I must say I was a bit nervous of exaggerating my part for the first time, especially in front of an audience, however I picked up the flowers and threw them around, and got laughs from the audience as I added unexpected humour at great comic-timing to our performance. This encouraged the rest of my group to up the performance and we achieved the maximum effect we had aimed for. I was however slightly disheartened that the audience hadn’t seen the whole performance and so we got the opportunity to perform again and we grasped it. This time we were prepared to perform so there wasn’t that slight hesitation that we had first experienced. This performance ran smoother, however because our audience had watched it before the humour was expected and didn’t receive as strong a reaction as it had done previously.
My group seemed a little unsure of the stage directions and sometimes the audience couldn’t see people because they were behind others. At one point I felt that there wasn’t enough movement or different levels so when I threw the flowers I span and pranced around to make use of the space. I then sat on the front of the stage, and my team followed suit. We had planned to just pretend Shane was there, however we felt a little silly talking to mid-air in the rehearsal, so we asked one of our classmates to fill the place for the performance.
This seemed to work well, although it would have been better had we planned it and put him a costume to match the others. The decision to make Buzz and Speed one character didn’t work very well. The audience looked confused and because some lines had, had to be changed it didn’t run as smoothly as the initial text. Although the audience still seemed to understand clearly as to what was going on.
We found it hard to use effective ways of enticing the audience, because usually we would have started in the middle of quite a bold physical scene, which would make the audience ask questions and watch further, to look for the answers. However our audience already knew the answers, so we just used humour and tried to bring a different perspective to the play, which they had never seen before. Overall our performance worked quite effectively because it grasped the audience attention and showed we had strong understanding of what the play was trying to achieve. Although looking back, I think our progress during the response phase, should have led to a stronger final product.
I am evaluating an extract from “Sparkleshark” by Philip Ridley, performed by other year ten drama students. It is a contemporary piece of youth theatre aimed at a teenage audience. In the performed extract Russell is entering the scene entertaining and flirting with the on looking girls, Carol, Natasha and Polly. The Russell’s cohorts Buzz and Speed enter, less confidently than Russell and finally Shane enters, without the show Russell had put on, but with similar impact. Then the boys find Jake who is cowering from his bullies, behind the girls, and they attempt to dangle him off the inner-city tower block. It is the first moment that the audience encounters the boys in the whole play and it is also the point when the audience begin to empathise and emotions are triggered towards the characters.
The major themes being explored are status, bullying and teenage emotions. The bullying theme is shown well in this extract, because it is physical theatre and there is a real violent climax between the characters. The play made me think about the different levels at which people are bullied, the pathetic reasons they are bullied for and the attitude that Russell has. I felt that the person who played Russell was particularly effective, because he understood the character really well and when he was bragging his expressions, voice and movement made quite an unlikely scene seem really believable and realistic.
For example when he was asking questions, although they were rhetorical and addressed to the girls on stage, the audience felt obliged to think of the answer because of his open body language and heightened pitch at the end of the sentence. Also he added the extra boyish masculinity, which emphasised Russell’s egotistical attitude, by deliberately deepening his voice too much, his wide legged stance, puffed chest and seriousness of what he was saying. This showed the audience that he takes himself overly seriously. On his entrance he stood centre stage, on a raised platform, which showed the audience his importance and he posed in correspondence to what he was saying.
Other characters which I felt were played really well were Buzz and Speed. The two people that were playing them really understood the humour that those particular characters can add to the play. They didn’t add too much comedy which worked well as the comic timing was effective. Also they portrayed the characters as slightly dumb, and if they were spoken to you could see that it took them a while to understand because they lowered their eyebrows and looked inquisitively at each other.
The most effective part was probably when Buzz and Speed lifted Jake, because they did it with ease and it showed Jake’s vulnerability to the audience. The costume in this performance worked quite well. They were all wearing different versions of the same uniform, which effectively showed the contrast in the social periods and aspects of the character, however if it was on costume alone, I doubt that I could have identified the character, mainly because the girls’ outfits were too similar.
They used physical theatre to engage the audience, and humour to keep the audience entertained. They showed a good understanding of the play and suggested a new element of humour that worked well in the performance. It communicated to the audience the main themes of bullying and social status and although different to our performance, they were both equally effective.