The Lord of the Rings is an amazingly detailed and structured piece of writing by William Golding which has been adapted to the theatre by Nigel Williams; who has portrayed it as an inspirational piece of literature which reveals the true darkness of human nature. Their use of the set was amazing, the way that they used the wreckage of the airplane to symbolise every inch of their island; they way the tail section pivoted and turned 360 degrees to become a fortress, a hill or the crevice of a cliff.
Also, the way the cockpit was climbed over and stripped to pieces so they could make spears from the metal struts and tie the twins Sam and Eric up with the seatbelts. It was manipulated in different ways to achieve various effects; for example when a mountain scene was shown, the fire on top of the shelter was lit up and the movable part was facing towards the viewer with the highest point towards the audience. When Simon was shown to be running down the mountain the movable parts were facing with the lowest point towards the audience so that it created a downhill effect which resulted in the use of the set becoming more lifelike. On the other hand, the use of the set could also be viewed as rather tedious as the same backdrop is used for the whole of the play; the only variation is at the start where a thin gauze is used to shield the characters somewhat from the audience.
The acting skills were commendable, all of the characters using the whole set to express their feelings. The way that they swung and exerted themselves on the wreckage of the plane didn’t leave much to the imagination and certainly pleased most of the ladies in the audience. Overall, the acting was amazingly creditable, the actor who played the character Simon stood out to me; in my opinion he was able to portray the image of a bullied young boy who was tormented by the anguish and fear which remained in his thoughts as the beast. Simon was the one who informed the audience that the beast was not one who was physically there; that the beast remained inside all the children as part of human nature.
I thought that he had the potential to play the part of Ralph but because he stayed so silent throughout the play this was not shown to he audience. I felt that his monologues were particularly powerful and got across plenty of emotion and feeling which affected the audience immensely, also, the scene of his death was particularly poignant; as he was shown to be as lifeless and as limp as a ragdoll, falling across the wreckage of the plane and he did this with the utmost discretion and his facial expression didn’t change even when his body impacted with the side of the plane (which must have hurt).
The use of sound effects in the play was very effective, such as the waves and the drumming which was apparent throughout the play. This was used to create a haunted and eerie atmosphere and coupled with the singing at the start this was achieved. At the beginning of the play the actors are stood on different levels and sang to the audience; the vocal performance was exemplary, not failing to chill the audience and create a haunted and eerie atmosphere. This was a stark contrast of their progression into savagery and gave the viewer a screenshot of them before they turned evil and something to compare their behaviour to; the fact that they begin the uncanny and ethereal performance in such an angelic fashion causes the audience to feel even more uncomfortable when the subtle changes begin to creep into view.
Furthermore, throughout the play an inconsistent drumming is heard which adds to the atmosphere, this darkens the tone and mood of the piece considerably and reflects the growing tension in the storyline. Moreover, the sound in Lord of the Flies was used very effectively to enhance the special effects, for example the sound of waves was heard throughout the production; this reinforced the setting of the actual play and continued to remind the audience of the location on which the islanders were marooned. When Simon was murdered the sound effects were used to generate the effect of a thunderstorm which in turn invoked an emotive reaction for the viewer and caused them to experience the build of tension first hand, and made the scene much more dramatic.
In the scene of Simon’s murder, the lighting is used in a very specific way to achieve the maximum effect possible. They were dimmed and the acting was projected in black and white, the absence of colour makes the performance quite stark and defined. Video images are also projected onto the set, transporting the audience to different scenes and making it much more effective; for example, during Piggy’s death the projection of a cliff is shown to the viewer which makes them feel like part of the scene, reinforcing the location. Also, when Sam and Eric are on the top of the precipice, there is a red light shining on their faces, this formed the illusion of a fire and made the whole scene much more realistic evoking an eerie atmosphere.
Moreover, when the last scene was played out and the helicopter was shown a bright light was shined onto the audience; this momentarily stunned the audience and made sure that we weren’t able to see what was going on, on stage. This was very clever as the cast were able to quickly prepare for the next scene knowing that the viewer couldn’t watch them, this was so much more effective than just shielding with a curtain as it was more realistic and built more tension, in addition it surprised the audience and was able to shock them into paying attention if some of them were becoming distracted, a very subtle but efficient technique.
I thought a particularly effective sequence was the dancing, the fact that they seemed to dance for undeniably savage reasons such as the killing of the pig really highlighted their transformation from young and innocent school boys to ignorant savages. The fact that they paired the dancing with chanting of obscene phrases emphasised this conversion and allowed them to be seen in a completely different light. The dancing, although choreographed wasn’t absolutely perfect which added an element of realism to it and made it seem much more realistic and spontaneous. In retrospect, the acting in The Lord of the Flies was amazing and all the techniques were used effectively to produce a well made production which I thoroughly enjoyed.