then” This reaction brings up cores for suspicion on Stanhope’s side he is no wanting to know what he has to hide what is in the letter that he doesn’t want him to read. This is were you see the mood change and where Stanhope starts to demand to see the letter instead of just asking.
The actor has to remember that it is a strange situation for both of the men to be in they were once friends equals and now one has power over the other and is not used to using it. ” Don’t ‘Dennis’ me! Stanhope’s my name! You’re not at school! Go and inspect your rifles! (shouting) D’you understand an order? ” I think this scene should be played with a great deal of anger but at the same time trying to make it come across that its not easy for him to shout at Raleigh who is his a friend and someone who hero-worship’s Stanhope and has done since he was a young boy.
This scene will build up quite a bit of tension between them both and this needs to be made clear. Once Raleigh has left the mood calms down a bit but there is still a bit of tension after the heavy argument between them both. Stanhope then gets Osborne to read out the letter to him expecting it to reflect badly on him. “he’s always cheering them up with jokes, and making them keen about things, like he did the kids at school. I’m awfully proud to think he’s my friends” The ending there of the letter gives us a incite to the way Raleigh looks up to Stanhope and how he thinks of him as some kind of god.
When Osborne is reading the letter I think Stanhope should sit still and listen with not much expression on his dace and look down at the table as if to reflect on what he has just said and how he regrets the way he acted. You see this side of Stanhope again but in very different circumstances and with a deferent person on the resaving end. It is getting near the time for the men to go over the top this is a terrifying time for them all and when Hibbert approaches Stanhope asking if he can be sent home ill Stanhope reacts with anger when Hibbert doesn’t that no as an answer.
This conversation starts of carlm and friendly so the actor would have to play it trying not to think about what is going to happen next the anger come when Stanhope has told him he can’t go down to see the doctor and Hibbert protest and says he will go. This is really where it changes ” if you went, I’d have you shot for-deserting. It’s a hell of a disgrace-to die like that. I’d rather spare you the disgrace. ” This wont be an easy scene to play he is facing the fact that he may have to shoot one of his own men which he doesn’t want to do.
I think that the actor should being it across that he expects that as soon as he as said that he may have to shoot him that he will change his mind. After the heated row the mood changes rather suddenly and they are sitting on the bed talking to each other in-depth about how they both feel. When Stanhope relaxes he comes across care and more together the both are more comfortable with the situation. Throughout the play we see different sides to Stanhope but we see clearly that he has a short temper. This could be due to the fact that he drinks a lot of alcohol to try and cope with being in the situation he is in.
Probably the most moving bit of the hole play is at the end of it act3 scene3 you see a side to Stanhope that you don’t see in any other part of the play. They have just stated the attack they have been planning for with guns going off everywhere, even though solders are being shot down all over the place we are sent to concentrate on Raleigh and Stanhope from the being of this scene both actors will need to act with fear they will be every on edge as they both are a where that there is a big possibility that they may not survive this attack.
Raleigh has just been hit Stanhope is carrying him in to the dug out to try and rest him. This would be a very difficult time for Stanhope he would in away be feeling reasonable for Raleigh as he has known him since he was a boy and is some one the boy looks up to this would make it very hard for Stanhope not to be over come by emotion which he is. When him and Raleigh are face to face in the dug out there is no power and no controller they are both there talking as equals, there is no formality between them.
We can she this by when they are on first name terms not last. Stanhope is clearly very up set at the thought of watching a dear friend die but try’s to keep a brave face. He doesn’t loose his calmness which he seems able to retain in all emotional situations. Although Stanhope is aware of how severe the injuries to Raleigh are he doesn’t talk about them and keeping a calm tone to his voice. Even though he is crying he never loose the calm together ness he has had throughout the play.
The fact that Stanhope isn’t aware that Raleigh is dead until moments after he has died this give a clear and sharper reaction that the audience can see. The part of Stanhope changes all the time and is not always how you would expect it to be. The fact that his emotions change quite a bit throughout the play will help the audience to stay fixed on him as he is always changing. I think that the last scene will be the one the audience will relate to best and if it is played with the tension building throughout it will help to capture the audiences attention all the way through it.