Near the end of the work on the play ‘The Crucible’ I have been working in a group consisting of Kerry, Claire, Kirsty, Hayley, and myself. We were somewhat limited about what scene we could act out, as the size of our group was so large. The scene we choose had mixed emotions and high suspicions on certain characters. We believed that with this mix of emotions and actions it would allow us to present a highly effective and realistic piece of drama. The start of our piece is kicked off by the appearance of Mr Hale. Hale, tells Elizabeth and proctor news about Elizabeth’s name being associated with witchcraft in court. The scene soon turns to backstabbing and high emotions.
The whole scene is about the ease at which rumours and stories spread and, due to the time period it is set, there is no evidence needed to put someone into court, especially, when it comes to witchcraft. Their house is effectively searched for things that could prove witchcraft.
I played two very contrasting roles; the first role I play is that of Francis. This role is relatively short. Francis is complaining about the fact that his wife has been taken to jail. The second role I played was that off Cheever, a court clerk. Cheever comes into the scene to take Elizabeth to jail. This in its self causes much tension in the scene. It was tricky to act two very contrasting roles, but I had valuable input from my group about the way I should speak and the way my body language was. This helped me a lot and I think I managed to create two very contrasting characters. The scene was all set in one room so we had to make sure there was enough movement to keep the audiences interested.
The group took many suggestions from each other to help the scene be more effective and appear more complete. The issue of me defining two separate characters was one of the main talking points with many helpful ideas being put forward. Another main talking point was Kerry’s body language. There were a lot of ideas put forward throughout the group, which Kerry took on board, and her character improved as a result of this.
One of my main problems was getting off stage when Francis left, and then returning in a completely different character only seconds later. I achieved this by just taking my tie off so to at least show a visual difference. My first line as Cheever was, “Good evening to you Mr Proctor.” In the stage notes this was supposed to achieve a shocked silence. I tried to achieve this by saying it quietly but forcefully. This along with a sudden hush on stage made this bit one of my favourite pieces of drama in the particular piece.
I think that our overall performance was good. I felt that we worked well as a group, discussing our problems without tension rising. I felt the everyone took on board ideas and suggestions from everyone in the group. I think this showed in our final performance. I feel it would have been even better if we had been as focused on the work in every lesson. I still feel that I could have distinguished my character more successfully if I could have achieved a better voice difference from the two characters. However I felt that my body language as well as costume helped distinguish my two characters very successfully. I felt that if I had learned my lines more thourghouly I would have felt far more confident on stage.
The rest of my group, I felt, performed very well, using facial expressions and vocal expressions very successfully. I found that Kerry in particular was very effective, as she had to play the part of a man, which added a whole new set of problems to her.
I think that if we were to act this scene again I would have tried to put in more movement on stage and I would have made sure that my back was facing away from the audience as much as possible. However saying this I felt we used the space we had well and I think that when we choose to sit down the position of our chairs on stage was very effective.