Sorry about being relatively infrequent with the posting recently, but we have been doing some Maths Statistics GCSE coursework mocks, and so I’ve been staying up until midnight doing that and so have not found the time to do much else (including, unfortunately, some pieces of other homework) however it is finished now, so I can get back to posting on here. Because of my absence, I will therefore do this post describing the lessons of Tuesday and Wednesday.
In Tuesday’s lesson, we had a ‘going through’ of the portfolios we had made after the Chinese theatre performance. We did this, because Mr. R believed that our portfolios were too descriptive, as opposed to being intrusive and analytic as they should be. The four questions are roughly Describe, Explain, Analyse and Evaluate. Therefore, he said, we should only be describing what happened in the first question, as the others are supposed to be how and why you did what you did. He said that many he had read had very little of the analysis which needed to be in the portfolio.
He then started to give us information on what we should put in, including ten points under describe, rather than the more sparse pieces of information that was being put in at present. He gave us tips and pointers for how to write each part, including a health and safety portion in the Evaluate section, much to the amusement of TM, who seemed (and still does) to have some kind of obsession with the health and safety.
The lesson ended with JR being given a muffin for making the most and the most detailed notes. Apparently, it was very nice.
This lesson we once again started rehearsal. We had the stage this time and started to act and then fit in props and set design and other important features as we went on. We found a ‘sword’ for TM as Oedipus and for me as the leader. We then decided on giving TS a long stick – for he was to play the old, frail, shepherd. We decided we would open the scene with Oedipus alone on stage, delivering the famous “Let it burst” speech, whilst TS, JA (playing the messenger) and I stood at the back of where the audience would be (as we were doing this on the drama room stage as opposed to the outdoor classroom, which we hope to perform the actual thing in; as the Greeks would have used an amphitheatre, and this is the next best thing. After the speech, we had the chorus at the back of the seating (as we played separate
parts, but also all starred in the chorus) and they recited their lines whilst wearing masks – so as to change the identity from us to an unknown. At the end of our lines, the eyes of the audience are drawn back to Oedipus, onstage, as he had been in a freeze-frame thoughout it. Then, after the three members of the chorus have removed their masks, the messenger runs through the audience with news to tell Oedipus – he has a visitor. Then, the Shepherd is dragged through the gaps in the seating, and the scene formally begins.
The main reason why we chose this idea is because our chosen performance space does not have a ‘back stage’ nor any side areas for the actors to walk on from. This meant that they would have to be already visible, or they would come through the seating. We chose the seating idea because it added the tension which was vital, as the scene was one supposed to be like a constant interrogation. It also adds the sense that the shepherd is coming from the ‘public’ and so could have been anyone, and was a lowly peasant instead of the king who was standing on stage.
We gave the Leader and Oedipus swords because it shows the differing in status between the two high officials with swords and the shepherd with his lowly stick. This is because, to stick with traditional Greek traditions, the costumes are going to be relatively similar. Another thing that was first taken into consideration were the masks, as they were widely used in Greek theatre. The only problem was where to have them, as they would mean a definition of character, and also a new technique could be added. I was pleased by this notion (as you can see here, just above the picture of George Orwell), however it also meant we had to have people changing between them without the audience seeing the change over, as that would ruin the magic.
We went for one last run-over of the scene, and then the lesson was over.
picture from beanbagtales.blogspot.co.uk