a) In this scene, Mugsy, a waiter in a restaurant in London, is playing poker in what is a weekly game with his colleagues and boss. They are in the basement of the restaurant in which they work, and Mugsy is desperate to win this time, as he wants to purchase some public conveniences, with the intention of turning them into his own restaurant. He is quite a simple character, and would never be able to succeed in running his own business; the audience feels pathos for him. In this scene when he wins a hand, he responds as though it is the greatest thing that ever happened to him.
One of the main complications in this act is that there is a professional poker player playing with them, although only one other character knows this, which means that Mugsy will lose this money very quickly again. I would play Mugsy with a cockney accent, and although varying the pitch of his voice a lot throughout, it would generally be quite high-pitched. The tone of his voice would be light and quite breathy, as he is quite simple. Generally his movements would be quite defined and show what he is feeling.
When sitting at the table, I would slouch when Mugsy is sad, and sit up and bounce on the chair when ebullient (e. g. when winning or with a good hand). His walk would also reflect this, as he would be quite springy on his toes and upright when happy, and shuffling and hunched when annoyed or upset. His movement would be generally light; when he shuffles it would be quite simian, as he would be slightly hunched, but still quite light and gentle. He would have fluent movement throughout, and another little action that would hint as to his mood would be how he would put the “chips” into the centre of the table.
When he was winning, or thought that he was, he would place them very carefully, precisely and quickly into the centre, and when tentative he would push them in slowly, or throw some in, whilst having appearing quite grumpy. Throughout the gambling scenes it would be obvious whether he was attempting to bluff and when he had a decent hand, as he would be unable to hide his emotions. This would show him to be a very poor poker player, hence his name “Mugsy,” a “mug” being a bad poker player.
These actions are based on the fact that I think Mugsy is a very childish character, and I would play him like a child, changing between contrasting emotions very quickly, and exaggerating these feelings, like a child who is unable to rationalise and control emotions. When Mugsy first speaks at the start of Act 3, I would make “the” drawn out almost making the end of it into an “err” before saying “hospital for poker casualties is just along the road,” dropping the “h” of “hospital” and emphasising “just”. When Stephen then says, “Mugsy will show you the way,” I would snarl at him, and slouch a bit in my chair, as though upset and child-like.
When announcing what the next game would be, I would pause after “And the game,” as though building up the suspense. I would subsequently say, “Is Mugsy’s Nightmare,” in a breathy and quiet voice, with squinting eyes, sitting upright and looking down on everyone out of the corners of his eyes, as though Mugsy thought himself superior. When saying that Stephen does not like Mugsy’s Nightmare, I would say it childish like, as though defensive after his game had been attacked, and therefore I would reply with a playground retort.
When announcing that it is Dealer’s Choice, it would also be childish and defensive as though Mugsy were hurt that someone did not want to play the game that he invented. Finally when whilst dealing, I would have a quiet, plaintive tone in my voice when saying “out? ” for the last time, and I would again be childish when saying “Ooo” making it quite high-pitched. I would deal the cards very precisely, and not very quickly, leaning a long way over the table each time, so that they were near to each person, rather than everyone else leaning in to collect their cards.
When I would be explaining the rules of Mugsy’s Nightmare, I would run through them very quickly almost annoyed that I had to announce them, just because Mugsy knows them so well. After that when saying, “You lose automatically,” I would have a slightly threatening tone in my voice. When Ash says, “pass,” I would again act disappointed, as though one of the big boys did not want to play with me, and slouch somewhat, but then perk up when Carl calls, and do a little jump in my seat, returning Mugsy to an upright seating position, with a big grin on my face.
When saying, “No raise from the dealer,” I would try and compose myself beforehand, and act calm, although failing miserably showing that really I was ebullient. Whilst dealing the cards to the other actors, I would draw the card from the top of the pack very quickly slamming it onto the table, prior to announcing what it is, and pausing a little before dealing the next card.
When saying, “Double deemonds,” I would act as though it was a very rare and great thing to get to successive diamonds, emphasising it by shouting “deemonds” like a football supporter, and in a football-like chant. I would suddenly change after this and calm down to say, “Jack to speak,” softly and controlled. When saying “Ooo” in reply to Sweeney, again it would be childish and playground-like. After dealing the next lot of cards, I would again be excited and say, “What is it,” inquiringly as Mugsy is starting to think that he is going to win.