When I first read the script of Blue Remembered Hills I thought it was quite naturalistic and it was well written from a child’s perspective. The characters were all very believable and it seemed like a fun play to perform. I thought it would be easy to do because the characters are all children and I can still remember how I was at that age.
In the performance I played the part of Peter, a young boy of about seven or eight years. He is the bully of the group and he tends to use his strength to get his own way over the others. He is not very intelligent and some of the characters use this to their advantage to get out of situations e.g. in scene two when Peter tries to steal Willie’s apple but Willie convinces him one bite would kill him.
To get into our roles of young children, we did various exercises like childhood games and hotseating. I found hotseating particularly helpful because afterwards all of the class give their opinions and constructive criticism so I could improve my character. Playing childhood games helps to put you into the mind of an eight year old.
After a few weeks we looked at the subtext of the play. This means you go through the script and look for the true meaning of the words that are spoken. For example if somebody says something sarcastically, you know to say it in a certain tone. Doing this helped with the language and how to speak the words in accent using the correct tone so that the true meaning is given across to the audience. I found the best way to improve voice, movement and gesture was to keep rehearsing it and talk to each other about how it looks and what could be improved.
All of the characters wore similar clothing, as they’re all children of the same age living at the same time. For Peter I chose a pair of dirty, grey shorts and a plain dirty white shirt as this was typical for the time. He did not have any props specific to his character.
I think that together as a group we worked very well. I found that constructive criticism and feedback from the other people in my group helped me greatly because it tells you what you look like to others and how the character comes across to the audience. We didn’t experience many major problems throughout the project and other problems were easy to solve.
Last minute rehearsals were just to polish off the scripts and make sure that all the scenes ran smoothly together. In the run-up to the final performance we would just act out each scene over an over and confirm that we had the play how we wanted it.
I was quite pleased with the final performance but despite weeks of learning the lines, I still managed to make a few slip-ups, which I and the other character made up for by improvising.
I thought that each person in the group fitted very well into their characters and worked very well together. We all added a bit of our own personality, which made the characters more believable. If I did the play again I might have made it more physical and at a faster pace.
I didn’t see any other groups’ performances so I can’t compare ours to anyone else’s. Over the past few weeks I have learned new techniques of character development and I feel my ability to work in a group has improved. I think I need sometimes to put in a bit more effort in the lessons and do every rehearsal as if it were the real thing as I lacked motivation in some lessons.
It has prepared me a bit for the written exam because I have been analysing the performance, which is exactly what I have to do for the exam.