Before the holidays, we had been looking into the realms of Live Performances; in preparation for section C of the written paper. This meant a visit to watch “The curious incident of the dog in the night-time” live and write a review on how they used certain techniques.
The first lesson was setting up our own ‘classroom’ on edmodo.com (a very good site we can use to exchange work or post information that could be integral to our GCSE). This means that, not only will it make doing homework easier and more accurate, we also have a complete set of the criteria needed for each part of the written paper. This means I will be able to post that on here and you will be able to find out all of the little details that I may not have covered as well on here. I will also be posting my Chinese Theatre portfolio onto here, meaning people can say how they think it could be improved, and have the specification to compare it to.
But I digress. Edmodo was also used in the lesson to post different pieces of information about the play we were going to see, however there were some spoilers, although I had already read the book – and a very good book it is too, I heartily recommend reading it, for Mark Haddon is one of my favourite authors – which meant that it was more of a problem for the other members than for me. We were told to use the site as an exercise book, rather than a social networking site, and that it was going to be used as an example to other teachers to show how Edmodo is a great classroom accessory.
(A review of ‘The curious incident of the dog in the night-time’ and the majorly delayed ‘We will rock you’ will be on here soon, I can assure you)
The second lesson we used to go through different techniques used in live theatre. At first, we looked into different ways of creating a character and also fitting into one. We were taught the ‘neutral state,’ which was to have a pole running through your back, your knees slightly bent and to have every muscle loosened. This state, we were told, helped you get into any character you wanted if you just imagined what muscles that character would be tensing and when he would be tensing them.
Next, we learnt some tips on voice projection and how to use it effectively. We learnt how to use the projection, how to do it, and how to create a scene with it. We were taught that we should project not from our throats, but from our larynx. This is because the former could damage our ability to project effectively, whereas the latter greatly aids it.
After that lesson, we had our trip to go and see the performance live, the description of which will be the subject of a later post, however I can definitely say that the performance was one of the best i have ever seen, and that it is definitely worth seeing (I have even asked my parents to take me again – under the excuse that it could help my drama GCSE) and so it is definitely recommended.
The next few lessons, different groups were again formed to reenact our favourite scenes from the play. My group, which included TA, JA, TS, MC and TM, decided on doing a scene in which Christopher – the main character in the book/play – is floating around, carried by the crew to give the idea of him floating in space. The other group, consisting of ED, SA, RM, CV, HC and JR opted for the very first scene, in which Christopher finds the dead dog and is confronted by Mrs Shears – the dog’s owner. Both groups went about the task completely differently, as each of the scenes were completely different.
The physical theatre aspect of our performance was the most difficult part. Being as there were very few lines to learn, and very few characters who had to learn them, the spotlight was mainly focussed on a way of replicating the production’s fluidity and floatiness, using only what we had in our drama class and our own strengths. By the end, we had concocted our plan, and had come of with many ideas as to how the performance was going to go down, and how we could link in the narrative and the movements to make the scene flow easier.
The other group – although I cannot give an in depth description of how they went about rehearsing – went for the opposite option, of showing a scene with a lot of dialogue and dramatic techniques such as freeze-frames and a way of seamlessly linking together the narrative, the dialogue and the action on stage to produce an interesting piece that was enjoyable to watch.
At the end, the other group managed to bring their section to a formidable close, with a magnificent performance that I definitely enjoyed watching – however some tweaks could always be made. On the contrary, our day was not as lucky, as we ended up losing our narrator to an illness and lost one of our cast members to an injured body part – making it unsafe for him to carry TA around. This meant that our performance unravelled and all of the effort we put in was lost, however we still enjoyed every moment of it, and the experimentation with the physical theatre was thoroughly enjoyable – although very difficult work ( it was impossible to imagine how they managed it so flawlessly in the production) and so our time was not spent in vain.