The two plays that we have looked at were ‘The Terrible Fate Of Humpty Dumpty’ and ‘Blue Remembered Hills’. Both of these plays had a similar plot and theme. The themes that carried out throughout the pair of these plays were children, death, bullying, peer pressure and cruelty.
The rough outline of ‘The terrible fate of Humpty Dumpty’ is that some children start picking on an individual and make him do something against his will. The result of him doing this is that the child ends up dead and the rest of the kids try to cover up what has happened. The play is designed to be set in the present day and to be very naturalistic. One problem that our group especially, faced was that we didn’t have anything like the right amount of people to fill in all of the characters. We over came this problem by merging two characters together or cutting out a character altogether. The first cut that we thought was natural to make was to get rid of ‘Terry’. We thought that he was not a needed character as all e did was come on and die.
We chose to direct our lines that would normally go to ‘Terry’ to a selected audience member, the outcome of this we thought was very good. The next cut that we made was to get rid of ‘Kay’ altogether. We thought that she was an unneeded character, as all she did was backup everything that ‘Kathy’ would say. The final cut that we made was to merge ‘Jimmy’ and ‘Stubbs’ into one person. We thought that this would work as ‘Jimmy’ and ‘Stubbs’ had the same kind of attitude and they left and entered the stage at the same time.
This is the layout of our stage for scenes 1&2.
This is our layout for scene 5. As you can see there are a lot less seats. This is because there are only ‘Terry’s parents’ talking to the audience, on stage throughout the scene. Whilst in the other two scenes there are five people on stage, so there was the need for more seating props. As we could not really have a pylon for someone to climb we had to picture a spot that we could imagine was the pylon. One thing that I think our group was especially good at was involving the audience. Not only did we use one of the audience members as ‘Terry’ but also at the end of our last scene we finished it with the bulling taking place in between the rows of audience.
My character ‘Stubbs’ is a very quick thinking leader it appears that the rest of the gang fear and respect him. This may be because he has ‘Jimmy’ on his side. He definitely is the leader of this pack and is very much in control. To convey this character I had to behave as naturally as I could and create the illusion of reality. I made very certain and confidant movements, trying to appear to be one step ahead at all times. When I was saying the line, “Will you all just shurrup? I’m trying to think” I tried to slow down this line and make it sound the ‘Stubbs’ was not panicking, but that he was trying to stay in control of the situation.
When I was delivering the line, “I’m warning you” near the end. I was making threatening impression towards the character ‘Sammy’ as he was the focus of the bullying at that stage. The costume that I decided to wear for playing ‘Stubbs’ was very casual: Baggy jeans, hoody, T-shirt and trainers. I picked this costume to show that my character was not the kind of person who goes to trouble to look nice around his mates. This is a diagram to show what I was wearing:
The play that we chose to compare The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty with was called Blue Remembered Hills. This was originally designed for television but was adapted for the theatre in 1984 by a man called Dennis Potter. It is set in the West Country around the time of WW2. The themes are much the same as The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty as there is a lot of bullying, cruelty and peer pressure that shows how cruel children can be. Also it ends with an individual being killed by a group.
Here is a diagram to show how the stage was set out throughout the play:
I think that the layout of the stage fitted really well with the play, as it was not a naturalistic play so the big blue tree represents childhood and imagination well. Also the director made good use of the gate. Throughout the play it was used as an entrance and exit, but in the last scene it is used as the door of the barn that Donald gets trapped behind. I think that this works well, as it would not be possible to light a fire on stage. In the last scene there is also a good use of the lighting as there is a red gel put over the light to make it look like a fire on stage.
Even in the first scene there are a lot of incidents of bullying. Much of the bullying is directed towards Donald. In the scene that we first looked at Audrey and Angela started being very friendly towards Donald. They are playing ‘families’ and Angela has a doll. This doll is being used by Angela to get Donald on her side. This makes Audrey very insecure and she starts to say, “Donald Duck! Donald Duck! Quack! Quack!”
As Audrey does this Angela joins in which makes Audrey feel secure and they continue to tease Donald until the end of the scene when Donald is on all fours crying.
The actors play the roles of children very well as they do little things such as, crossing their arms, swaying around a bit and Audrey kept on playing with the bottom of her skirt. The costume that the cast wears fits very well with the time that the play is set. They are wearing dull greys and blues, the girls are wearing skirts while the boys are wearing short trousers and shirts.
In the scene that we saw the characters showed a lot of what goes on in their own lives and played it out in their game of ‘families’. One of these occasions is when Donald says that he has cut of his finger and says, “Cut me bloody finger off”. Donald is swearing as his family probably shouts and swear a lot at each other at home. Another time that the children show what goes on in their real life in their game is when Audrey tries to be the ‘perfect mum’; “I’ll just go and put the kettle on”. This is typical of what any mum would do on T.V and Angela thought instantly that this is how all mums behave. In this scene Donald also shows what went on in his childhood. When Audrey says, “Smack the baby Donald.” And Donald replies, “No Audrey, You can’t hit a baby”. This shows that Donald was probably hit when he was a baby so he knows that it is wrong.
Between the two plays I proffered ‘The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty’ as it was more relevant to children our age and it was very naturalistic and really made a point to me.