For our performance we used an end stage and had the breakfast table as the main focal point positioned at an angle just off centre to the left. It was positioned this way as this is where the bulk of the action and dialogue happened in the piece and we wanted the audience’s attention to be on it. We had the kitchen area further left from the table and a sofa to the right of the table. This positioning added interest to the stage by using more space and levels as well as creating a more homely feel.
Florence was seated at the sofa throughout the piece; this was to show her as separated from the rest of the family. By seating Florence away from the table it showed her as isolated and reflected her personality in that she is always in her own little world. We had an entrance at the central back which Billy uses to enter and an entrance in the left corner which Alice enters through. Geoffrey was seated at the head of the table on the right side throughout the performance, immersed in his paperwork; both this positioning and paperwork were done to help convey him as the head of the household and the money earner. Alice was positioned opposite Geoffrey at the other end of the table on and off throughout the piece.
By being seated across from Geoffrey, it creates a feeling of their marriage and unity and allows for a lot of eye contact and exchange of looks between them easily. Billy was positioned, for the majority of the extract, in between Geoffrey and Alice, making him the most central character on stage, due to him being the main character we wanted the audience’s main focus to be on him. It also reflects Billy’s mildly ‘the world revolves around me’ attitude. The fact that Billy was seated in between Geoffrey and Alice helps convey the feeling of Billy being closed in on and nagged at from all areas and his feeling that everyone is against him and that no-one understands him.
In our performance I made sure I was continually busy; either carrying out chores in the kitchen or preparing breakfast at the table in order to convey my characters personality and role in the family to the audience. These actions showed her as caring but also fussy and as motherly and a typical housewife of the time. When speaking I spoke in a clear almost posh voice and conveyed an almost snobby air about her especially when nagging Billy and expressing her distaste in his lifestyle and choice of girlfriends conveying the fact that she doesn’t think they live up to her standards. In her movement and body language I made sure it was very prim and proper to convey her prim and proper character. When seated she had a very straight tense back with her feet and legs together and hands placed delicately in her lap. I also maintained a good posture and swift movement throughout to represent my character. I wore a fifties looking plain black skirt and blouse with a pinny over the top to convey the motherly/housewife feel.
In the performance Joe stayed seated at the breakfast table throughout and was immersed in his paperwork only participating in the conversation occasionally to convey Geoffrey’s personality and role to the audience, this shows him as the man of the house, the money earner and a typical husband of the time being waited on by his wife. Geoffrey sat leaning over the table examining his paperwork and with a pen in his hand. Joe spoke in quite a deep and rough voice to convey Geoffrey’s gruff manner and his voice varied quite greatly in volume and speed depending on Geoffrey’s ever changing and easily flared temper. Joe wore some plain black trousers, a white shirt, tie and braces to indicate he is a business man and is ready to go out for work.
During the performance Eleni sat facing the audience on the couch, she sat quite bent over in order to portray Florence as old and frail and moved very little. Eleni held quite a glazed over gaze into no particular direction during the performance in order to show Florence as being in her own world and quite disconnected from reality and her family. When speaking she spoke in quite an old and withered sounding voice but still very audible and added an element of humour to the piece. When speaking she was vague in who she was addressing and addressed all her remarks ‘to the sideboard’. Eleni wore classically ‘granny’ like clothes, a long patterned skirt of the time with a big cardigan which didn’t particularly match helping to convey the feeling that Florence is not quite with it.
In order to portray Billy as sort of thinking the world revolved around him and his laid back character, Joanna made sure all her movements were slow, lazy and casual, when seated she was sprawled over the chair and on and off throughout the play had a distinctly bored or exasperated look. She used lots of rolling of the eyes to convey his exasperation and the familiarity of being nagged at. Joanna wore a big green raincoat over some pyjamas when playing Billy, which conveys Billy’s original and off the wall character. It also kind of conveys him as creative and imaginative as many writers are. He has a wild imagination. The performance went well; we used the space well and conveyed the stage as very homely through our familiarity with it. We used carefully timed pauses, expressions and movements in order to make everything seem realistic, interesting, help it flow properly and convey the correct atmosphere.